Life Cycle Analysis Workshop

Life Cycle Analysis Workshop

May 23, 2009

On Saturday, May 23rd approximately 25 designers and educators within and outside of the Pratt community attended a Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) workshop. Hosted by Deb Johnson in Pratt’s Stueben Hall, the workshop “Mastering Environmental Impact Assessment in the Design Process” was conducted by Okala experts Louise St. Pierre and Phillip White. Okala is a lifecycle assessment methodology used for evaluating ecological and health impacts of products used in North America.

Highlighted in the workshop was Sustainable Minds, a new web-based software that uses Okala’s lifecycle assessment methodology and allows designers to create and compare designs from an ecological and human health standpoint. Workshop attendees broke off into design groups to test out the process and functionality of the Sustainable Minds program. After creating a benchmark design of a children’s outdoor playset, design teams were able to alter materials, processes, transportation, and packaging in order to create a more sustainable product. The software, which functions for designers in a variety of disciplines, provided thorough diagrams on how each design element impacted both the environment and human health.

The workshop served not only as a reminder of the necessity to begin the design process with an environmental mindset, but also a way to keep designers and educators up-to-date on the latest sustainable design technologies. After trying Sustainable Minds, Pratt’s design faculty is now considering using the software in the classroom.

For more information on Sustainable Minds, check out http://www.sustainableminds.com.

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