"Making", an app for sustainable materials

“Making”, an app for sustainable materials

Materiality is a matter of choice, and this choice should be made with conscience, thinking about the impact our decisions make towards the environment. Material selection for construction is most of the time tied to budget, something for which we need to work on when selecting our suppliers with the help of a little further analysis on their sustainability.

Nike has developed a tool for comparing materials while learning about sustainability with an array of categories. Making, is the name of this cool app, designed for materials lovers, innovators and designers for better choice-making, with specific information obtained from Nike’s very own Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) database.

While using the app,  you can understand: how much waste it creates, how much energy its production require, as well as greenhouse gases it emits. The amount of chemicals in its composition and how efficient is the material on its water use, discharge and recycling, and how its productivity/efficiency is on land use for the production of the material. Which are recyclable and organic and a list of materials for footwear and apparel, are categories also listed on the app.

Materials in comparison, are displayed with a compilation of qualities regarding the previous mentioned sustainability points. As shown on the snapshot below, and according to Nike’s MSI database, rubber natural latex is considered the #1 sustainable material with a  41.1 rating from the list of materials they have as for today. The least sustainable material is Spandex, showing 13.9 rating on sustainability.

The app lists 44 materials which can be rearranged according to sustainable points including organics, fabrics and shoe wear, but clearly their research incorporates much more than that amount. Inside the app and upon selection of a specific material, looking up to its water use for example, it can be compared to similar materials in order to help you choose the best one. The app aids on deciding the best material under its classification and challenging our decisions upon what is best according to budget.

Taking Hemp for example, a plant with an array of uses and highly important organic material, is here compared to Jute, a plant very similar, because of its fibrous characteristics; hemp surpasses it displaying better sustainability and again, according to Nike’s MSI data. Upon choosing between these plants, maybe accessibility to hemp could be more complicated than jute, and therefore the least sustainable might be used. For your convenience view here this list to verify in-depth the precision of this database. On february 2014, Nike joined Ford to create this big data in order to upgrade their products with better sustainability and Nike is also a serious part of Material Connexion’s clientele, an extensive library of materials. Find more about this sustainable collaboration news here, and about Ford’s materials here.

Unfortunately, the app only displays materials for apparel, shoe-wear, and product design, only a little few are applied into the world of construction, but I bet they are still working on upgrading it to possibly include more from their MSI. Still, go ahead and download the app and play around selecting materials you’re already thinking about using. Compare them, make sustainable choices. From now on, INmatteria will be incorporating results for articles using materials listed here and getting more sustainable choices with this great resource.



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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.