The Green Design and Assessment Workbook was created to support product designers in developing products based on sustainable green chemistry and engineering design principles. It is intended to inform early-stage assessment and continual improvement. Information on tools and approaches for more advanced assessment are also included in the workbook. It is currently accessible through Google Sheets which allows for easy transfer back and forth between worksheets and easy access back and forth to external links.
NGC collaborated with diverse stakeholders to better understand what businesses need to effectively compare and evaluate product sustainability. An overarching theme was the desire for a simple framework - checklist-style guidance - that would help companies to evaluate whole products, and not just individual chemicals. Businesses need a way to incorporate information from chemical hazard assessment, exposure assessment and life cycle assessment into a single, multifaceted assessment. Examples and case studies are presented throughout the workbook to demonstrate how these concepts have been turned into realities.
Beginning on the first tab, the Green Design and Assessment Workbook guides users through the consecutive tabs containing the steps of early-stage product design and assessment. This will enable designers to create side-by-side comparisons of different chemical and material options. We walk you through guiding questions, principles, and resources that support the development of products that are low-hazard and low-waste producing across the life cycle. It is designed to raise questions for consideration and to provide resources, but it does not currently score the options for decision analysis.
Through this step-by-step assessment, designers can more easily identify where material design changes will provide the greatest benefits early in development rather than later, when it’s more difficult to change course. Users can click through each tab in sequence to learn about design considerations at each stage of the life cycle and click on links to learn about tools and resources that will help you evaluate and compare the sustainability of materials and products. Where possible, we've created a screening-level option and an advanced-level option to suit both designers new to green design and assessment and those who wish to take their existing product design initiatives to the next level.
Limitations: The workbook doesn’t address all elements of sustainability. It does not include engineering performance specifications, regulatory requirements, social impact assessment or cost and availability. While these are all critical for product design, they are not within the scope of this design workbook.
Participate!: NGC will continue to improve and expand this workbook. This includes investigating alternative formats for the document to increase use and usability. We welcome your comments. Please submit feedback, questions, and comments to Northwest Green Chemistry