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Sustainability Task Pane - Parts

When you have a part open, the Sustainablity Task Pane appears with the Material section at the top to let you begin by selecting or modifying the part's material.

This view of the Task Pane is available in either SustainabilityXpress or full Sustainability.

To display the Task Pane, do one of the following:

  • To use SustainabilityXpress, click SustainabilityXpress (Tools toolbar or Evaluate CommandManager tab) or click Tools > SustainabilityXpress.
  • To use full Sustainabilitiy, click Sustainability (Tools toolbar or Evaluate CommandManager tab) or click Tools > Sustainability.
Task Pane options are available in both SustainabilityXpress and Sustainability except where otherwise noted.


The materials that are available include Sustainability data. You can add a custom material to this list by linking it to a material with similar characteristics in the default SolidWorks Materials database.

See Adding Sustainability Data to a Custom Material.

Class Sets the major class of material, for example, Steel or Plastics.
Name Sets the specific material.
Recycled content Percentage of material that has been recycled.

If the sustainability database contains primary (virgin), secondary (recycled), and trade mix (default mix of virgin and recycled content) values, the percentage of recyled content is shown. If these values are not available, the recycled content is 0%.

In SustainabilityXpress, the recycled content value is read-only.

In full Sustainability, you can edit the recycled content value if you have more precise information. The Use Trade Mix button lets you return to the database defaults.

Weight Displays the component's weight using the selected material.
Find Similar Opens the Find Similar Material dialog box, where you can:
  • Compare similar materials to a baseline of environmental or cost impacts for the selected material.
  • Select a new material to improve the environmental or cost impact.

See Using the Find Similar Material Tool.

Set Material Assigns the current selected material to the active configuration of the model in the FeatureManager design tree. This material is then applied to all other aspects of the SolidWorks software, such as mass property analysis, rendering, and so forth.


Sets the region of manufacture, for example, Asia.

Use the Region drop-down list or click the map to set the region.
Available regions are North America, Europe, Asia, Japan, South America, Australia, and India. Data is not available for all regions. Regions that contain data are highlighted when you hover over them.
Built to last Length of time the part will last.

In SustainabilityXpress, this value defaults to 1 year.

In full Sustainability, the numeric field and increments are editable.

Process Sets a manufacturing process. Availability depends on the selected material class.

In SustainabilityXpress, the following values are shown for the process you select:

  • tool_sustainability_electricity.gif Total electricity usage
  • tool_sustainability_natural_gas.gif Total natural gas usage
  • tool_sustainability_scrap.gif Scrap rate (amount of the material discarded as scrap)

In full Sustainability, editable fields let you change usage amounts if you have more precise values for your manufacturing process. To return to defaults, reselect the process.

Paint Options Lets you choose whether to calculate the environmental impact for a part that has:
  • No Paint
  • Water-based Paint
  • Solvent-based Paint

The surface area of the part is used to determine the amount of paint and the environmental impact of painting the part.


Region Sets the region where the product is transported to and used, for example, Asia.PM_Regions_Asia_Sustain.gif

Select a region from the drop-down list or click a region in the map to set the region.


Shows the default mode of transportation and distance traveled from the Manufacturing region to the Use region.

sustainability_train.gif Train   sustainability_boat.gif Boat
sustainability_truck.gif Truck   sustainability_plane.gif Plane

In full Sustainability, you can edit these values by clicking a transport mode's button and typing in the field that is enabled. When you add a transportation mode or modify the default mode, the field turns yellow and a Reset to Defaults button appears to let you discard your changes.

End of Life

Shows default percentages for end of life disposal of the part. Default values are based on the part's material in the sustainability database.
tool_end_of_life_recycle.gif Recycled
tool_end_of_life_incinerate.gif Incinerated
tool_end_of_life_landfill.gif Landfill

In full Sustainability, editable fields let you change the percentages.

The total of the values always equals 100%. If you change the recycled or incinerated value, the landfill value updates. If you change the landfill value, the recycled value changes.

When you edit a value, the field turns yellow and a Reset to Defaults button appears to let you discard your changes.

Environmental Impact

The Environmental Impact dashboard provides real-time feedback about the environmental impact of the design. SolidWorks Sustainability products let you select either the CML or TRACI environmental impact assessment methodology to calculate the environmental indicators (carbon footprint, energy consumption, water eutrophication, and air acidification).
  Impact Parameters Sustain_EI_Header_OH_HIDD.gif
Display the impact for each parameter on the environment impact areas.
Use is only calculated for assemblies.
  Duration of Use Length of time the product will be used.

This number is used in conjunction with the Built to Last value in the Manufacturing section to calculate more accurate results.

In SustainabilityXpress, this value defaults to 1 year.

In full Sustainability, the numeric field and increments are editable.

  Environmental Impact Areas

Carbon Footprint

A measure of carbon dioxide and equivalents, such as carbon monoxide and methane, that are released into the atmosphere primarily by burning fossil fuels.

Energy Consumption

All forms of nonrenewable energy consumed over the entire life cycle of the product.

Air Acidification

Acidic emissions, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, which eventually lead to acid rain.

Water Eutrophication

Contamination of water ecosystems by waste water and fertilizers, resulting in algae blooms and the eventual death of plant and animal life.

Pie charts show the percentage of impact of each parameter on the four environmental impact areas.

Bars below each pie chart compare the effect of the current impact paramaters to the effect of previous or baseline parameters.

Green bars indicate the current parameters have a lower environmental impact than the previous parameters.

Red bars indicate the current parameters have a higher environmental impact than the previous parameters.

Mouse over the bars to see the current and baseline values.

Arrows beside the pie charts emphasize the increase sustainability_up_arrow_percent or decrease sustainability_down_arrow_percent in environmental impact and the percentage of change.

  Material Financial Impact

Bars compare the financial impact of the Current and Previous materials you have selected.

A green bar indicates that the current material has a lower financial impact. A red bar indicates a higher financial impact.

Mouse over the bars to see the current and previous values.

An arrow beside the bars indicates the percentage of change.

tool_sustainability_home.gif Home Returns you to the initial display of the Environmental Impact Dashboard.
  Calculation method Calculation method used for environmental impact results.


CML (default) is based on European regional conditions.

For Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies outside of North America, the CML methodology is the most commonly-used set of environmental indicators used for LCA.


TRACI is based on regional conditions of the United States and can be used to accurately model North American LCA studies.

Save As Opens the Sustainability Output dialog box, where you can choose to generate a:
  • Report

    Generates a Sustainability report in .docx format.

  • Spreadsheet

    Generates a spreadsheet of results and inputs in .csv format.

  • GaBi input file

    Generates a file in .xml format that can be read into GaBi LCA software.

Set Baseline Sets the current selections in the Task Pane as the baseline against which you compare different selections. The Baseline bar is the bottom bar below the pie charts.
Import Baseline Lets you import an existing baseline to use in the current model.
Online Info Opens a Web site that provides additional information about Sustainability, including a calculator to help you understand the impact of your design.

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