For professionals today, digital design is an integral part of incorporating green techniques into existing projects. Engineers, architects, and manufacturing professionals can all benefit from digital design and the utility of CAD drawings. Whether a recent graduate or an experienced engineer, digital design helps promote the fundamentals of sustainable solutions.
New regulations and greater environmental awareness are advancing the need for green initiatives and sustainable design. More and more government and private contracts require sustainable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, and reduce environmental impact. New legislation and existing agencies, such as the LEED certification program, are being used as benchmarks for what defines sustainable design for industrial products and building projects.
Defining The Impact Of Sustainable Design
Every improvement in production, from industrial products to entire buildings, requires a metric to quantify the benefits of innovation. Many agencies and legislators are turning towards carbon footprint as an accessible metric for evaluating green proposals. Carbon footprint is defined as the total greenhouse gases emitted as a result of the manufacture of industrial products, constructing and maintaining structures, or any other industrial activity.
Carbon footprint takes into account all uses of energy and materials for a given process and equates that into an amount of emitted greenhouse gases. Every stage of design and manufacturing is taken into account. For example, the energy and cost required to harvest natural resources, process them into building materials, and transport them to a construction site are all components of a carbon footprint. Operational costs are also included, such as electricity or fuel spent for operating equipment, heating or cooling a building, along with water and sewage needs. In this way, every improvement to a project can be quantified, as materials and energy are conserved.
Understanding carbon footprint gives professionals a focal point for their designs. Integrating these points with digital design and CAD drawings is the most effective way to satisfy sustainable initiatives.
CAD Drawings And Digital Design
Software and digital resources are perfectly tailored for integrating new manufacturing and building techniques with environmental concerns. CAD drawings provide a virtual environment for experimentation and analysis while creating a foundation for eventual fabrication and construction. Sustainability centers on the key concepts of material optimization, material selection, and energy efficiency.
Material optimization is a technique for reducing material needs in industrial products and architectural projects. For example, injection molding simulations can be performed to optimize mold parts in order to reduce the total amount of material needed without compromising function. Industrial products that can be made with less material have a huge impact on carbon footprint, saving both materials and energy.
The choice of materials to use is also an important element when considering green initiatives. CAD drawings allow for comprehensive simulations in a virtual environment to choose alternate materials that still meet specifications. In this way, less energy intensive or locally available materials can be used for environmentally conscious production.
There are a number of modules that can be utilized with CAD drawings for energy efficiency and optimization. Electrical components can be optimized for efficient use in any system in this manner. There are also environmental lifecycle assessment modules that provide a total analysis on every design decision.
CAD Drawings To Completed Project
Digital blueprints are much more than just information in a computer. They can be used to run computer numerical control fabrication systems for industrial products. Fully detailed, three dimensional schematics can be created as architectural design documents. The information then becomes the foundation for document and revision control along with implementing cradle to grave and end of life provisions.
In addition, all of these concepts come into play at multiple points during any point in a project’s lifecycle. Software suites and applications can help make decisions for building projects and the efficient use of water, energy, materials and land.
Reducing waste should be at the forefront of every decision made. Every building material that ends up in a landfill has a huge carbon footprint, from its manufacturing and shipping, that is wasted. Precise designs that minimize waste are essential, as are using local supply sources, even if it means altering the overall project. Software suites can help make these decisions easier with powerful analytic tools integrated with CAD drawings.
At the end of a project, every good decision helps to reduce carbon footprint for a greener solution.