Introduction• Most of us are aware that we must look after our environment or we maybe leaving a lot of problems for future generation.• For example we should not waste materials or energy. We should also recycle things like paper, drink cans and other materials• However, there is much more we can do to protect and preserve our environment.
What is Sustainability?• Sustainability is about preserving the Earths natural resources.• It is about using these resources carefully so that they will be available for generations to come. You can help to preserve the• Earths resources when designing products by considering: – materials usage – production methods – after-use disposal
Material Usage• The source of most of the materials we use today comes from nature. Some sources are: – trees, which we can obtain wood from – ores, which we can extract metals from – oil , which we can use to make plastics• Some sources have taken millions of years to develop and cannot be renewed once they are used up. Thus, you must be conscious of the materials you choose and use to help in preserving the Earths resources.
Recycled Materials• Making new products from used materials is called recycling.• Designers often choose recycled materials for new products so that the Earths resources are preserved.
Renewable Sources• Exotic wood , like rosewood and teak, may look good but the trees that produce them are in danger of becoming extinct. Thus, designers nowadays avoid using rare and exotic woods.• Some wood come from trees that are common and grow quickly. These trees are renewable source of wood. This means that new wood is “grown” at the same rate or faster than it is being used.
Biodegradable Materials• Some materials are designed to break down safely into the raw materials of nature when they are left out in the open. These are called biodegradable materials.• Products made from these materials eventually disintegrate and pose less litter problems.
Production Method• During the manufacture of some materials like metals and plastics, harmful substances can sometimes be released into the environment.• Many countries have legislation to minimise these emissions. Therefore, designers should focus on ideas and products that require less harmful chemicals and processes in making them. They should also design products with energy conservation in mind.
Minimise Pollution• Many factories use machines powered by fossil fuels such as coal , oil or gas. These fuels can produce harmful gases and chemicals that pollute the environment.• Scientists believe that the use of fossil fuels is partly to blame for global warming. The gases produced trap the suns energy like a big greenhouse, heating up the Earth .• As the temperature of the Earth increases, this alters the weather patterns or climate. Some parts of the world are getting much more rain than ever before, while other parts are becoming drier.
Use Clean Energy• To help reduce global warming, we need to use alternatives to fossil fuels. Natural energy is one alternative that does not produce harmful gases or chemicals and is safe for the environment. It is also known as clean energy.• Some machines are powered by clean energy. In some countries, windmills make use of wind power to grind flour and water wheels make use of energy from running water to power machines in textile mills.• Vehicles powered by clean energy are becoming popular. Instead of using petroleum, these green cars are powered by clean energy source such as hydrogen, thus producing little or 110 harmful exhaust gases.
Use Renewable Energy• Fossil fuels are not renewable; once they are used, they will be gone forever. Some energy sources will always be available; they are called renewable energy sources. Examples of renewable energy are energy from the Sun and wind.• Energy from the Sun is called solar energy. Solar energy is converted into electricity using a solar panel.• Solar panels work in all kinds of conditions (from cloudy skies to bright sunshine) as long as there is sunlight. So, in order to have electricity available at night, the energy from the Sun must be stored during the day. The usual storage device is a rechargeable battery.
Energy from the Wind• Energy from the wind is converted into electricity by a wind turbine.• The wind turbine is a tall tower with a large propeller on the top .• Large wind turbines can power our homes and factories
Reducing Waste• You can do your bit to preserve resources by salvaging parts from• old products, such as wood from furniture or motors from old toys for• your projects.• Some products are now designed in reusable packaging to cut down• on waste. The refills use less material than the original product.
Reducing Waste• Another way to conserve the Earths resources is by reducing wastage during the manufacture of products. You can avoid wastage by: – setting out clear material specifications – marking out materials carefully – using off-cuts of materials or using reclaimed materials where possible• For example, at your school workshop, you should mark out your materials carefully before cutting them. This will reduce material wastage.
After-use Disposal• You must be conscientious in the way you dispose of materials as it will affect the environment.• As mentioned in the previous section, products made from biodegradable materials would not cause litter problem. Also, products that are reusable or refillable help minimise the problem of litter.
Recycling• When you no longer need a product, recycle it instead of just throwing it away. In this way, the materials can be used again to make other products. There are recycling bins in many places for different materials to make it convenient for you to recycle things.