Promoting sustainability

through research and education...

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The UWME Design for Environment Lab promotes Sustainability and Design for Environment (DFE) through the advancement of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Industrial Ecology (IE).

Life Cycle Assessment Data

Accessibility to LCA data, e.g., for Product Category Rules (PCRs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), is improving in large part due to national database development efforts.

USDA LCA Digital Commons

Open source data, like that in the USDA LCA Digital Commons, promise more transparency for LCAs. Features include data parameterization and extended meta data.

Design for Environment Courses

In ME515 Life Cycle Assessment, Beren Landaas Wells McKay presented this photo as part of his LCA of photography.  Visit the "Salmon Waves" sculpture at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

themed object

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington


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ME415 Sustainability and Design for Environment

Colisted as ENVIR 415 and CEE 495

Instructor: Professor Joyce Smith Cooper (


Sustainability describes industrial development and supporting technologies that meet the needs of the present while sustaining the quality of the environment so that future generations may meet their own needs. Related engineering efforts that incorporate the consideration of sustainability into product and process design are called Design for Environment (DFE). DFE promotes pollution prevention, resource conservation, and extended product responsibility by including their consideration within concurrent engineering design. Trends within this emerging area of research and business practice include industrial environmental management standards, life cycle partnerships, product takeback, and environmental declarations (annual environmental reports, ecolabels/ product category rules, etc.).

This course uses DFE to introduce students to the concepts and methodologies of sustainability, industrial ecology, pollution prevention, and Life Cycle Assessment within the context of system design and examines the practice of, opportunities for, and the role of the engineer in DFE. Students work in teams that prepare a design project proposal, midterm inventory report, and a final impact analysis with recommendations for improvement.

This class was featured on the Seattle Channel, Sustainable By Design: New School Engineering

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