Hi, this is Pete Markiewicz, a web/interactive design instructor in Los Angeles.
I'm currently exploring the idea of ongoing conversion of physical design to virtual services. This is dematerialization - one of the features of sustainable design articulated by Nathan Shedroff in his great book "Design is the Problem: The Future of Design Must Be Sustainable".
Google tells me it doesn't. But I'm convinced that there have to be
certain principles that interaction designers can follow that are
more environmentally friendly than others. I work at a product design
company filled with designers looking to develop products that are
less damaging and more environmentally friendly, but for the most
part, interaction designers are stuck on the sidelines developing
interfaces and screens that don't have any of the material or
manufacturing choices of industrial designers.