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AWARE: Facilitating Informed Consumer Purchasing Decisions through Point-of-Sale Access to Product Sustainability Information

EPA Grant Number: SU831868
Title: AWARE: Facilitating Informed Consumer Purchasing Decisions through Point-of-Sale Access to Product Sustainability Information
Investigators: Skerlos, Steven J. , Andersen, Jan-Henrik , Clarens, Andres F. , Feinberg, Fred , Michalek, J. , Morrow, Ross
Current Investigators: Hayes, Kim F. , Ashari, Azwan , Austin, Tenisha , Auwers, Kristine , Bazinet, Julie , Boukouns, Konstantinos , Carter, Bryce , Clarens, Andres F. , Dubal, Gitesh , Ezell, Greg , Feinberg, Fred , Jansen, Clark , King, Wendy , Kopin, Amy , Kulkarni, Michael , Lamiman, Brad , Mjchalek, Jeremy , Morrow, William Ross , Norman, James H , Pariseau, John , Shankar, Suman , Skerlos, Steven J. , Vittorini, Antonio , Wu, Jeff
Institution: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $9,945
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004)
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Information Technology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


There is a fundamental challenge to sustainability in designing an appropriate, practical, and flexible information system through which consumers can obtain and consider relevant environmental ramifications of the goods they purchase every day. Hence, the Aware concept is proposed to address the challenge of informing consumers of the broader environmental repercussions of individual purchasing decisions at the point-of-sale. The project scope focuses not only on the technical elements of database design and wireless data transfer, but also on the collection, aggregation, and organization of data for a chosen class of products and the development of a method, or "aesthetic," of presenting this information to consumers at various levels of detail in a way that is understandable, practical, and customizable. The availability of relevant information will support an adaptive education process between the consumer and the broader effects of relatively "ordinary" marketplace decisions, driving advancement towards sustainability culturally and technologically.

The Aware project will function as an educational tool in several important ways. First, design, development, and implementation of Aware will be accomplished through the participation of several interdisciplinary student design teams from graduate (e.g., ME 589, Eco-Design and Manufacturing) and undergraduate (e.g., ME 450, Capstone Design and Manufacturing Experience) courses. Secondly, student members of the University of Michigan Engineers Without Borders / Engineers for a Sustainable World (EWB/ESW) organization will be able to participate directly in the development of Aware by working with the team of principal investigators and consulting with student teams. A component of Aware will be allocated to a designated EWB/ESW team. EWB/ESW members represent various engineering disciplines, including aerospace, civil/environmental, electrical engineering and computer science, chemical and mechanical engineering.

Supplemental Keywords:

waste minimization, decisionmaking, conservation, monitoring, measurement methods, RFA, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Scientific Discipline, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, cleaner production/pollution prevention, waste reduction, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Reinvention, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, energy conservation, waste minimization, clean technologies, green design, consumption pathways, environmentally friendly technology, computer models, education, incentives, clean technology, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, emission controls, energy efficiency, informed consumer purchasing, innovative technology, point of sale education, outreach and education, environmental cost analysis, green technology

Relevant Websites:

AWARE website Exit
Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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