Adobe has a number of products in development that will make it easier for product designers to identify and select more sustainable choices, according to the company's CTO, Kevin Lynch.
Adobe's working on tools that will show the toxicity of materials (such as what chemicals are in certain colors), compare a design to various standards, explain the impacts of material choices (like how many tress one type of paper uses versus a different type of paper) and make it easier for designers to optimize manufacturing by seeing how much waste a product or packaging will leave behind.
Integrating sustainable choices into design software or related tools is a key step to making greener choices easier to understand and more visible to designers.
On the opposite end of product design, Tom Igoe of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program touched on the need for better understanding of what is in products to make it easier for recyclers to deal with them as well as to ensure discarded materials are fully reutilized.
And along with knowing what materials are in products, there is more awareness growing over the embodied energy of products, the amount of energy used by products from their raw materials to disposal. WattzOn is one project compiling that information in its Embodied Energy Database, to make it easy to compare products, and for people to see the energy required by their lifestyles.
Videos of some of the presentations from the event are up on Blip.tv and Treehugger.
Image - Embodied Energy Database entry for an iPhone