Sustainable Minds

Sustainable Minds Inc. is a greener product design software and information company dedicated to bringing environmentally sustainable product design into mainstream design and manufacturing in an understandable, empowering and credible way. Sustainable Minds is the first on-demand, software and information service that estimates a product's potential life cycle environmental and human health impacts, in a collaborative, learning work space. At the core is decision support software that enables life cycle assessment and rapid iteration of product concepts in the earliest stages of design. 
Learn more about SustainableMinds.com.

SustainableMinds offers up this year-in-review take on 2009, "taken from our perusals of some of the quirkier green stories we’ve seen this year." Go ahead: Test your green cred.

When a design project requires a material with a cold, smooth, high-quality feel, what's better -- ceramic or glass?

 

Within the industries that create and operate our built environment, the LEED green building certification system has become a positive market force

At a recent gathering of sustainable design professionals in Boston, there was no shortage of passion in the room and there were plenty of good ideas to share, but the consensus amongst all was clear: If sustainable design was challenging to practice in a good economy, it’s even more difficult in a bad one.
During his inaugural speech, President Obama said, "...we'll work tirelessly to... roll back the specter of a warming planet." Specter is a powerful word to use, imbued with dark magic – a terrifying apparition and unreal appearance, a visible incorporeal spirit. But if the scientific synthesis of Mark Lynas in his new book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Warming Planet, is correct, then President Obama has chosen his words wisely.
With the new administration, the green building industry cries victory and LEED is getting ready to help all federal and government agencies spend money on making buildings more energy efficient. That's great – but what about all that money that is going to be poured into concrete, steel and asphalt in upgrading our existing infrastructure and creating more mass transit infrastructure? Who will make sure that the money is not just spent, but that it is spent on what works, especially from the point of view of sustainability? There is no LEED for transportation projects, after all.

Recently, quite a few people have been asking me the same two questions: how do I feel about greenwashing and do I think we will see more or less greenwashing in the coming years? To which I usually respond that it depends on what they mean by greenwashing. Their definitions vary in the details, but they usually include two categories.

It’s not uncommon that I’m asked the simple question “what exactly is product design?” It’s a fair enough inquiry – removing yourself from the product development process just long enough to surface for air, you might realize that it’s extremely unusual for the average human to have even a basic understanding of how a product ends up on the retail shelf.
When is the right time to develop a product end of life strategy? Now, roughly – give or take a day. Even though our first product has been in-market for about a year and we shouldn’t expect to ‘need’ a product take-back/recycling program for our customers for many years to come, we believe there is plenty that can be learned by working on it now.
Because paint is one of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution, Green Seal has recently updated its environmental standards in a new Green Seal Standard – GS-11.