Friday, September 25, 2009

SGIA's 4 Step Sustainability Action Plan

Have you seen the SGIA's new 4 Step Sustainability Action Plan? The plan is designed to help companies become sustainable by following four steps: Plan, Do, Check, Act. Each step includes things like environmental checklists and energy audit worksheets.

This is a pretty interesting and in-depth action plan, one that is worth taking a look at if you haven't already.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment
by Naomi Pearson

Life Cycle Assessment is a methodology for evaluating the environmental impact of the materials and processes used during the following stages: extraction or harvesting of raw materials through processing, manufacture, installation, use, and ultimate disposal or recycling. The EPA defines the exercise of LCA as follows: LCA is a technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service, by:

• compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases;
• evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases;
• interpreting the results to help you make a more informed decision.

Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, has emerged as a highly effective method for designers and manufacturers measuring environmental impact. For example, the U.S. Green Building Council has taken steps to incorporate LCA thinking into LEED standards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards, recommends LCA principals for environmental management. LCA software such as Okala by Sustainable Minds and SimaPro and are now available for use by Industrial Designers. The Environmental Graphic Design field also benefits by applying LCA methodologies in order to make environmentally preferable design and fabrication decisions.

While LCA is a practice that can be applied universally to all design fields, there is a specific set of LCA associated considerations for those in the Environmental Graphic Design field. Signage longevity is a consideration relating to the "disposal or recycling" stage of LCA. As discussed in the SEGD Green Paper, longevity is a key environmental factor because the lifespan of environmental graphics tends to vary from a few days to 50 years. A short life span is best served by a sustainable plan for disposal or recycling of signage components. Another LCA stage with specific considerations for signage is the "use" stage. "Use" represents energy used during the lifetime of a product or service. In some signage cases, the type of lighting and/or electronic component determines how much energy will be used. Strategies for minimizing the amount of energy used over time are to be considered. These are just 2 examples of how looking at Life Cycle Assessment stages can be used to break down, better understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of what we produce. With further analysis, LCA becomes a valuable tool for the Environmental Graphic Design field.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eco-Friendly Ink

There is an article about eco-friendly ink in the September issues of Digital Output. The article is titled Running the Green Gamut and is the first of a 4 part series that talks about the green aspects of different types of digital inks.

CLICK HERE to read.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Air Quality in Schools

I just received another newsletter for GreenGuard talking about the growing importance of indoor air quality in schools. Minimizing the air pollutants and VOC's in schools is major factor in LEED for Schools and is being talked about more and more everyday.

Improving the air quality of a school is undoubtedly beneficial to the students and faculty. Most of the current focus regarding air quality revolves around the materials and coating that are being put into schools.

This raises the question to those of us who are designing and fabricating signage for schools; are we looking at creating better signage and wayfinding solutions which match the evolving needs for greener and healthier schools? I have not seen any systems or designs in our industry that are focusing on this issue. One may say that this is an opportunity to distinguish ones self or firm by taking a proactive approach to a main stream issue in green building.

We all know by now that there are very few green things that directly focus on signage and EGD. Air quality improvement in schools should be seen as a challenge and opportunity for us.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Green Design with Life Cycle in Mind

The Green Design with Life Cycle in Mind manifesto was recently posted on The Manifesto outlines a method for integrating Life Cycle Thinking into the Product Development Process.

Follow this link to view

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Coffee Ink

Have you heard of the RiTi Printer that uses coffee grinds as ink?

Earlier this year at The Greener Gadgets Conference in NYC the concept of the RiTi Printer was introduced. Follow this link to see more

Although this printer may have it's draw backs, like having to manually move the print head, the concept is very interesting (especially since most of us drink too much coffee as it is). Although the world of EGD may not be ready for a manual, non-electric printer limited to one color - coffee, you have to admit that the concept gets you excited for what the future has to offer.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

LEED and Your EGD Strategy Teleconference

SEGD Teleconference
September 10, 2009 1:00pm EST
(Course lasts 80-90 minutes)

Designers, fabricators, and manufacturers all face the same question when it comes to green products and projects: What does certification mean? This course will provide an overview of LEED and of other green certifications, resources for products and projects, and strategies for utilizing certifications.

Speakers: Dawn Craft, ASI; Danny Schneider, Vista System; Naomi Pearson; Michael Santos, Nova Polymers; David Miller, Nova Polymers

Member Price $40
Non-member Price $120
Click here to register.

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EcoRite at NBM Show

Last week I walked the NBM trade show in Baltimore. Every year or so I like to walk this show to see if there are any new and interesting products on the market. Since the NBM Show covers screen printing, apparel, digital graphics, signs and awards/engraving, I thought I may see a few things worthwhile.

Unfortunately, there were few companies that exhibited and even fewer that had anything interesting to offer. I did however talk to a company called EcoRite Imaging who sells a variety of so called eco-friendly substrates that are worth taking a look at They have 3 different products lines which are biodegradable plastics engineered to attract microbes that efficiently break down the polymers.

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