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Principles Of Green

3.1.1 Define green design, renewable resources and non-renewable resources.

Define Green Design
Designing in a way that takes account of the environmental impact of the product throughout its life.
Define Renewable Resources
Resources that are naturally replenished in a short time.
Define Non-renewable Resources
A natural resource that cannot be re-made or re-grown as it does not naturally re-form at a rate that makes its use sustainable, for example, coal, petroleum and natural gas.

Green Design

Greening the federal government podcast from PBS and e2

There are many examples of this, such as:

  • To choose non-toxic, sustainable-produced or recycled materials which don't need as much energy to process.
  • To manufacture and produce products using less energy.
  • To produce products that are long lasting and better functioning so there is less replacement and use of products.
  • Design products using the concept of being able to recycle it when its use is done.

Non-renewable Resources

These resources are:

  • Fossil Fuels
    • Natural Gas
    • Oil
    • Coal
    • Gasohol
  • Nuclear Energy
  • These resources are very useful and they are sources of energy. Of course this energy is needed to manufacture products. The bad aspect about this is that these resources are running out and the human dependency on them is very high.

Renewable Resources

These resources are:

  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Hydro
  • Wave
  • Tidal
  • Thermal
  • Bio fuels
  • A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes at a rate almost the same as its rate of consumption by humans or other users.

3.1.2 Outline the reasons for green design.

Consider consumer pressure and legislation.

In developing the product brief, formulating the product design specification and choosing the material and manufacturing process, the potential environmental impact of the product is assessed with the specific objective of reducing this impact and minimising it over the longer term.

Consumer pressure

  1. The public have become aware of environmental issues through media focus on issues such as the destructive effect of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer; acid rain in Northern European forests and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Increased public awareness has put pressure on corporations and governments through purchasing power and voting power.
  2. The consumer will seek out products that are energy efficient which will be cheaper to run this providing savings for the consumer.

Examples of legislation: South Africa Slowly Embraces Green Building News Article


  • Raised awareness of environmental issues is increasing legislation in many countries. This can lead to financial penalties on companies who do not demonstrate environmental responsibility. Many people will not behave responsibly unless forced to do so, therefore, legislation forces the issue.

Examples of legislation:

  1. One problem in relation to the recycling of plastics is knowing what the plastic actually is. Government legislation requires labelling plastic products with the plastic type can help overcome this issue.
  2. CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, are harmful greenhouse gases that erode the ozone layer, allowing UV rays to be absorbed and trapped into the Earth and causing global warming. CFCs could be found in Styrofoam, air conditioning coolants, and aerosol cans.
  3. In response, McDonald chains in several MEDCs (more economically developed countries) were banned from using Styrofoam containers that contained CFCs and were forced to find alternatives to their old packaging. CFCs were also banned in aerosol cans, to the point where in 2002, CFC aerosol cans were sold for low prices on the black market and smuggled into Miami, Florida from places like Russia and India. CFCs in that year were the second most imported illegal product after cocaine.
  4. Green/High-Performance Building Legislation in the States
The following map displays states with legislation mandating the use of green/high-performance building standards for new state-funded building projects and renovations.

Choose one of the environmental issue and write a small synopsis. Include a description of the problem and how is it being dealt with.

3.1.3 List design objectives for green products.

Objectives include:

  • increasing efficiency in the use of materials, energy and other resources
  • minimizing damage or pollution from the chosen materials
  • reducing to a minimum any long-term harm caused by use of the product
  • ensuring that the planned life of the product is most appropriate in environmental terms and that the product functions efficiently for its full life
  • taking full account of the effects of the end disposal of the product
  • ensuring that the packaging and instructions encourage efficient and environmentally friendly use
  • minimizing nuisances such as noise or smell
  • analysing and minimizing potential safety hazards.

Describe why a particular green product of your choosing is green using the above objectives as a guide.

3.1.4 Discuss the impact of “take back” legislation on designers and manufacturers of cars, refrigerators and washing machines.

From the Story of Stuff

Take back legislation is the legislation that holds manufacturers responsible for the environmentally safe recycling or disposal of their end-of-life products. They are expected to provide a financial and/or physical plan to ensure that such products are collected and processed.

  • In Maine in the U.S.A., Car manufacturers have take-back legislation in the sense that they have to pay the collection and recycling of mercury switches from old cars.
  • In March 2003 the UK government issued a legislation requiring that all car manufacturer's and vehicle importers of new cars into the United Kingdom take back vehicles from their previous owner and guarantee that they are treated environmentally friendly.
  • In Sweden, Producers and importers must take back for free a piece of old equipment (all electrical household appliance) when the customer buys a new product.
  • In Norway, Producers and importers are responsible for collection, transportation, recycling and safe disposal of any electrical appliance.
  • In Japan, the end users are obliged to pay fees for collection, take-back and recycling at the time of disposal. The government sets the fees to cover industry's actual costs for take-back, transportation, and recycling. They are (in U.S. dollars): washing machine, $24; air conditioner, $35; refrigerator, $46; and television, $27.
  • LG Policy of recycling and take-back.

Any kind of take back legislation has great impact on both designers and manufacturers because, while designing and manufacturing, they have to be aware of these laws and their contents. For instance, if a product has to be taken back and recycled by the manufacturers, it would be most advantageous for them to be readily disassembled. Special care has to be taken with the choice of materials, costs, parts, order to optimize the collection and recycling.

Consideration of design for disassembly (DfD) is important.

  • use the minimum number of different materials
  • colour code materials to facilitate separation
  • avoid adhesives
  • do not mix materials in producing components and sub-assemblies
  • avoid coatings
  • use thermoplastics not thermosetting plastics

Impact on the designer:

  • Cars, it would be advantageous to conceive a car model of which certain parts can be used over again, for example the glass, the seats, the board computer etc...He should also make sure to be aware of all costs involved because recycling and recollecting requires money. Therefore, the materials shouldn't be too expensive so that they cam be sold at a price in which recycling costs in a way should be included in order to minimalise the costs.
  • Refrigerators, one should be aware of the size of the appliance because recycling is paid per cubic meter, so the smaller the design the less recycling costs involved. In order not to make customers refuse a purchase based on the lack of capacity of the appliance, the designer should reduce the size of the engine, reservoir, cables etc... in order not to deprive the appliance of storage space. Also, the type of material should be cost effective and easy to recycle in order to re use as many parts as possible in the manufacturing of other appliances.
  • Washing machines, special care again has to be taken in order to keep the appliance as small as possible so the manufacturer's recycle costs can be limited. However, it should not deprive the washing machine of its capacity but should reduce the size of its motors, cables, and other parts. Also maybe it could be designed in such a way that certain parts could be used again by the manufacturer, eg. the rotator or door. As previously discussed, the designer should also do his best to use easy renewable and re usable materials to make it lucrative for his employer, the manufacturer.

Impact on the Manufacturer:

  • Cars, cost is an important issue. As ecologically friendly resources are becoming more popular, prices have lowered to become more affordable. Research into the actual manufacturing process should also take place. With a proper process, the cost and efficiency of the product's production. This way, more money can be spent to better the product's ecological impact on the environment.
  • Refrigerators, insulation and heating should be taken into consideration. As a refrigerator becomes better insulated, the required electricity in order to lower the temperature inside lowers drastically. Manufacturers as well as designers should work closely together to ensure that the materials that are used in the product are properly assembled.
  • Washing machines, steps should be taken to ensure that the manufacturing process is efficient in which resources are used. Materials should be used which can be reused or completely recyclable. Not only would this allow the manufacturer's to save money by re-using previous materials, it would help the environment by reducing the amount of waste created during the manufacturing process.

3.1.5 Explain how people can be broadly classified according to their attitudes to green issues.

People’s attitudes to green issues vary
  • Eco-warriors actively demonstrate on environmental issues.
An Eco Warrior is an individual who cares about our environment & the diversity of life forms that share it. Being an Eco Warrior is to simply care for our environment in our daily activities and decision making. An eco-warrior can be someone such as non-confrontational as a tree sitter or someone who engages in direct action, ranging anywhere from planting tree spikes into trees on public lands, to keep the lumber industry from cutting them down, to sit-ins which occupy a corporate office.
An example of a eco warrior is Daniel Hooper Hooper made the environmental 'eco-warrior' movement more visible and, in many ways, more acceptable to the public. He, and the environmental movement in general, caused environmental concerns to be taken much more seriously in road construction. The Newbury Bypass contains so many mitigating features that it is probably better for wildlife now than before the road was built.
  • Eco-champions champion environmental issues within organizations.
is a person who fights or argues for a cause.
Therefore an Eco-champion is someone who through formal organizational roles and/or personal activism, attempt to introduce or create change in a product, process, or method that takes into account green or environmental issues.
  • Eco-fans enthusiastically adopt environmentally friendly practices as consumers.
An Eco-fan is someone who accepts all green design products on the current market or its related objectives. An eco-fan will usually buy anything that is environmentally friendly and will never buy a harmful product.
  • Eco-phobes actively resent talk of environmental protection
Eco-phobes are people who are against helping the environment and purposely go against the ecological movements. They believe that the environmental problems are irrelevant to their lives, and some even believe that it is a scam. There are many theories that eco-phobes believe are true against helping the environment, but many of these theories are skeptical and are suspicious of many people. An example of an eco-phobe is a head of a country refusing to sign the Kyoto agreement which is based on controlling the c02 output in a country and limit it in order to decrease global warming.


Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.

Images are clickable links to its location.

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Page last modified on February 11, 2014, at 09:40 PM