Home » What is and how to use SolidWorks Sustainability?

When creating a model, you must consider various non-design goals, such as the product’s environmental impact. Like quality, speed to market, and cost, sustainable design will soon determine how engineers approach almost every product they produce. Product selection based on carbon profile will be as crucial as design validation. Understanding how to use SolidWorks sustainability can help you understand how different design methods affect the total environmental effect of a product. You may utilize SolidWorks sustainability analysis to make better-educated decisions about what materials to employ and how material sourcing, manufacture, use, and disposal will affect your product’s life cycle before production starts.

What Is SolidWorks Sustainability


SolidWorks Sustainability is a tool built into SolidWorks that analyzes the ecological footprint of our designs and delivers a screening-level life cycle assessment (LCA) of the environmental consequences of your entire design, all while seamlessly integrating into your design process. We utilize natural resources and impact the world around us as we create, manufacture, and deliver our products. Understanding the significance of this impact can be difficult, but it is critical. We may acquire this understanding concurrently with the design process using SolidWorks Sustainability. The software generates rapid feedback using industry-standard life cycle assessment (LCA) criteria at a tenth of the time and cost of a routine inspection. Environmental evaluation can minimize your products’ total cost of ownership (TCO) by examining potential transportation, consumption, and disposal implications, in addition to assisting you in lowering production costs and developing greener products.

It combines the multiple tools of Sustainability Xpress (parts assessment, alternative raw material search, and environmental impact dashboard). It can evaluate parts and assemblies’ designs using parameters such as transportation mode, assembly energy, and use-phase energy consumption. More extensive assessments are enabled by flexible inputs such as recycled content level and end-of-life scenarios. You may even undertake time-dependent environmental comparisons using the various lifespans of different design solutions.

How to Use SolidWorks Sustainability 

SolidWorks Sustainability makes sustainable design easier by seamlessly combining product design with the power of life cycle evaluation (LCA). As a result, a whole picture of how different design methods may affect a product’s overall environmental impact is provided. To learn how to use SolidWorks sustainability, you must first comprehend its capabilities.

Step 1: You may start working with sustainability by clicking on the Tools toolbar or Evaluate CommandManager tab or selecting Tools and going to SolidWorks Applications. Select Sustainability.

SolidWorks Sustainability uses the environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) framework. An LCA assesses a product’s resource consumption, transportation, energy, and trash creation throughout the five stages of its life. These stages are as follows: extraction of raw materials, material preparation, manufacturing/assembly, product use, and end-of-life (EOL).

Step 2: The product’s material is one of the initial inputs you can make into the software. Natural rubber and titanium alloys are examples. You can choose a more expensive material that will make your product more substantial, more sustainable, and less costly altogether. It is common when the material’s strength allows you to build a smaller item that is easier to manufacture and recycle than the standard. It is equally possible that the opposite will occur. A less expensive material can produce a more expensive, less environmentally friendly product.


Step 3: The manufacturing stage inputs include where the product will be manufactured, its lifetime, the total amount of power and gas it will require, and how much of the product will be disposed of in landfills. There are default entries based on the material selected to help you at this step. The general geographic area in which this product will be employed is also specified.

Step 4: You can provide information about the product’s transportation and end of life (including what percentage is recycled, incinerated, and sent to landfills). As with other inputs, there is a default setting to assist you if you may not be familiar with the specifics of these choices. Following the completion of all selections, the environmental impact is provided in terms of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), total energy consumption (MJ), air acidification (SO4), and water eutrophication (PO4).

  1. Air Acidification: When fuels are burned, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and other acidic air pollutants are produced. It raises the acidity of rainwater, which then acidifies lakes and soil. These acids can be hazardous to plants and aquatic life and slowly erode artificial building materials like concrete.
  2. Carbon Footprint: Carbon dioxide and other gases emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels accumulate in the atmosphere, raising the Earth’s mean temperature. A carbon footprint, also known as Global Warming Potential (GWP), is calculated in units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), leading to issues such as glacier retreat, species extinction, and more extreme weather.
  3. Water Eutrophication: Eutrophication happens when an excessive amount of nutrients are introduced into a water ecosystem. Algae blooms result from an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus from waste and agricultural fertilizers. Water depletes oxygen levels, resulting in plant and animal life loss.
  4. Total Energy Consumed: This is a measurement of the nonrenewable energy sources used in the model’s life cycle. This impact comprises the electricity or fuels used during the product’s life cycle, the upstream energy necessary to extract and process these fuels, and the contained energy of materials that would be released if burned. Total energy represents the net calorific value of nonrenewable primary energy demand, e.g., petroleum, natural gas, etc.

Step 5: The LCA results can be displayed in various ways using SolidWorks Sustainability. For example, the dashboard includes a series of pie charts showing how much each step of the product’s lifespan influences each environmental parameter. It will assist you in determining which procedures across the product’s life cycle contribute the most to the environment. The Assembly Visualization mode helps you narrow down which design elements have the most significant environmental impact. This function color codes your assembly model to show you which pieces are the most responsible for a specific ecological aspect.

The Benefit of using Solidworks sustainability

  1. Encourage innovation

With a firm focus on sustainability, you may improve your ideas, cut expenses, and differentiate your products. To produce next-generation, environmentally friendly products for any business, you may now target “green” marketing opportunities by rethinking existing ideas and discovering new ones.

  1. Use life cycle analysis early in the design process.

SolidWorks Sustainability, previously only available in the final stages of product development, now provides screening-level LCA to the design process, where you can readily make revisions to produce more sustainable designs. You can now quickly develop more sustainable design solutions that utilize fewer resources, generate less trash, and consume less energy while meeting your product performance objectives.

  1. Work effectively in a design environment.

As an integrated part of the SolidWorks product development solution, SolidWorks sustainability enables environmental evaluation as an easy and natural part of your workflow.

You get reliable real-time environmental data displayed on a graphical dashboard. Sustainability data is automatically saved as part of the model file, making it simple to share with others.


Depending on how you design and plan to manufacture the product, there are several ways to improve the outcome. It’s all about getting as low as possible but still [balancing] real-world necessities. Learning how to use SolidWorks sustainability will help you make more innovative selections if you reduce your carbon footprint and water consumption. If you do it correctly, you can also save money.