Life Cycle Assessment enables smarter design
The Wish List Making Week is upon us. The designers have descended into the Benchmark workshops. Their tents are pitched, and with only five days to make from scratch their designed object, the clock is ticking.
It will be an extraordinary week of intense making, and at the end of each day, designers will be pinned down by Sean to collect data from the day’s manufacturing process. Taking into account the time spent on each machine, and the amount of material used, this data will be formed into Life Cycle Assessment.
This is the second year that Benchmark has been involved in this ground-breaking scientific tool, which allows us to understand the environmental impacts of furniture making. It provides hard facts that will change the way the next generation of designers think and how they approach the creative process.
Developed for the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) by industry experts PE International, LCA looks at impacts from harvest through to the manufacturing process. It addresses the harvesting, sawing, kiln drying, manufacture of end product, waste, use through to end of life. LCA provides quantitative data on Global Warming Potential, Acidification Potential, Eutrophication Potential, Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential, and Ozone Depletion Potential.
During last year’s project with AHEC and the RCA Out of the Woods, Tord Boontje, former Professor and Head of Design Products RCA commented “As good craft teaches us, ideas change and adapt once we start touching the materials and tools’. Making allows you to understand how a material will react, but moreover the implications of your design on the environment.”
Here at Benchmark, we do business sustainably. We care about what we make and how we make it. From the raw timber, entering the workshop, to the finished piece of furniture, we are in control of every step of the process. We’re fascinated by LCA, which enables us to evaluate the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of our furniture. It’s rigorous analysis based on reliable data empowering the next generation of designers to act responsibly and to design smarter.