Green by design

Name: Zac Green
Major: Industrial design
Year: Junior
Hometown: Portland, Indiana

Real solutions for real problems: It started as a class assignment to design a product from extruded aluminum. It resulted in an award and a new design concept to keep food fresh without refrigeration. “My design for the Vapor cooling canister is based on the pot-in-pot cooling system used in Northern Africa,” says Zac, who earned the Sustainability Award in the 2011 International Aluminum Extrusion Student Design Competition. “I saw the pot-in-pot system years ago on the Internet and thought there had to be a better way.”

Smart design: The assignment illustrated to Zac the true value of industrial design. “It’s not always about designing the next cool thing,” he says. “It’s about taking things apart and putting them back together — doing it in a way that makes them better, helps people and increases the usage value of that item.”

Natural ability: With an artist mother and a physics teacher father, it’s not surprising Zac grew up with natural artistic ability and a love of science. When it came time for college, he opted for pre-med. Three years into his undergraduate degree, he discovered the world of industrial design. “I’ve always liked to draw things, especially cars. I was on a Website related to that when I saw a link about industrial design. When I looked into it, I knew that was for me. And of the schools offering industrial design, Purdue was among the best.”

Treading lightly: Zac’s interest in the environment and sustainability is a natural extension of his interest in the outdoors. A competitive high school athlete, Zac now finds an outlet for his athletic ability in mountain biking and running trails.

By Tammy Weaver-Stoike