Which widget is greener? Software will make sustainable design simpler

Autodesk and Granta Design are partnering to make it easier for designers to evaluate the sustainability of materials and components.

If you want to know which material or component would be the most sustainable choice for a new (or, heck, old) product, you might be interested to hear that design software giant Autodesk is teaming up with Granta Design to make it easier to research this information.

Under a new partnership between the two companies, Granta and Autodesk are developing design software that will integrate eco design best practices into Autodesk's traditional sofware products. Notably, the Autodesk Digital Prototyping application. The companies claim that up to 80 percent of a product's environmental footprint can be influenced by decisions made at this phase of development.

Granta was started about 16 years ago as a project at the University of Cambridge and it is self-described as the largest information technology company in the world focused on material information and selection. It is also a resource for the various laws (and emerging) regulating these choices.

So, not only will manufacturers be able to research which material is the most cost-effective choices for a given product, they will also be able to see how that choice rates from an environmental standpoint. Says Autodesk Senior Vice President Robert Kross: "We believe that companies of all sizes--not just large enterprises--deserve ready access to this information, and our partnership with Granta will help delive that capability to Autodesk customers worldwide."

The two companies don't say WHEN the software will be available, but given Autodesk's track record in encouraging cleantech and sustainable design, I would be willing to bet that this is an urgent priority. If your organization is using any of its software for creation and prototyping, watch this space.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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