Thanks to advances in material science, today’s engineers and designers have more options for choosing greener materials. Choosing more sustainable materials often means making informed tradeoffs. To make an informed choice you need good data on a material’s environmental impacts, and you need to consider that data alongside other design requirements.
Green Materials Basics
When considering the environmental properties of materials, look for materials that are abundant, non-toxic, have low embodied energy, and meet or exceed regulations.
You also need to ensure that the material has the right physical properties to get the job done and that it won’t drive up costs.
When looking for sustainable materials, the first step is to understand where their ecological impacts come from. Learn about material scarcity and abundance, rapidly renewable materials, embodied energy, recycled materials, and toxicity.
Learn how to select materials with the right performance characteristics, which is critical for designing for energy efficiency.