Sustainable Design Awards Toolkit

Section 4.6 - Innovative redesign

"Extract what's positive from the past and turn it into something sustainable for the future."
Redesign - Sustainability in New British Design, Michael Evamy (The British Council, 001)
As designers we have a responsibility to aim to achieve sustainability by reducing demand for energy and natural resources. The products in this section all have achieved this to some degree and therefore should all be used as inspiration for your future design work in years to come.
The Remarkable Pencil Factory - web page Britain throws away 4billion plastic cups every year, enough to form a loop around the world 12 times! With this in mind Edward Douglas Miller and his company 'Remarkable' ( set out to sustain a longer lifespan for the plastic cup in the age of Victor Papenek's so called 'Kleenex Culture'. A product's life does not have to finish as a raw material, Remarkable have proved that w practical and profitable to give a second life to many products that would be previously thrown away after a fairly non-efficient life. They took the discarded plastic cup and turned it into a pencil. They now produce over a million per year. This saves on rubbish in landfill sites and saves trees. Remarkable are even turning car tyres into notepads and mouse-mats, pencil cases and milk cartons into pens! For more information you can check out the Remarkable website at the above address.

In the last few years it has become increasingly necessary to use products or sources available to produce better products in every sense. Sutton Vane Associates ( have produced a unique 'Tsola light' that does not deal in wires and dangerous mains voltage but simply runs from daylight that is collected by its own internal solar cell, which is then converted to electricity. The light automatically switches on at dusk and off again at dawn, by recycling daylight as an artificial light, SVA's product costs nothing to run and more importantly saves energy. Sutton Vane Associates - Tsola light web page
Studio E and Akeler's Solar Office with a South-facing wall with a photovoltaic integrated facade
SVA are also working on a development in Sunderland that illustrates how solar power can be integrated into office architecture to take advantage of solar energy in Britain. The idea is based around minimizing heat losses, using the ing's mass to control the temperatures, use natural ventilation, save energy consumption by maximizing natural daylight and producing energy by using PV in the facades. Studio E and Akeler's Solar Office includes a South-facing wall that features a photovoltaic integrated facade. 45,000 cells together produce 73kW, that's enough to run 300 PC's! Further information on SVA's projects can be found at:
Over 18,000 new airliners will be needed in the next 20 years such is the demand on aircrafts at present. If the majority of those are fitted with Rolls-Royce's Trent engine then the skies will be a lot cleaner and a lot quieter. The Trent engines are low on emissions, low on noise and low on fuel consumption and so can be seen as the current benchmark for new aircraft to follow. It includes a unique three-shaft design that uses the latest in materials technology, infact the Trent engine goes much further than current and proposed legislation. It's lighter in weight and uses less fuel, therefore surprise that in February of 2001 it had around 30 customers ordering 12 billion worth of 1400 Trent engines! It only takes a breakthrough in one field like this to make other companies and their designers sit up and take notice, perhaps following suit. More information on the 1400 Trent engine and Rolls-Royce's latest strides forward in more sustainable transport can be found at: Rolls Royce's web page

Baltic - The Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead can be seen as yet another example of where a previous design, in this case an old 1950s industrial ing, has been given another life. Opening in 2002, the former Baltic Flour Mill, used for grain storage, occupied an unused prime spot on the south bank of the Tyne River. 46m has been spent regenerating its use and is now one of the largest temporary art spaces in Europe. The Baltic will not hold a permanent collection but instead will house invited artists' collections in a constantly changing medium. The reopening of the Baltic will see not only job opportunities created on the social side, but also energy consumption will be kept to a minimum with its own energy centre that will convert its own natural gases into heating and electricity for the ing. More information on this can be found on either: or via

Inspirational Current Work
4.1 Inspiration
4.2 Alternative energy sources
4.3 Alternative materials in products
4.4 Efficient products
4.5 Design for disassembly
4.6 Innovative redesign
4.7 Transportation visions
4.8 Changing design perspectives
Toolkit Index
Section 1.
Sustainability Issues
Section 2.
Companies and Products
Section 3.
Ecodesign Tools
Section 4.
Inspirational current work

Biodegradable products containing Mater-Bi polymers

Photograph of a hand with the sun behind