welcome to the green-EE page!

A directory of resources for building helpful electronics in a sustainable, ethical, and thoughtful way.
A starting point – not exhaustive.
Submit links here!

Questions to address:

  • What impact can we individuals actually have?
  • Why am I building a new thing?
  • What sustainable materials, processes, power sources, and so forth can I use in my project?
  • If I have a hardware business, how can I run that sustainably – from the website to the packaging and shipping?
  • How can we employ Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle (and even Rot!) to reduce waste and environmental damage?
  • How can I use my skills and passion to help solve big problems (even in little chunks)?

Building and shipping hardware

Design

Materials

Physical design

What can you change about your device to make it integrate better with the environment?

Power

  • Sources
  • Better batteries
    • LiFePO4: Less-harmful batteries, with fewer conflict minerals (as seen in the MNT Reform)
    • Replaceable batteries extend the life of each product
    • Lithium battery recycling is becoming an option – good to look into if you plan on using this type of batteries
  • Time on grid
    • Energy Upgrade California: "From 4 to 9PM, energy demand is high, and less wind and solar power is available. By using less electricity during these hours, you can ensure that your energy is coming from cleaner sources."
      • Can you design or program your product to optimize energy usage around specific times of day, or availability of sustainable energy sources?
      • Charge during off-hours, then run off the battery during peak usage hours?

Repairability / Extending your product's lifespan

Everything designed for repair is also designed for learning!

Afterparty

Revive existing tech, rather than throwing it out – or adapt it, instead of building a Whole New Thing
  • With hardware, like...
  • With software, like...
    • Rebble – indie replacement for the retired Pebble Watch infrastructure
  • By repurposing, like...
    • Wearable PCBs – circuit boards that also work as attractive earrings / key fobs / art objects, if they become obsolete/nonfunctional (or if prototypes don't work)
    • XY plotters from old disk drives
  • Reclamation

Bonus: Open design & manufacturing options

Better access, more repairability! ✨
  • PCB design
  • 3D modeling
  • 3D printers
    • Lulzbot – repair service, lots of tutorials, 3D-printable replacement parts!
    • Prusa
  • Pick'n'place assembly
    • OpenPNP
    • LumenPNP
    • Pixel Pump: "An open source manual pick and place machine for PCB artisans" (cool vacuum pen with foot pedal)
  • To be added: Leon Anavi's talk on this subject from Open Hardware Summit '22

Business

Selling

Packaging + shipping

Logistics

  • Travel
    • Expense carbon offsets for your work travel! (Look into local options first)
    • Choose the most carbon-efficient options for your route (carbon calculator, BetterWay visualization). Sometimes there's a train! Sometimes flying is actually better than driving alone.
    • Virtual events, telepresence, and remote work where possible
  • Solar-powered office? – Highly-rated solar power tutorial
  • More sustainable website options
  • Sustainable snacks! Try fueling your work with cricket protein bars, like EXO or BugOut
  • Team building? Look up local Fixit Clinics / Repair Cafés: meetups where people are invited to bring broken appliances, and volunteers will help fix them

Project inspiration

Hack the future! How can you apply your passions to real-world issues? What problems do have technological solutions? Some ideas to get the creativity flowing...

Hardware platforms

Existing resources for developing/deploying your own sustainability-focused hardware:
  • FieldKit: Open source hardware AND software tools for field research / citizen science and sharing data
  • Microsoft Project 15: Open platform for conservation and ecological sustainability solutions
  • ROS – Robot Operating System – not sustainability-focused, but an open and adaptable set of resources for robotics

Certifications / guidelines

More resources