Swapping in Greener Materials
Goal: Substitute materials to make your product greener.
Whether you’re using new exotic materials or standard materials, replacing high-environmental-impact materials with greener ones can help. To intelligently swap out materials, identify the whole system’s biggest impacts, as well as identifying high-environmental-impact materials, and brainstorm how to improve both by substituting different materials. Remember, as described in the main Materials page, it’s the impact of the whole system that matters.
Ironically, your analysis might lead you to swap in an environmentally “worse” material for one part to improve the overall system’s impact the most. For example, carbon fiber causes higher impacts than steel during manufacture, but for a car chassis, carbon fiber’s lower weight improves gas mileage, which causes much more benefit over the car’s lifetime.