The Design School | Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Search Directory

Search by name:

Directory Question?


Adobe Reader

Faculty + Staff Directory

Philip White

 directory photo

Area: Design
Category: Faculty
Title: Associate Professor
Office: DN 362
Phone: 480.727.6719
Specialty: Industrial Design, Design for Environmental Sustainability
Web Page:

Philip White is an ecological design strategist who develops environmentally sustainable products and systems. He specializes in helping students and practitioners apply ecodesign strategies and advanced environmental impact assessment methods. He organized the development of the Okala Practitioner curriculum (2013) that is used by more than 40 schools of product design in North America and internationally. White created the Okala curriculum as part of a partnership between the Ecodesign Section of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2014, he co-edited with Rita Sschenck the textbook Environmental Life Cycle Assessment: Measuring the Environmental Impacts of Products. He writes extensively about design and ecology and published in ID Magazine (New York), Items (The Netherlands), Curve (Australia), and Innovation (US).

Mr. White studied design with and was a confidant of Victor Papanek, received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Kansas, and received his masters of three-dimensional design from Cranbrook Academy, Michigan. He designed products and was an ecodesign expert at IID (Japan), Philips Design (The Netherlands), and Ziba and Fiori (USA). White won international product design awards (IF, ID magazine, IDEA) and holds 14 patents. He is an active member of the LifeCycle Initiative of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). He also serves as a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the ASU School of Sustainability.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic Credentials

Master of Fine Arts, Three Dimensional Design Cranbrook Academy of Art Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering University of Kansas

Links to research and faculty pages

Research Interests

lifecycle design, ecological design, life cycle impact assessment, Okala impact factors, sustainable design and development, design for recycling, green marketing, industrial ecology, carbon-neutral systems, greener materials

Sponsored and Applied Research

Solutions for Our Unprecedented Environmental Crisis, Aug 2015, sole author, Innovation Quarterly Journal, Industrial Designers Society of America, Great Falls, VA. Vol 27, 1, Pages 12-13. I was invited to write an article reflecting on what the ecodesign pioneer Victor Papanek may have thought about events occurring between 1995 and 2015.

Integrating Sustainability into Planning and Design Courses, Jan 2010, Ruth Yabes, David Pijawka, Philip White, Journal of Urbanism, peer-reviewed paper covering course typologies that integrate sustainability into planning and design curricula. Tertiary author.

Reducing Bias through Process Inventory Dataset Normalization, Nov 2010, Philip White, Mark Carty, International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Landsberg, Germany, Peer reviewed. Principal author of this article proposing an algebraic method (Inventory Dataset Normalization) to resolve normalization bias, which is a serious problem in Life Cycle Assessment methodology. The IJLCA is the leading international journal for LCA.

Modeling climate change impacts of pavement production and construction, Jan 2010 Philip White, Krishna P. Biligiri, and Kamil Kaloush, Jay Golden, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Utrecht, The Netherlands, peer-reviewed, Primary author. This article describes a method for to road designers to model the carbon intensity of production and application of common pavement materials and processes. Vol. 54, Issue 11, Sept. 2010, pages 776-782.

Energy and Carbon Impacts from Residential Laundry in the Unites States, Mar 2010, Jay Golden1, Vairavan Subramanian1, Gustavo Marco Antonio Ugarte Irizarri1, Philip White, Frank Meier, Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Vol. 7 Issue 1 March 2010, p. 53 – 73, peer-reviewed. Tertiary author, the paper documents global warming related impacts of laundry care in the United States.

How to Design more Ecological and Sustainable Systems, Mar 2008, Philip White, sole author, Innovation Quarterly Journal, Industrial Designers Society of America, Great Falls, VA. Vol 27, 1, Pages 12-13 and 43-46. I was invited to write an article and edit the entire spring issue on design for sustainability, selection based on reputation of the author, international readership with US design and business focus.


End of Life Carbon Footprints, Sep 2009, Industrial Designers Society of America 2009 Conference Proceedings, Sole author. Description of carbon accounting methods for products in landfills and in incineration used by life cycle assessment and international the PAS 2050 Carbon accounting protocol.

Designing for Climate-friendly Technologies, Oct 2006, Philip White, sole author, peer reviewed Sustainable Innovation Surrey UK, 2006 Conf. proceedings, p. 93-102


Textbook: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, Measuring the Environmental Impacts of Products, Sep 2014 Co-edited with Rita Schenck this 19-chapter textbook with problem exercises for each chapter. I was primary author of two chapters. Forty-four international experts contributed as co-authors to this entirely original work. Our editing inserted a continuous voice in the text. I also coordinated the peer review comments, compiling and sending them to the authors for them to revise their texts.

Okala Practitioner: Integrating Ecological Design, Jun 2013, Philip White, Louise St. Pierre, Steve Belletire, Industrial Designers Society of America, Primary author. I edited and co-authored the guide, and created the Okala Impact Factors 2014. The Guide is designed for practicing designers in in all design disciplines, available at

Okala Ecological Design Guide, Aug 2009, Philip White, Louise St. Pierre, Steve Belletire, Industrial Designers Society of America, Primary author. The Okala Design Guide was developed within the IDSA/EPA Partnership, and featured in the International Congress of Schools of Industrial Design (ICSID) newsletter, and selected as a seminal ecodesign work by O2 Global network of designers ( and the Designers’ Accord, lead organizations for design and sustainability.

United Nations Environmental Programme Life Cycle Assessment Training Kit, Sep 2008, Reinout Heijungs and Helias Udo de Haes (Center for Environmental Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands), Philip White and Jay Golden (School of Sustainability, Arizona State University) I edited and co-authored this key multi-stakeholder “LCA kit” from the UNEP Life Cycle Initiative. I also co-authored the LCA of Mexican School Furniture:

Update Directory Information