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

Software & systems

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.

Sustainable Minds and MAGNET Partner to Advance Sustainability in Manufacturing

By Sustainable Minds on February 3, 2010

We are happy to announce a new partnership with MAGNET, The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, a professional organization that is focused on helping manufacturing and technology-based companies in Ohio adopt innovative methods and technologies.

Manufacturers are struggling to learn how to adopt sustainable practices in their current processes, and this partnership will help advance the adoption of greener product design practices for manufacturers. This partnership will also serve to assist Magnet’s eco-SMART Manufacturing Program to deliver education to Ohio manufacturers about sustainable manufacturing and ecoInnovation strategies.

Greenpeace releases its guide to greener electronics

By Sustainable Minds on January 25, 2010

Technology companies are starting to understand that sustainability is increasingly important to their customers. But as a consumer, how do you measure ‘green-ness’ across products that are sourced all over the world, and are combinations of processes that include hundreds of vendors? Recently, Greenpeace announced its ranking of 18 electronics companies at the Consumer Electronics Show (what better place?), along with a point-by-point breakdown of how they arrived at their scores. Categories include chemicals management , PVC-free and/or BFR-free models, voluntary take-back, use of recycled plastic content, and eleven more. This year, the leaders are Apple, Sony Ericsson and Nokia. Trailing the pack are Nintendo, Microsoft and Lenovo.
Read more

IDSA partnership aims to mainstream innovation in greener product design

By Sustainable Minds on January 11, 2010

Today we are excited to announce a new partnership with Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA), the world’s oldest and largest association for product designers. IDSA and Sustainable Minds have made a commitment to work together to advance the adoption and integration of ecodesign and sustainability practices in product design.

Greener product design means designing the whole product system from a life cycle perspective. Understanding what this means and how to design this way is the first step.

We are bringing together important tools and education for members, including offering Sustainable Minds LCA software at a discount. The software enables rapid iteration and comparison of new product concepts, and provides quantified environmental performance information during the design process to help make design and manufacturing trade-off decisions.

Test your green-Q with our year-end trivia quiz

By Sustainable Minds on December 28, 2009

During these short days at the end of the year when you find yourself wondering what to do next (with or without all that company in your house), try this Green Trivia Quiz. It’s taken from our perusals of some of the quirkier green stories we’ve seen this year.

New in Sustainable Minds Release 1.1

By Sustainable Minds on December 16, 2009

Following on the heels of Release 1.0, we've made it easier for more people to find out, learn about and subscribe to Sustainable Minds. In this release:

  • Educator and student subscriptions
  • Affiliate referral program
  • Software enhancements

Educator and student subscriptions
As part of the Designers Accord community, and as 'Summit Sponsor' of the Global Summit on Design Education & Sustainability, we are committed to helping educators create undergraduate, graduate and professional development curriculum to integrate environmental sustainability into design, engineering and business programs.