A Sustainable Design Paradigm for Smart Performance Textiles and Apparel

EPA Grant Number: SU835087
Title: A Sustainable Design Paradigm for Smart Performance Textiles and Apparel
Investigators: Sanders, Eulanda A. , Sarkar, Ajoy K.
Current Investigators: Sanders, Eulanda A. , Sarkar, Ajoy K. , Reider, Anna , Gauck, Eric , Blumentritt, Jared , Garey, Logan
Institution: Colorado State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $14,758
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Air Quality , P3 Challenge Area - Chemical Safety , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


The goal of the project is to develop sustainable “solar powered-natural fiber” smart outdoor technical apparel prototypes that utilize and harvest solar energy to power electric devices. The innovative aspect of the project is that the combination of UV-resistant natural textiles with flexible solar panels in functional outdoor clothing is non-existent in the marketplace.


Interdisciplinary student teams will focus on materials and chemicals such as natural fibers, ultraviolet absorbers and photovoltaic cells for solar apparel and the innovative design paradigm necessary to bring such novel products to the marketplace. Prototypes will be analyzed via interviews and wear-testing with end-consumers to assess functional, aesthetic, durability and comfort factors. The project relates to the prevention of pollution in two areas: 1) the introduction of UV treated natural fiber based textiles for outdoor apparel instead of the typical petroleum based textiles, and 2) the possible elimination of alkaline based batteries to power electronic devices in soft-goods for the functional outdoor industry.

Expected Results:

At the conclusion of Phase I of this project, we will have research-based and user-validated prototypes of smart “solar powered-natural fiber” apparel. Students working on this project will have an improved understanding of materials and chemicals needed to create socially and environmentally friendly products and thus will be better prepared to enter the new “green” economy employment workplace. Student teams will also present results of the project at national meetings and a student-authored manuscript will be submitted for international dissemination. It is expected that long-term, the design paradigm and scalability of this project will be transferable to other sustainable products such as outdoor tents used by campers as also for military applications such as tents for soldiers.

Supplemental Keywords:

Materials and Chemicals, Environmentally Benign Substitute, Clean Technologies, Green Chemistry, Innovative Technology, Green Energy, Green Manufacturing, Waste Minimization

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report