Design for Sustainability

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Design for Sustainability
“Designing to improve the quality of life today, without compromising the quality of life of tomorrow”

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Importance of “Design for Sustainability”
Design for Sustainability aims: “to take all global and regional socio-economic concerns into account in products and services, meeting the needs of society now and in the future, moving from a product to a service oriented system.” • In order to design sustainable products and services, innovation, creativity and new ideas are required by designers.
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Importance of “Design for Sustainability”
On a global scale current design of products are seen to hinder Sustainability. Designers ironically increasing focus on disposables. e.g. razors, nappies, pens, packaging. 4 R’s regarding design for sustainability: Repair Refine Redesign Rethink Movement towards rethinking situations and function radically changing towards achieving needs through different means.
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Repair -> Rethink
Sustainability Benefits

Adapted from: [Thompson and Sherwin, 2001]
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Using Recycled Materials
Using recycled materials instead of virgin materials significantly reduces the environmental impact of a product. Guidelines for designing with recycled plastics: • Specify thicker walls or features that enhance rigidity in a design where increased strength must compensate for reduced strength in material. • Select applications where color is not critical when recycled plastics come with a variety of colorants. Additional colorants may mask the original color of the material.
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Design for Recyclability
Product design can make a significant contribution to recyclability. Use materials which can be easily recycled. • Reduce the quantity of different types of materials. • Select materials that are in mutually compatible groups, e.g. for plastics – ABS, PET or PVC • To aid recycling, avoid materials which are difficult to separate such as laminates, fire-retardants and fiberglass reinforcements. • Avoid polluting elements such as stickers that interfere with recycling, or glues.
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Design for Disassembly
“To ensure easy accessibility for inspection, cleaning, repair and replacement of vulnerable/sensitive subassemblies or parts.” • Use fasteners such as snap, screws/‘smart screws’ or bayonet, instead of welded, glued or soldered connections. • Position joints so that the product does not need to be turned or moved for dismantling. • Indicate on the product how it should be opened nondestructively, e.g., where and how to apply leverage 8 with a screwdriver to open snap connections.

Design for Light-weight
• This strategy focuses on optimising the volume and weight of materials so less energy is used during production, transport and storage. • Products are often deliberately designed to be heavy or large in order to project a quality image. For Example: • Use reinforcing ribs instead of using thick-walled components. • Reduce the volume in transportation: Consider foldable or stackable designs and final product assembly at the retail location or by the end-user.
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Design for Less & Reduction of Consumables
• Application of design that will lead to lower, or more efficient use of consumables such as water, oil, filters, cleaners during a product’s life span. • Design the product to minimize the use of auxiliary materials, e.g., use a permanent filter in coffee makers instead of paper filters. • Minimize possible leaks from machines that use high volumes of consumables by, for example, installing a leak detector.
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Re-manufacture & Re-furbishing Considerations
• Design a modular product structure so that each module can be detached and re-manufactured in the most suitable way. • Design parts/components to facilitate ease of cleaning/repair and retrofitting prior to re-use. • Indicate parts/components that must be lubricated or maintained in a specific way through color coding or integral labels. • Consider the tooling requirements for remanufacturing in the physical design of parts/components.
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Life Cycle Assessment

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What is LCA
• It is a technique used for the evaluation of the environmental/ecological impact during all the stages of a products life. • It involves: – Design and functionality of the Product – The extraction and processing of materials – The processes used in manufacturing – Packaging and distribution – How the product is used – Recycling, reuse and disposal
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Where & Why is LCA used?
• • • • Designers use LCA in the development stages Used by manufacturers at production stage Used to re-design/ re-engineer existing products Used in the comparative analysis of products – – – – – Reduce costs throughout a life-cycle Improve efficiency Reduce environmental impact Compliance with environmental legislation Product Marketing (eco-labelling)
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Energy/Eco Labels examples
Washing Machine

The Flower is the symbol of the European Eco-label, and is a guide to greener products and services.
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Relationship of Activities
Activities
Energy (total LC) Wastes (material,

Activities (Product design, manufacture and use)
Raw materials

emissions etc.)

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Stages in PLC
Block diagram of PLC activities
Energy Chain Supply Raw materials

Product Design Materials production

Product manufacture

Product in use

Product end of life

Disposal

Recycle

Reuse

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Scope of a LCA

From – www.envirowise.co.uk

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Stages of a LCA
• Identify and Quantify the environmental loads (energy and raw materials used, and emissions and wastes consequently released). • Assess and evaluate their potential impacts. • Assess the opportunities available to bring about improvements.
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Elements in a LCA
Goal & Scope Definition

Inventory Analysis

Interpretation

Impact Assessment
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LCA Elements Explained
Purpose & System Boundaries Goal & Scope Definition What Product is the LCA going to deal with? Single Product or Product Comparison? Any impinging criteria e.g. Quality Concerns? Energy & Materials (inputs) Waste & Emissions (outputs) A listing of the quantities of all the above areas over the entire life-cycle, from cradle to grave.
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Inventory Analysis

LCA Elements Explained
Classification, Characterisation & Valuation Impact Assessment What is the significance of potential environmental impacts? An iterative process of reviewing goals and scope determining if objectives are been met. Conclusions & Recommendations Interpretation What is the significance of potential environmental impacts? Must be consistent with the goal of the study.
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Key environmental considerations
• Use less material • Use materials with less environmental impact • Use fewer resources • Produce less pollution and waste • Reduce the impacts of distribution • Optimise functionality and service life • Make re-use and recycling easier • Reduce the environmental impact of disposal

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Examine the materials used in the product
• Create a list of all the materials used • Look at the environmental impacts of these materials • Identify alternatives
- use fewer materials - only use materials that can be recycled - use materials containing recyclates - obtain from more sustainable sources - talk to suppliers/customers

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How is the product manufactured?
• Is the process energy intensive? • Does it produce a lot of waste? • Are natural resources (eg water and fossil fuels) used? • Can resource use be reduced?

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How is the product distributed?
• What type of packaging is used? • Could less packaging be used? • Could re-usable packaging be used? • How is the product stored before dispatch? • How far are the products transported?

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How is the product used?
• Talk to consumers to find out if they have developed ‘product habits’ • Do customers feel that any components or functions are unnecessary?

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What happens at the end of the product’s life?
Does the product typically go to landfill? • Could the recycling potential be increased? - material selection - stamping and labelling • Can modules or parts be re-used? • Service potential

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Talk to your suppliers and customers
• Are they aware of cleaner design? • Ask them to join the design team - helps to maintain business relationships - can share information/benefits • Can they suggest alternatives/ideas?

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Life Cycle of a Light Bulb
Pre-Production
Packaging Energy Energy Glass Plastic Available World Resources Extraction Exploration Production Processing Electronics Aluminimum Copper/ Brass Steel Mercury Phospors Emissions & Waste Other Emissions & Waste Emissions & Waste Emissions & Waste Emissions & Waste Lamp Manufacture Packaging & Transport Energy Energy Energy Lighting Bulb

Production

Distribution

Use

Disposal

LAMP

Incandescent Tungsten Halogen Compact fluorescent Fluorescent Strip

Disposal Process

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Life Cycle of a Light Bulb
• Pre-Production:
– Obtaining the raw materials from which the various components that make up a light bulb are manufactured. – The Manufacture of Components. – The transport to the manufacturing site.

• Production:
– Further processing of materials and the assembly of components to produce the finished light bulb.
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Life Cycle of a Light Bulb
• Distribution:
– The packaging of the light bulb and their transport from the place of manufacture to retail outlets.

• Utilization:
– The use of the light bulb in domestic or commercial settings to provide light.

• Disposal:
– The throwing away of the light bulb at the end of its life.
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Life Cycle of a Light Bulb
• From carrying out the LCA of a Light Bulb it has been identified that the greatest environmental impact comes from the “Utilization” phase. • The “Disposal” phase of a Light Bulb is restricted as it cannot easily be reused or recycled. • Could it be possible to repair/ reuse Light Bulbs? • The major environmental impact arises from the “In Use” stage of a Light Bulb.

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LCA Conclusions
Product Life Cycle Analysis: Evaluates the environmental + ecological impact during all the stages of a product’s life cycle • It becomes obvious that the greatest influence on the life cycle energy usage is at the design stage of a product • Forward planning at the design stage will reduce the environmental impact of the product. At this stage 70/80% of costs are determined.
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