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

Products

Farm designs greener medical devices

By Guest contributors on August 30, 2010

This post was submitted by guest contributor, Jim Rudolph, Industrial Designer at Farm in Hollis, New Hampshire. Farm recently announced their sustainable product development services.

Sustainability is part of good design. It is a natural extension of the traditional product development goals of efficiency and quality. Sustainable design strategies that lead to streamlined production, optimized materials usage, minimized weight, and reduced waste are all real opportunities for competitive and economic advantage for our clients.

Throughout Farm’s product development process, concepts are evaluated for attributes including usability, aesthetics, cost and manufacturability. Sustainable Minds LCA enables us to easily ‘prototype’ a concept’s life cycle impact and integrate environmental performance into our evaluation criteria as well. The software’s flexibility enables our project teams to make informed estimates about environmental impact very early in the development process while concepts are still evolving.

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 >

Deepwater Horizon: the Cost of Greenality

By EarthPM on June 1, 2010

A welcome: the authors of the blog below – Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley – are respected project management experts and have recently released a book about green project management. Sustainable Minds is proud to add these well-respected experts and educators to our roster of blog contributors. We look forward to their unique perspective as project managers, and will be picking up relevant posts from their illuminating website.

In our book we talk about the Cost of Greenality.

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.