About this book
There is a huge scarcity of good, practical resources for designers and students interested in minimizing the environmental impacts of products. "Design + Environment" has been specifically written to address this paucity. The book first provides background information to help the reader understand how and why design for environment (DfE) has become so critical to design, with reference to some of the most influential writers, designers and companies in the field. Next, "Design + Environment" provides a step-by-step approach on how to approach DfE: to design a product that meets requirements for quality, cost, manufacturability and consumer appeal, while at the same time minimizing environmental impacts. The first step in the process is to undertake an assessment of environmental impacts, using life-cycle assessment (LCA) or one of the many simpler tools available to help the designer. From then on, DfE becomes an integral part of the normal design process, including the development of concepts, design of prototypes, final design and development of marketing strategies. Environmental assessment tools and strategies to reduce environmental impacts, such as the selection of appropriate materials, are then discussed. Next, some of the links between environmental problems, such as global warming, ozone depletion, water and air pollution and the everyday products we consume are considered. In order to design products with minimal environmental impact, we need to have a basic understanding of these impacts and the interactions between them. The four subsequent chapters provide more detailed strategies and case studies for particular product groups: packaging, textiles, furniture, and electrical and electronic products. Guidelines are provided for each of the critical stages of a product's life, from the selection of raw materials through to strategies for recovery and recycling. Finally, "Design + Environment" takes a look at some of the emerging trends in DfE that are offering us the opportunity to make a more significant reduction in environmental impacts. Both the development of more sustainable materials and technologies and the growing interest in leasing rather than selling products are examined. "Design + Environment" is organized as a workbook rather than an academic text. It should be read once, and then used as a key reference source. This clear and informative book should prove to be invaluable to practising designers, to course directors and their students in need of a core teaching and reference text and to all those interested in learning about the tools and trends influencing green product design. The authors have all been involved in an innovative demonstration programme called "EcoReDesign", which was developed by the Centre for Design at RMIT University with funding from the Australian government. The Centre successfully collaborated with Australian companies to improve the environmental performance of their products by following DfE principles.
Foreword Graham Cavanagh-Downs, Director, Manufacturing and Supply, Fuji Xerox Australia Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Overview 1.1.1 Environmental improvement: why focus on design? 1.2 Critical players: the role of designers and product developers 1.3 What's in a name? Some definitions 1.4 Origins and evolution: an historical snapshot 1.5 Big sticks and carrots: the role of government regulation 1.5.1 Demonstration programmes 1.5.2 Defining extended producer responsibility 1.5.3 The growing interest in extended producer responsibility 1.5.4 The range of policies on extended producer responsibility in global market 1.6 The competitive edge: the greening of the market 1.7 Summary Chapter 2: Managing ecodesign 2.1 Overview of the design process 2.2 Assessing environmental impacts 2.3 Researching the market 2.4 Running an ideas workshop 2.4.1 Assessing the outcomes of the workshop 2.5 Selecting design strategies 2.6 Designing the product Further reading Chapter 3: Environmental assessment tools 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Life-cycle assessment 3.2.1 Definition of the goal and scope 3.2.2 Life-cycle inventory analysis 3.2.3 Life-cycle impact assessment 3.2.4 Life-cycle interpretation 3.3 Streamlined life-cycle assessment 3.3.1 Matrix-based life-cycle assessment 3.3.2 Software-based life-cycle assessment 3.4 Proxy indicators 3.4.1 Embodied energy 3.4.2 Material input per unit of service, and 'ecological rucksacks' 3.4.3 Ecological footprints 3.4.4 Eco-indicators 3.5 Environmental accounting 3.6 Summary Further resources Useful websites Chapter 4: Ecodesign strategies 4.1 Select low-impact materials 4.1.1 Plastics 4.1.2 Timber 4.1.3 Glass 4.1.4 Aluminium 4.1.5 Steel 4.1.6 Paper 4.2 Avoid hazardous materials 4.2.1 Toxic materials 4.2.2 Global warming 4.3 Choose cleaner production processes 4.3.1 Footwear industry 4.3.2 Automotive industry 4.3.3 Hardware industry 4.3.4 Industrial waste and its treatment 4.4 Maximise energy and water efficiencies 4.4.1 Maximising efficiency 4.4.2 Using cleaner energy sources 4.4.3 Design for water efficiency 4.5 Design for waste minimisation 4.5.1 Source reduction 4.5.2 Extending product life 4.5.3 Product re-use 4.5.4 Product remanufacture 4.5.5 Materials recycling 4.5.6 Design for minimal consumption 4.5.7 Minimising the impacts of disposal Further reading Useful websites Appendix: hazardous materials Chapter 5: The ecology of products 5.1 The ecological footprint 5.2 Global warming 5.3 Ozone depletion 5.4 Reduced biodiversity 5.5 Resource depletion 5.6 Water pollution 5.7 Air pollution 5.8 Land degradation 5.9 Solid waste 5.10 Acidification Useful websites Chapter 6: Packaging 6.1 Selecting materials 6.2 Source reduction 6.2.1 Avoiding unnecessary components 6.2.2 Lightweighting 6.2.3 Design for re-use 6.2.4 Design for recycling 6.2.5 Design for degradability 6.3 Looking to the future Further reading Chapter 7: Textiles and clothing 7.1 Growing and processing fibres 7.1.1 Natural fibres 7.1.2 Regenerated cellulose fibres 7.1.3 Synthetic fibres 7.2 Dyeing and finishing textiles 7.2.1 Dyeing 7.2.2 Finishing 7.3 Clothing design and manufacture 7.4 Maintaining the product during use 7.5 Waste and recycling 7.6 Issues for designers Useful websites and agencies Chapter 8: Furniture 8.1 Selecting materials 8.1.1 Recycled materials 8.2 Manufacture 8.3 Use 8.4 Waste avoidance and resource recovery 8.4.1 Design for durability 8.4.2 Design for disassembly 8.4.3 Design for re-use and refurbishment 8.4.4 Design for materials recycling 8.4.5 Design for safe disposal 8.5 System-wide issues 8.5.1 Product stewardship and take-back Chapter 9: Electronic and electrical products 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Selecting low-impact materials 9.3 Maximising energy and water efficiencies 9.3.1 Energy labels 9.4 Design for waste minimisation 9.4.1 Design for dematerialisation 9.4.2 Design for durability 9.4.3 Design for upgradability 9.4.4 Design for remanufacturing 9.4.5 Design for recycling 9.5 Challenges for the future Further reading Useful organisations Chapter 10: Designing tomorrow today 10.1 Where to from here? 10.2 Maximising eco-efficiency 10.3 Beyond the ecological horizon 10.4 Beyond the cultural horizon 10.5 Conclusions References List of abbreviations
Helen Lewis is Programme Manager, Sustainable Products and Product Systems, for the Centre for Design at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. She has worked as a Programme Manager on the EcoReDesign programme at RMIT, and is a co-author of Good Design, Better Business, Cleaner World: A Guide to EcoReDesign (Centre for Design at RMIT University, 1997). Prior to this she was Manager Industry Programmes at EcoRecycle Victoria, a state government agency with responsibility for waste minimisation and resource recovery. At EcoRecycle, she managed grant programmes to assist manufacturers with new product development and marketing, and co-ordinated strategies to increase recovery of recyclable materials. John Gertsakis is the Managing Director of Product Ecology Pty Ltd, a sustainability consulting group experienced in the development and delivery of tools, strategies and advice on EcoDesign and Product Stewardship. John has written widely on a range of issues related to the design, production and consumption of environmentally preferable products, including the Centre for Design's EcoReDesign Guide. He sits on the editorial board of The International Journal for Sustainable Product Design, and has authored, co-authored and edited several handbooks, reports and websites including: 'Connecting Innovation, Design and Sustainability: Real World Case Studies from the EcoReDesign Program' (2001); 'Appliance Reuse and Recycling: A Product Stewardship Guide' (1999); 'EcoSpecifier: A Guide to Sourcing Environmentally Preferable Materials' (1999); and 'Good Design, Better Business, Cleaner World: A Guide to EcoReDesign' (1997). Prior to Product Ecology, John was Head of the Centre for Design at RMIT University (1997-2001), where he continues to be involved as a Senior Research Associate. Tim Grant is the project manager for life-cycle assessment at the Centre for Design at RMIT University. He has experience applying LCA and other environmental tools with a wide range of companies and organisations. He has developed and refined a number of LCA tools specifically for use in ecodesign, as well as being involved in the development and application of LCA data and methodology in Australia. Tim also runs a professional development short course in LCA at the Centre for Design. Nicola Morelli is a graduate in architecture from Italy and has a PhD in industrial design at Politecnico di Milano. Currently, Nicola Morelli is a post-doctoral researcher at RMIT University in Melbourne. His research work is focused on sustainable design strategies, based on systemic changes in production and consumption patterns. Andrew Sweatman is an environmental consultant and Director of Customer Applications with ESHconnect in California, USA. Andrew has formal qualifications in product design and has been involved as a researcher and project manager with RMIT's EcoReDesign programme as well as Manchester Metropolitan University's Design for Environment research project. At ESHconnect, Andrew is managing the development of innovative online regulatory tracking tools related to electronics and the environment and works closely with leading product manufacturers in the USA.