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Sustainable Minds Introduces First Web-based, On-demand Life Cycle Assessment Software for Greener Product Design

New offering educates and empowers product development organizations to design greener products from the start.

Published 10-27-09

Submitted by Sustainable Minds LLC

One of multiple results views, the scorecard provides a summary comparison view of the environmental impacts of the reference, or baseline concept, and a new product concept.

Sustainable Minds, a greener product design software and information services company, today announced the general release of Sustainable Minds 1.0, a comprehensive SaaS software and information service that enables companies to create more environmentally sustainable products. It integrates on-demand, Web-based software with educational content enabling users to apply ecodesign strategies to generate innovative and greener product concepts, and use life cycle assessment (LCA) to measure the potential environmental and human health impacts of the concepts, delivering quantified performance metrics to facilitate design decisions that support greener products.

It is designed for product designers, mechanical engineers, product managers, marketers and sustainability leads in manufacturing companies and consultancies, as well as educational institutions teaching product design, engineering and/or sustainable business.

"Sustainable Minds is leading the way in helping product designers understand and apply environmentally sustainable practices throughout the product design process," stated Jeff Salazar, Design Director, LUNAR. "This system is helping us achieve our mission to generate thoughtful product solutions that are not only engaging and beautiful, but just as importantly, consider their overall environmental impact in a meaningful way. Sustainable Minds is an indispensable tool that allows our design teams access to more valid and concrete information for critical decision making early in the design process."

"Sustainable Minds enables product development teams to operationalize greener product design processes, improve cycle time, and win new business with truly greener products," stated Terry Swack, Co-founder and CEO of Sustainable Minds, LLC. "Organizations can gain fast access to sustainability knowledge, which reduces the time and effort associated with training and acquiring ecodesign and LCA information from multiple, fragmented sources. The software provides real time analyses that allow users to make informed trade-offs between standard product design criteria such as performance, cost, and aesthetics, with environmental impact "“ well before product design is complete, and before changes are costly or impossible to make. Sustainable Minds release 1.0 will catalyze the way products are designed and made by helping to bring products to market with improved environmental performance. Organizations that figure this out now will certainly have a greater competitive advantage."

Comprehensive system
Sustainable Minds integrates three components in one system:

  • Life Cycle Assessment: Easy to use software enables rapid iteration and evaluation of product concepts "“ in a standardized and consistent way "“ in the earliest stages of design. It provides an alternative to full-scale LCA offerings that are costly, complex, time-consuming and difficult to use for evolving product concepts. Sustainable Minds LCA requires no LCA training or expertise. It produces compelling, graphic output for fast interpretation and communication.
  • Learning Center: A content-rich environment that provides information on environmental sustainability design practices (ecodesign) and LCA, in-context while users work on projects.
  • Community: A place to learn from, and connect with, professionals in manufacturing, consulting and education who are working to design greener products.

Works with or without CAD or PLM tools
Sustainable Minds is optimized for electro-mechanical products: household appliances, housewares, consumer electronics, industrial and commercial equipment, and outdoor and sporting equipment.

It is used to benchmark existing products, and then in all stages of concept design, from screening possible directions to explore, through comparing final design concepts. Free-standing software, not a plug-in, it can be used to assess the impacts from an existing product or a new product, before and while using CAD tools. It interoperates with any CAD or PLM system for easy import of bill of material (BOM) data "“ and is streamlined for BOM data import from Autodesk Inventor.

Unlike other new LCA software, Sustainable Minds can assess an entire product system, assemblies, sub-assemblies and parts. It models impacts in all life cycle stages: manufacturing (materials/processes), use, end of life and transportation. The standardized LCA process ensures ease of comparability of competing concepts, as well as different products. Extensive reporting capabilities make it easy to understand impacts from an existing or reference product, to then generate new product concepts that improve environmental performance.

The integrated Learning Center educates designers about ecodesign and life cycle assessment strategy, practice and methods. For those new to LCA, knowledge is delivered in-context, removing the need for up-front training or course work. LCA professionals can help design teams set up new projects based on full-scale LCA results, making the results more actionable and enabling them to provide expertise throughout the design process.

Okala 2009 Environmental Impact Assessment Methodology
Sustainable Minds uses the Okala Methodology. A comprehensive and transparent methodology, Okala 2009 evaluates 10 environmental impact categories:

  • Ecological damage: global warming/carbon footprint, acid rain, ecotoxicity, ozone depletion, water eutrophication
  • Human health damage: photochemical smog, human respiratory, human toxicity, and human carcinogens
  • Resource depletion: fossil fuel depletion

It includes 500+ impact factors plus their CO2 equivalent values. The science and data is from trusted sources including the US EPA and NIST. It is the first life cycle assessment methodology for evaluating ecological and human health impacts from products used in North America. Okala can also be used to assess products used in regions outside of Europe.

Sustainable Minds runs in Firefox 2 or higher and uses Flash 8 or higher. Also supported are Explorer 7 and Safari 2, Opera 9, Chrome 1 and higher, The BOM import template can interface with any CAD system from which data can be exported. All communication between Sustainable Minds application servers and the user environment are fully encrypted using 128 bit SSL.

Pricing and availability
Sustainable Minds release 1.0 is now available. Pricing is $700 for a single user annual subscription, and includes continuous software and data updates. Educational pricing is also available. A 30-day trial subscription is offered for new users:

For a full media version of this release please visit

About Sustainable Minds
Sustainable Minds, LLC is a greener product design software and information company dedicated to bringing environmentally sustainable product design into mainstream design and manufacturing in an understandable, empowering and credible way. The company has deep knowledge of product design, life cycle assessment and environmental systems design, Web-based business, software design and customer experience. Sustainable Minds is the first on-demand, early-stage design decision support software and information service that estimates a product’s potential life cycle environmental and human health impacts in a collaborative, learning work space. Customers include Yakima, Celestica, Whirlpool, Motorola, LUNAR, IDEO, Farm Design, Smart Design, Frog Design, MOTO Development Group, Pratt Institute and UCLA. In a Premier Strategic Relationship, Autodesk and Sustainable Minds are empowering companies to make more sustainable design decisions. With Inventor software for Digital Prototyping, Autodesk is helping take designers and engineers beyond 3D to address the most challenging environmental issues. More information about Sustainable Minds, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Cambridge Massachusetts, can be found at

Sustainable Minds LLC logo

Sustainable Minds LLC

Sustainable Minds LLC

Sustainable Minds' mission is to mainstream sustainable product design in an accessible, empowering and credible way. To do this, it has integrated deep knowledge of product design, life cycle assessment and environmental systems design with expertise in Web-based business, software design and customer experience. is the first on-demand, early-stage design decision support software and information services suite that estimates a product's potential life cycle environmental and human health impacts, in a collaborative, learning work space. Sustainable Minds is committed to helping create products that are environmentally beneficial, economically viable and socially and ethically equitable. More information about Sustainable Minds, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Cambridge Massachusetts, can be found at

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