How "Sustainability" is Changing How We Make and Choose Products

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What does Sustainability mean, and why should people in the thermophysical properties business care? This paper will describe sustainability in the context of product development, which is where much of the buzz is currently being generated. Once described, it will discuss how expectations for Sustainability are changing product lines, and then discuss the controversial issues now emerging from trying to measure Sustainability. One of the most organized efforts in the U.S. is the U.S. Green Building Council revolutionizing how the built environment is conceptualized, designed, built, used, and disposed of - and born again. The appeal of the US Green ... continued below

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O'Brien, Cheryl July 1, 2006.

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Description

What does Sustainability mean, and why should people in the thermophysical properties business care? This paper will describe sustainability in the context of product development, which is where much of the buzz is currently being generated. Once described, it will discuss how expectations for Sustainability are changing product lines, and then discuss the controversial issues now emerging from trying to measure Sustainability. One of the most organized efforts in the U.S. is the U.S. Green Building Council revolutionizing how the built environment is conceptualized, designed, built, used, and disposed of - and born again. The appeal of the US Green Building Council is that it has managed to checklist how to "do" Sustainability. By following this checklist, better described as a rating system, a more Sustainable product should be achieved. That is, a product that uses less energy, less water, is less noxious to the user, and consumes fewer resources. We care because these Sustainable products are viewed as preferable by a growing number of consumers and, consequently, are more valuable. One of the most interesting aspects of the Sustainability movement is a quantitative assessment of how sustainable a product is. Life Cycle Assessment techniques (not to be confused with life cycle economic costs) developed since the early 1990s are gaining ground as a less biased method to measure the ultimate "bad" consequences of creating a product (depletion of natural resources, nutrification, acid rain, air borne particulates, solid waste, etc.). For example, one assertion is that these studies have shown that recycling can sometimes do more environmental harm than good.

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  • 16th Symposium on Thermophysical Properties ,Boulder, CO,07/30/2006,08/04/2006

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-06-11291
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911657
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc889761

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 1, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 15, 2016, 3:03 p.m.

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O'Brien, Cheryl. How "Sustainability" is Changing How We Make and Choose Products, article, July 1, 2006; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc889761/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.