Product designers around the world are becoming more aware of their ability to make a positive impact on the environment. When you consider that hundreds or thousands of units of any single product may be used for decades, it’s easy to see how one small design decision can drive a real and scalable impact on the future of the planet.
As this awareness grows, giving every product designer the ability to consider the environment with every design becomes increasingly important. The occasion of Earth Day offers designers a chance to pause and reflect on the choices they make. Observed since 1970, Earth Day is intended to help inspire appreciation and understanding of the planet’s natural environment, and is now celebrated in over 175 countries every year.
To mark the occasion, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. is announcing the launch of a new Green Design Contest. Every SolidWorks® software user around the globe is invited to demonstrate his or her creativity and consideration for the Earth by re-designing one of the world’s most ubiquitous objects—the airport terminal chair.
“Imagine a five percent reduction in the environmental impact of a chair at every stage of its lifecycle—from raw materials through manufacturing, distribution, use, disposal, and recycling,” said Asheen Phansey, product manager for SolidWorks Sustainability. “Considering the rows upon rows of chairs you see at an airport terminal, you’re starting to talk about a compounding benefit. Now expand that idea to other products. If we can use sustainable design for every product that’s made, designers and engineers can drastically improve the environmental footprint of their designs and truly enrich the planet.”The contest requires contestants to use SolidWorks CAD to design a lower-impact chair, which can be mass produced for the terminals of a fictitious new green airline. In addition to delivering a SolidWorks model, the contestant must include a report from SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress, the environmental impact assessment software included with every license of SolidWorks CAD software. SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress measures carbon footprint, air and water impacts, and energy consumption through every stage of a product’s lifecycle. The designer must also analyze the model with SolidWorks SimulationXpress, a first-pass analysis tool included with SolidWorks CAD which allows users to quickly determine the effects of force and pressure, and generate reports to document results. A panel of industry experts will judge the designs based on sustainability, aesthetics, creativity, and manufacturability. The judging panel consists of: Al Dean, Editor-in-Chief of Develop3D and Develop3D Sustainability magazines; Josh Mings, editor of the popular SolidSmack blog; Solomon Diamond, Assistant Professor, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College; and Mark Buckley, Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Staples Inc.; as well as SolidWorks software experts: Stephen Endersby, Simulation Product Manager; Asheen Phansey, Sustainability Product Manager, and Rick Chin, Director of Product Innovation. There are separate categories for commercial designers, students, and SolidWorks resellers. The Grand Prize in the commercial category is a trip for two to Chaa Creek rainforest eco-resort in Belize. The first and second-place winners in the student category will each receive a trip for two to SolidWorks World 2012 in San Diego, with the first-place winner also receiving a new Apple® iPad® 2 device. In each of these categories, DS SolidWorks will give away five additional iPad 2 devices to runners-up, and SolidWorks “goody bags” to 20 honorable mention winners. DS SolidWorks will also award iPad 2 devices for the leading designs submitted by reseller employees. The Green Design Contest runs through midnight EDT on June 30, 2011. More details about the contest can be found at http://www.solidworks.com/sw/products/green-design-contest.htm. Explaining the contest, Asheen Phansey states, “The goal is to raise the consciousness of every designer and engineer regarding sustainable design, and show how easy it can be with the right tools. You don’t always need to make sacrifices to advance sustainability—you can make a product that’s greener, and still functional and beautiful.”