Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

  • Teaching life cycle assessment with Sustainable Minds: A discussion with examples and student projects

    by Sustainable Minds on August 27, 2014

    Mark Meo, Kelsey Bowman, Kayla Brandt, Madeline Dillner, Dylan Finley, Justin Henry, Kaylie Sedlacek, and Aaron Winner

    Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019

    Abstract
    When the Department of Geography at the University of Oklahoma expanded its undergraduate degree options to include Environmental Sustainability in 2011, it was faced with the question of how should the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) core course be taught, and what aspects of LCA should it cover. In addition to the textbook selected for the classroom, it was clear that students would also need to get hands-on experience using LCA in a manner that reinforced and extended the themes taught in class. This dual challenge was resolved with the selection of a readable and easily understood text and the adoption of Sustainable Minds software for the conduct of student projects. In this paper, we describe the manner in which LCA is taught in the classroom and the important role that LCA software has played to help students acquire a working understanding of the merits of the technique as well as its limitations. Examples of student projects that were completed as course assignments are used to illustrate the scope of student interests and accomplishments.

    Keywords: Life-Cycle Assessment, Sustainability Education, LCA software, Case Study, Student LCA Projects

    Submitted to the Journal of Sustainability Education June, 2014

    Introduction
    In 2011 when the Department of Geography at the University of Oklahoma expanded its undergraduate degree options to include Environmental Sustainability, it was faced with the question: How should the required Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) core course be taught, and what aspects of LCA should it cover? Though LCA had been utilized by faculty members in various research projects, there had not yet been a course on campus that was dedicated to student education about LCA and how it could be applied. Thus, it became clear to the instructor that whatever textbook was selected for the classroom, students would also need to get hands-on experience using LCA in a manner that reinforced and extended the themes they learned in class. This dual challenge was resolved with the selection of a readable and easily understood text and the adoption of Sustainable Minds (Sustainable Minds 2014) software for the conduct of student projects. In this paper, we describe the manner in which LCA is taught in the classroom and the important role that LCA software has played to help students acquire a working understanding of the merits of the technique as well as its limitations. Examples of student projects that were completed as course assignments are used to illustrate the scope of student interests and accomplishments.

  • SM Transparency Report™ Framework: Introduction and comparison to ISO14025 type III environmental declarations

    by Sustainable Minds on June 24, 2014

    Webcast recorded Tue, June 24, 2014

    Last week, Sustainable Minds launched the SM Transparency Report™ Program, an alternative to the PCR/EPD process with equivalent credibility, verification – plus much more.

    This week, we invite you to join us for an introduction to the program's methodology – the SM Transparency Report Framework.

    Based on EN15804+A1 and in compliance with ISO 14040-44 and 14025, the framework provides a comprehensive LCA-based, harmonized and user-friendly way to create product group definitions to enhance consistency in product transparency reporting. It then delivers a strategic marketing and lead generation tool to inform greener purchase decisions by making LCA and environmental performance information understandable and meaningful.

    You will learn on this webcast:

  • The SM Transparency Report™ Program – The Launch

    by Sustainable Minds on June 20, 2014

    With the rollout of LEED v4 and the focus on product transparency reporting, there is confusion and anxiety in the building products industry around product category rules and environmental product declarations (PCRs and EPDs).

    SM Transparency Reports were introduced at Greenbuild 2013, to provide manufacturers a new way to communicate the environmental performance of their products in an understandable, credible and consistent way.

    Since then, Sustainable Minds has been developing its methodology to complete the program’s offering – the SM Transparency Report™ Framework. Based on EN15804+A1 and is in compliance with ISO 14040-44 and 14025, it provides a comprehensive LCA-based, harmonized and user-friendly way to create product group definitions (PGD) up front to enhance consistency in product transparency reporting.

    Sustainable Minds is now launching the complete solution. The SM Transparency Report Program is the first comprehensive solution for product manufacturers to Design and Market greener products. It is an alternative to the PCR/EPD process with equivalent credibility, verification – plus much more.

  • Sustainable Minds launches the SM Transparency Report™ Program

    by Sustainable Minds on June 17, 2014

    A complete solution for manufacturers to Design and Market greener products.

    CAMBRIDGE, MA – June 12, 2014 – Sustainable Minds launches the SM Transparency Report™ Program, the alternative to the product category rule/environmental product declaration (PCR/EPD) process with equivalent credibility and verification – plus much more. Sustainable Minds will introduce the program to manufacturers and industry advocates on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 2:00pm EST. 

    The SM Transparency Report Program:
    1. Provides options for easier adoption of transparency reporting
    Re-engineers the PCR process providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to standardize reporting and create product group definitions.

    2. Delivers a strategic marketing and lead generation tool – SM Transparency Reports
    Drives greener purchase decisions by making life cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental performance information understandable and meaningful; enables a manufacturer to describe how they are making products greener. A third-party certified SM Transparency Report exceeds the ISO 14025 requirements for type III environmental declarations.

    3. Helps market greener, and promotes greener design
    More than just a report, deliverables include the manufacturer’s product data in a private dataset in Sustainable Minds’ flagship Eco-concept & LCA Software, used in over 750 locations in industry and education world-wide.

    Categories: In the press
  • NSF International and Sustainable Minds Partner to Accelerate Product Transparency Reporting

    by Sustainable Minds on June 11, 2014

    Sustainable Minds Transparency Report™ Program offers an innovative market solution to the growing need for product transparency reporting and verification

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Sustainable Minds has partnered with NSF Sustainability, a division of global public health organization NSF International, to provide life cycle assessment (LCA) verification and report certification for Sustainable Minds Transparency Reports™.

    Sustainable Minds (SM), a software and services provider founded to operationalize environmental performance into mainstream product development and manufacturing,will introduce the complete SM Transparency Report™ Program to manufacturers and industry advocates through a webinar on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 2:00 pm EST.  Sign up at sustainableminds.com/weekly-webinar.

    SM Transparency Reports, third party verified by NSF Sustainability and based on ISO 14044 compliant LCAs, are an alternative transparency reporting tool to environmental product declarations (EPDs). NSF Sustainability’s extensive background in certifying environmental reports and sustainable products and services provides additional credibility for the contents of the transparency reports.

  • Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace, Part 7: The World is Transforming Design Education

    by Sustainable Minds on February 20, 2014

    On February 11, we held the seventh in a series of webcasts featuring educators from leading colleges and universities demonstrating how Sustainable Minds is being used in education. Today's environmental challenges are driving transformation in design education. Learn from three educators from thought-leading institutions how they are using Sustainable Minds to design businesses and products that create value and catalyze positive change. You can download the presentation deck here.

  • Webcast Replay: SM Transparency Reports, a solution to the LCA/EPD/PCR conundrum

    by Sustainable Minds on January 28, 2014

    In response to market demand and LEED v4, three companies with a common mission to bring credibly greener products to the marketplace -- Sustainable Minds, TOTO USA and NSF International -- have introduced a new product for manufacturers to transparently report the environmental performance of their products.

  • TOTO Is The First Plumbing Manufacturer To Validate Its Products' Environmental Performance With New SM Transparency Reports

    by Sustainable Minds on December 17, 2013

    Company Innovates a Solution and Goes Beyond Compliance in Response to LEED v4's 'Building Product Disclosure and Optimization' Option

    MORROW, Ga., Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- TOTO announced today that it is introducing an innovative, new way to report product transparency that enables customers to earn LEED v4 credit for select high-efficiency toilets. Committed to environmental leadership that exceeds compliance, TOTO discovered that it was unable to comply with LEED v4's disclosure option to provide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its high-efficiency toilets. The company could not do this because there is no Product Category Rule for toilets (PCRs define the requirements of EPDs for each product category). EPDs are required for its building industry customers to earn the highest number of LEED points for purchasing TOTO products. To solve this problem, TOTO, already using Sustainable Minds' LCA software to help it design sustainable products, turned to the company to help it solve this problem marketing.

  • Sustainable Minds' New Tool Adds Approachability to Product Life Cycle Transparency

    by Sustainable Minds on December 17, 2013

    via sustainablebrands.com

    The first company to publish its product lifecycle information with SM Transparency Reports is leading plumbing manufacturer TOTO USA. The need for a new solution became evident when TOTO was not able to comply with the new LEED v4 disclosure option to provide EPDs, for customers to earn the maximum available product credits for purchasing selected TOTO products. The company discovered there is no Product Category Rule (which defines the requirements for EPDs of a certain product category) for toilets, just as there are no PCRs for hundreds of other types of products used in building and construction.

  • New SM Transparency Reports(TM) Facilitate and Accelerate Greener Product Purchase Decisions, Alternative to EPDs

    by Sustainable Minds on November 19, 2013

    Sustainable Minds®, TOTO USA and NSF International Demonstrate Thought Leadership In Standardizing Transparency Reporting

    Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, Philadelphia, PA – November 20, 2013 – In response to market demand and LEED v4, three companies with a common mission to bring credibly greener products to the marketplace have introduced a new product for manufacturers to transparently report the environmental performance of their products. SM Transparency ReportsTM are a new alternative to Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) – with equivalent verification and credibility.

    NSF International, a global public health organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for multiple industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment, is providing the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) verification and report certification. Today, SM Transparency Reports can be used to meet LEED v4 MRc2 Option 1 for product-specific declarations by presenting the results of a publicly available, verified ISO 14044 LCA. Their designation as a USGBC approved program to earn EPD equivalency is in process.

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