Here is the table to compare two similar technologies or products. The end goal needs to be identical. It will help you decide on which tool/technology is right for your situation and resources.

Evaluation Tool to Compare Similar Technologies

Make sure the two technologies perform the same function.

Example 1. you could compare a locally hand-made axe versus a commercially
made chainsaw by a large overseas manufacturer.

Example 2. You could compare a wind generator with a petrol generator

Example 3: compare a donkey with a cart to a modern car.

Example 4: compare a cool-cupboard with a refrigerator.

How to use this decision-making table:

Step 1: Consider the environmental and ethical concern of this type of product.

STEP 2: In the R column, Rate how important to you is this concern.  Choose a number between 1 to 10. 1 being a low concern and 10 being the highest. This number is your Rating. The rating will be multiplied for each of the two products being compared when you move on to tally up the sub-totals.

STEP 3: Consider Product 1 of your comparison products.
[Label the P1 column with the name of this product] If you feel that the environmental feature is positive for this product, give it a value of 1 through to 10. For example: If the affordability is high, then put a 10.

STEP 4:  multiply your R rating by the Product score to get a Sub-total.

STEP 5: Add up all the sub-totals to get a comparison of products. The product with highest score is the best choice for you.

Field of interest Environmental and ethical features of the product, manufacture or purchase to consider. R


P1 Sub-total P1 P2 Sub-total P2
Investment Is this product a Procreative (high points)
or a Degenerative (low points) Investment? Or parts there-of? (see chapter on Community Recycling to define investment types)
Will the money spent on the purchase encourage the supplier or manufacturer to investment in better technologies?
(Yes = +ve points)
Is the place of manufacture local? Reduce score for significant transportation, size and weight of freight.
Is the supplier local and have they been in the industry long?
Modular investment Is there a way to modify and existing technology by adding a new module?
Limitations of User List and give a negative value to each and every restrictions eg. Some users/sites have restricted solar, wind, land ownership, local government by-laws, legal constraints, cultural expectations.
Purchase Cost How affordable is initial purchase of the product? If the price is high, use a low value. If the price is low, choose a high value.
How affordable regularly replaced parts could be purchased by a poor family?
How affordable is installation and learning to operate this product?
How affordable is the cost of suitable storage or installation components.
Ethical practices of production. Consider the environmental and social impact of production for workers and families who live in the areas of production [eg. mines and factories and localities] if highly ethical, give a high score.
Minimal embodied energy. If the amount of embodied energy is low, give this a high score.
How likely is the non-renewable embedded energy component able to be reused later?
Running Costs Moving parts = wear and tear. Consider the number and complexity of moving parts. How easy are the small parts to repair or replace?
Modify-able If you need to modify or retrofit this part as your frequency or volume needs change, how easy will that be?
Durability Does the product contain modular parts? How easy can you replace sections of the product? How easy will it be to replace sections?
Lifespan Estimate longevity of the product/technology if well maintained.
Is this technology fit for your future needs?
How affordable is the maintenance?
Running labour cost How affordable are running costs? e.g. Per day or per km or per kilowatt
Operational Ease How safe is this product? Can a child or elderly person operate this technology safely?
Educational Benefit How likely would the user gain educational experience from the use of this product?
Impacts Is it Pollution free? (smoke, compaction, other)
Is it Noise-free?
How aesthetically pleasing (an eye-sore or work of art?)
How compact are the working parts? Storage or land space have costs.
Transpor-tability Is the system or device re-locatable/transportable? Would it suit some-one who is renting?
By-Products. Clean of chemical by-products
Clean of physical by-products
Accumulation of by-product.
Is there a lot of useful by-product?
How easy is the by-product to manage? Is specialist knowledge required? Do users need to be trained and educated?
How quick is management of by-products?
How likely can the by-product be sold or used elsewhere? [If so, this is a pro-creative aspect of the investment.]
Risks Is this technology safe? Could it cause a catastrophe ie. House fire?
Is the risk of damage to other things well prevented?
Is the risk of injury to someone else well prevented? e.g. Some cars are safer for pedestrians than others.
Energy Efficiency 2nd law of Thermodynamics – how much energy is conserved during running?
What happens to potential energy when the system is not running.
Sharable How easily can you able to share this product when not in use?
End-of-life Will the product parts be able to be composted, reused or recycled?

Send feedback to us at Permaculturevisions via the contact page – Enjoy!