What is the Virtual Design Lab?

This practicum is designed to allow participants to dive deep into the biomimicry tools and resources presented during the program and to apply them selectively to a specific and unique opportunity of the student’s choosing. Projects have a meaningful outcome achievable within the semester, and engage the scoping, discovering, creating and evaluating phases of biomimicry thinking. Deliverables are milestone based, and the final deliverable has an application in a real-world setting.

Biomimicry & Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

This case study describes the use of a sustainability approach using life cycle assessment (LCA) and Biomimicry in tandem. Biomimicry is often referred to as the “conscious emulation of life’s genius” in order to solve human design and engineering challenges[1]. This project focuses on the emulation aspect of the tenets of Biomimicry, which emphasizes integrating biological knowledge at the form, process, and system levels into design and engineering by identifying biological strategies and mechanisms that have evolved to survive the test of time. Printing and writing paper product life cycles are highlighted as an example to demonstrate the utility of using the tandem approach to open the design space at LCA hotspots. The combined value of these eco-design tools has the potential to revolutionize how industry, analysts, and policymakers address our relationship with the built and natural environment. The quantitative value of LCA helps to make substantive assessments and measurements, while the Biomimicry approach reconnects our vision of our built environment and its place within the rest of the biosphere. It is the presenter’s hope that the amalgam can help humans raise the “sustainability” bar to not only endeavor to sustain human life but to create systems that, in the words of Biomimicry specialists, “create conditions conducive to [all] life” (Benyus 1997).

[1] Benyus J (1997). Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, BIOMIMICRY © 1997 by Janine M. Benyus, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., New York, 1997.

Video Summary & Webinar

Please see this 10-minute summary of the project:

Enhanced Sustainability

We provide Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) & Sustainability Consulting Services.

By combining LCA with Biomimicry we help organizations raise the sustainability bar.

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