less by design

Life Cycle Assessment Part 3: Reduce Your Product’s Environmental Impact

By Giles Matthews.

My last post stepped into some heavy territory – reducing your product’s negative social impact. This post we’ll grapple with the equally dense issue of reducing your product’s environmental impact.

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Designer Profile 3 – William McDonough

By Lucy Smith.

William McDonough has been famed as a ‘hero for the planet’ by Time magazine. The American designer, architect and author is certainly a worthy recipient of the endowment as a globally recognised leader in sustainable development.

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Older people – the forgotten generation?

By Heather McInnes.

Health care standards have significantly improved over the last few decades.  People are living longer and people with previously fatal injuries and illness are being saved. As a result of this, within developed countries, there are individuals with higher than previously known levels of physical disability.

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Cardboard coffins – an eco exit?

By Lorrin Windahl.

A pretty morbid post I know but I’ve always been amazed at the elaborate and ‘over the top’ design of coffins when they are just put in the ground or, worse still, burnt. When you think about it they are usually made up of a lot of different materials. You’ve got the timber (and who knows if this is forested sustainably), some sort of stain on the timber, metal handles & hinges, plating on the metal parts, fabric on the inside and padding for comfort (is this really necessary?). And that’s not including all the adhesive and fasteners used. And what about the carbon miles that the different materials have travelled.

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Designer Profile 2 – Paul Polak

By Lorrin Windahl.

In my opinion, Paul Polak is a quiet achiever. His name may be more synonymous with sustainable design in the US, where the SRD movement is much larger, but here in Australia he is relatively unknown. So you are probably asking who is this Polak guy and what has he done to impress me enough to write about him?

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Life Cycle Assessment Part 2: Reduce Your Product’s Environmental Impact

By Giles Matthews.

Any well-adjusted person could quickly reason that by reducing a product’s environmental impact it will also correlate in sustainable financial benefits. And these benefits are unrelated to any environmental measures.  My job in the following short paragraphs is to reveal how to soften the decision-making tissue damage to those, namely middle management, who are allowing this work to take place.

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Product Life Cycle Assessment: Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

By Giles Matthews.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is a reporting method that quantifies the environmental impact of a particular product.  An LCA considers the product’s impact in terms of its:

  • Resource recovery
  • Manufacture
  • Distribution & Sale
  • Installation
  • Use
  • End of Life

There are so many variations and intricacies that are individual to every product; head spinning is often a side effect of the field in general.

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Bagasse – not just a waste material

By Chris Morrish

For a long time sugarcane crop has been harvested purely for its sweet sucrose. But now, with the increased development into sustainable bio-fuels, such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel, demand for the fibrous grass has sharply increased.

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Why is it so hard to succeed?

By Lorrin Windahl.

I thought I’d share with you an article I read recently. It’s a couple of years old now but I think it’s still fairly relevant. The article, by Julie Lasky for Metropolis Magazine, is entitled ‘The (Limited) Power of Good Intentions’. It’s a short article that discusses the reasons that the good intentions of designers are often unfruitful.

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Sustainable packaging

By Lorrin Windahl.

When we think of product packaging we often think of polystyrene foam, cardboard and plastic bags. All of which when you have unwrapped the product go into the garbage or, at best, the recycling bin. But this is an area of design that is changing with designers looking towards more sustainable materials and using less of them.

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