Much of the information related to material use (Life Cycle Analysis or LCA) is authored by scientists and incredibly complex for designers to evaluate, process and translate for implementation. While there are an abundance of materials databases and life cycle assessment methodologies for understanding our material impact, many strategies stay within the bounds of austere conservatism (use less) or are, frankly, overly scientifically complex and therefore difficult for designers and decision makers to navigate quickly and effectively. While this complex information is undoubtedly valuable in certain contexts, the proposed Online Material Catalog Interface aims to contribute an immediately comprehendible snapshot that links your use of a product to that product’s durability in the environment (whether in a landfill or within a recycling process). The Interface is intended as an interactive user’s manual for ecological impact in the choosing of materials – similar to the way we use nutrition labels to guide decisions about the make up of our diet. This proposal specifically covers the translation of this information into an interactive online system that could filter the abundance of LCA information for a specific user or application.
This project is being supported by a Professional Development Grant awarded by the California College of the Arts.