Sustainable Design

Sustainable-Design

We need our environment to provide clean air, a stable climate and healthy soil to grow food. We need clean water to drink, trees to make wood, minerals to convert and healthy wildlife to pollinate crops. The majority of our cars cause air pollution, our clothes add plastic particles to water and our electronic products use up finite resources. If we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of a modern society, we must act in a sustainable way which maintains global temperatures to within 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels..

Sustainability and energy efficiency legislation is now here. The EU Eco-design directive forces manufacturers to reduce the energy consumption of electrical goods and increase their life span to over 7 years while providing a professional repair service. The EU Packaging Directive requires all packing should use as little material as practical while protecting goods; and all plastic packaging should be made with at least 30% recycled content or face a plastic tax. Environmental Product Declarations can be used to promote the carbon footprint of products and materials. Carbon emmisions caps are now in place for large companies. If they cause more carbon emissions than their allowance, they must buy carbon credits to offset these. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive will apply from 2023 requiring larger companies to produce a Life Cycle Analysis for their products.

At Renfrew Group International we can create products made from recycled or renewable materials that use less energy and cause less pollution. We produce a simple Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to predict the carbon emissions caused making, shipping, using, and recycling products. We can estimate the energy it uses, and the pollution it would add to the atmosphere and water. We use this as a benchmark to improve the design or rethink it completely.

For example, we used an LCA to design a bird feeder. We created 4 CAD models, made from plastic, clay, metal, and wood, then calculated their environmental impacts.

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Eco product design

The lowest carbon emissions were caused when using biobased plastics. Common thermoplastics like PP or PET can be made from 100% biomass and can be recycled with regular synthetic plastics. The 500-gram CO2e footprint caused making the bioplastic birdfeeder is relatively low when spread out over a 10-year life.

CO2 emissions

We can import existing CAD models including electronics into Solidworks Sustainability to generate a simple LCA to assess which materials or designs has the least overall environmental impact. Mobius LCA software reviews the individual stages from raw material extraction and production, part forming and assembly, packaging, transport, use and recycling.

Get in touch if you want us to review your product.

We’ve created ecoproductdesign.com to promote sustainable design and a circular economy.

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