Watch: Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking

This video, by Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, provides a six minute introduction to Life Cycle Thinking as it relates to whole systems design. It explores how opportunities for saving resources, like materials and energy, can often be uncovered early in the design process, by identifying the right problems to solve before engineering begins. Learn more: https://sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com/products/whole-systems-and-lifecycle-thinking      

Watch: Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture

In this Ted talk, architect Michael Pawlyn describes and gives examples of three habits of nature that can transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. “If we could learn to make things and do things the way nature does, we could achieve factor 10, factor 100, maybe even factor 1,000 savings in resource …

Alleviating Poverty and Disability with a Hand-Operated Tricycle

Maker: A team of industrial design students from Carleton University Challenge: An estimated 5-6 million people in Uganda are living with disabilities, and studies reveal that those living with disabilities are most likely living in poverty as well (source).  As a result, these individuals not only face the challenge of providing basic necessities for themselves, but they also “face the cultural stigma …

Q&A with InfoDesignLab: Designing Understanding to Spark Action and Change

  Angela Morelli and Tom Gabriel Johansen are award-winning information designers and the founders of InfoDesignLab—an organization whose goal is to empower professionals, designers, scientists, and journalists to turn complex information into meaningful narratives, beautiful visions, and understandable messages. As friends of the Oslo Manifesto, Angela and Tom were happy to do a Q&A with us. Here we talk about what …

Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

This book is a valuable resource for architects and designers who want to implement innovative and sustainable materials in their work. Written by architect Blaine Brownell,  Transmaterial Next  catalogs sustainable materials “that redefine our physical environment.” Materials which not only have low to no environmental impact, but also deliver when it comes to performance and applicability. The catalog also exists digitally, as a …

Tetra Rex: The World’s First 100% Renewable Carton

Maker: Tetra Pak in collaboration with Braskem Challenge: Conventional packaging is primarily made from fossil fuel derived plastic and unsustainably harvested wood fibers, Solution: “The Tetra Rex Bio-based package, which is manufactured solely from paperboard and plastics derived from plants. All the paperboard used comes from FSC-certified and controlled sources, and is traceable to its origins. The low-density polyethylene used to …

Intermarché: Fight Against Food Waste

Maker: Intermarché Challenge: According to FAO,  approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted each year—and most of it is fruits and vegetables. Such waste not only adds up to a giant economic loss (about US$ 680 billion in industrialized nations, and US$ 310 billion in developing nations according to FAO). It also amounts …

How School Building Design Can Support Better Learning

A report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) confirms that good design has the power to impact far more than appearances. After studying school building performance and interviewing teachers, architects, and academics, they found that good design can support better learning outcomes for students,  increased teacher productivity, and even make schools more cost-effective to run. “Our research showed that …

The Watercone: Turning Sea Water into Safe Drinking Water

Maker: Stephan Augustin Challenge: People in poor and sunny regions lack access to fresh water, and often have no other choice but to use dirty water for daily use. For coastal dwelling communities, seawater is no solution since most desalination units are cumbersome, need constant technical maintenance, and are very expensive. According to WHO, “By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed …