In October 2014, the Design for Sustainability department of Delft University of Technology initiated an MSc graduation project, which aimed to improve the accessibility of eco-assessment by designers. A previous effort had already yielded the qualitative data for selecting materials with a low environmental impact, which was made freely available at www.ecocostsvalue.com in the form of Excel look-up tables.
Availability of data was only the first step, as designers and design students still struggled to find, select and use the desired data in the long list of entries. In order to take the accessibility of the dataset to the next level, extensive research was carried out – including interviews and feedback sessions with design professionals and design students. The underlying problems identified in this research formed the foundation on which the Idemat app was built.
The implementation of two impact indicators; eco-costs and carbon footprint, allows designers to express environmental impact in a format that is easy to understand and communicate. A guiding navigational structure, integrated end-of-life scenarios and a highly visual experience empower designers to select, get inspired and act on the presented data, as opposed to getting lost in an infinite amount of information.
Now, exactly one year following the start of this project, the Idemat app has launched on the App Store. Featuring over 700 unique entries, it can be a valuable asset to designers that want to reduce the environmental burden of their products. Idemat provides the means.. and now it’s up to you to act!