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

Electronics

Greener Decisions

By Sustainable Minds on August 23, 2010

Originally posted on Modern Edge.

Environmentally sustainable design is at a crossroads. The insight and emotion that drove the passionate early adopters is giving way to data-driven decision making. New software tools and design methodologies are gaining traction and the result is a new level of innovation. But there’s still work to do for greener design methodologies to go mainstream. This is the take away from the dialogue on Thursday August 5th, at the Sustainable Minds and Modern Edge design reception at the Modern Edge Studio in PDX. Three main areas of discussion arose:

Credible Greener Decisions:
The question has changed from “How will we save the world?” to “How can we make credible decisions and substantiate progress?” It’s about putting credibility into the process of creating greener design. “Data is the common language; with good data multi-disciplinary teams can quickly come to consensus on the right steps to greener design.” It’s about changing emotion into rational action.

Designers Sailing to Sustainability

By Sustainable Minds on August 16, 2010

Originally posted on Modern Edge. This reception was held by Modern Edge and Sustainable Minds, Aug. 5, 2010, in Portland, OR.

50-60 Designers, Technologists and Educators from companies and organizations such as Nike, Motorola, Eastman, Yakima, Art Center, Children’s Hospital, University of Notre Dame, Ziba, Teams Design, and others, enjoy the patio at the Modern Edge Studio during a dialogue on improving sustainable design – hosted by Sustainable Minds and Modern Edge Inc. 25 of the first attendees to register arrived by sailboat from downtown Portland. We’ll be sharing the outcome from the dialogue in future blog posts.

See more pictures from event >

Never underestimate the power of a fun idea

By Lorne Craig on August 9, 2010

Have you got a sustainability idea or initiative to get off the ground? You might want to take yourself a lot less seriously.

Less than two months ago, the Crazy Sustainable Commute was just a fun office idea in the head of Steve Unger, a Senior Director at SAP. The concept is now gaining momentum throughout Vancouver and may one day go even further. 
The event, to be held on August 27th 2010, is a campaign designed to inspire people for ONE day to rethink how they can commute to work in an eco-friendly way that is sustainable, fun and raises awareness. 
“Each small step you take to reduce carbon emissions is one BIG step closer to a healthier planet and a healthier you.” says Steve.

Sustainability signs are promising

By Sandy Skees on July 26, 2010

These days, the talk of a double dip recession and the lagging job market could obscure several positive indicators that provide good evidence that a significant and lasting change is underway.

Pay attention to the more important transformation that is affecting product development, business formation, job creation and the very way we live and work. In any number of areas, you’ll find upbeat indicators where you might expect to find a downbeat story:

Social Capital
A month after the Sustainable Brands 2010 conference in Monterey, CA, it's worth noting that many of the presenting and attending companies are truly integrating social impact into their sustainability efforts. 

For example, environment and ‘green’ issues, which have dominated sustainability discussions in the past, have given way to more practical explorations of new strategy, measurement, metrics and marketing initiatives. This has moved social programs from the periphery to the core.

Green still growing despite the recession – 2010 Green Brands Survey

By Lorne Craig on July 6, 2010

The 5th Annual ImagePower® Green Brands Survey is out, with some encouraging and surprising results. First, the environment is not going away, despite our best attempts to kill it. With over 9000 people polled in eight countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom) this study concludes that overall, concern for the environment is up 3.5%. And the growth is coming from some very interesting places.

Read More >

Sustainable Minds release 1.3 – Unit conversions

By Sustainable Minds on May 19, 2010

Release 1.3 of Sustainable Minds allows you to enter data in the units your BOM or project uses and includes a broad range of both metric and imperial units. For example, 0.25 kg of aluminum can now be entered as 0.25 kg, 250 g, or 0.00027558 short tons. Sustainable Minds then converts the measurements to a common unit to deliver the impact assessment results.

Unit conversion is available for the manufacturing, use, and transportation stages of the product’s lifecycle, for both manual part and sub-assembly entry and BOM import.

The power of a stamp

By David Laituri on May 4, 2010

I attended a sustainability conference recently in which the main speaker, a seasoned LCA engineer, gave an overview of the LCA process, using range of products as examples. During his overview, he pointed out the stark differences between the big-impact elements and the small ones and suggested, in so many words, that an impact really must be big enough to be worth any effort in an LCA-driven impact reduction exercise.

That’s where he lost me.

This emphasis on big impact elements may make sense on paper - but what happens when all of those small, ‘insignificant’ impact elements on a lifecycle BOM from literally millions of products gang up in one place at one time? A good example is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Another is from Lake Erie where I grew up, pictured in the photo above. CO2, lead, Mercury and DDT also come to mind – small and seemingly insignificant at their original point of use, nasty once they reconvene elsewhere. Over time, and displaced from their original LCA, insignificant elements can accumulate into a much larger problem.

The Car, 2.0

By Sandy Skees on April 5, 2010

Is the world ready for a new generation of cars, particularly the electric kind? There are at least 41 teams hard at work, and competing, on the assumption that the world is not just ready, but that it’s in desperate need for Car 2.0.

Energy and transportation analysts as well as green media sites like Earth2Tech have begun using the Car 2.0 moniker and predicting a sizable market opportunity. The new electric car infrastructure has implications beyond reducing the highly toxic impact that current fossil fuel transportation has on the environment. Electric cars will link to the smart grid, making them efficient and connected communicating transportation.

New in Sustainable Minds Release 1.2

By Sustainable Minds on March 19, 2010

This release makes it easier to purchase for use on a short-term project, purchase for your school, and distribute and include assessment results in all your presentations.

Printable and exportable assessment results
Now just click a button to print results views to a file (such as PDF), or saved as HTML files for inclusion in presentations, web sites, workshops or simply to print to share with the team. Additionally, results from each concept can be downloaded as a file. SBOM items are displayed by life cycle, and include the scores for all items, including impact category results. When you’re designing a greener product, Sustainable Minds LCA results in your presentation means you’ll have quantified information to support your design and manufacturing recommendations.

Sustainable Minds: Candidate for WEF Technology Pioneers 2011

By Sustainable Minds on March 9, 2010

2010 is turning out to be an incredible year for Sustainable Minds. We recently found out that Sustainable Minds has been nominated as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Candidate for 2011.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world. It’s motto is 'entrepreneurship in the global public interest.’ The WEF engages world leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas and is well known by its annual meeting in Davos in January every year.