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Sustainability Series

Sustainable Product Design – Utilising Design Software

Any great seating manufacturer will know that to design a sustainable product, design software should be utilised from the earliest stages of the project.

Designers will typically work with Solidworks and other CAD software, which can help assist with the sustainability analysis of a product. This is because most product design CAD software has a built-in report tool, meaning material properties can be stored within the CAD model and used to evaluate the makeup of the seating.

When this software is utilised early on, you will be able to compare design and material options and create a seat with less environmental impact. Areas that should be considered are:

  • Recycled content of input materials
  • Recyclability of input materials
  • Weight of materials which can reduce transportation carbon emissions
  • CO2 emissions of input materials i.e., Recycled steel over Virgin steel

Related Blog: Sustainable Product Design – Design for Longevity

The data can then be used to calculate the percentage of the entire product (e.g., by mass or volume) which is recycled or recyclable.

Tip: Discuss the machining methods and material sizes used by your seating manufacturer (sheet sizes etc.) CAD and other CNC software can assist in calculating how the material is used. The form of the seating can be optimised to increase parts per sheet and decrease the total amount of material and processes used during the manufacturing stage.

When choosing the components within your seating with the above in mind, also consider the longevity of the material type and the repairability. As well as considering the whole seating layout design, to ensure you are thinking holistically about the space.

You can read more about designing Sustainable products in the rest of our Sustainability Series.

This article was written originally for the Theatre Greenbook Sustainable Buildings Toolkit by our Design & Projects Engineer, Kitty Frost, and Sustainability & Environmental Manager, Sian Berkley.

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