Design for Environment (DfE),
also known as eco-design and green design, recognizes that environmental
impacts must be considered during the
new product design
process, along with all of the usual design criteria.
The purpose of green design is to evaluate and identify ways to minimize the
environmental burden resulting from products.
It is defined as systemic
consideration of design performance with respect to environmental, health,
and safety objectives over the full product life cycle.
Continuous Improvement Mindset
Why and How of DfE
Lyfe Cycle Assessment
provides the framework for analyzing environmental impacts associated with a
product, and DfE is the vehicle for practical application of that knowledge.
DfE refers to a systematic process to improve the environmental performance
of a product by changing its design. It has been estimated that most of the
environmental impact of a product is determined by its
design, and design changes can completely change a product's
DfE usually starts with a
review of LCA information (either qualitative or quantitative) to identify
the primary environmental impacts of a product. The LCA may be supplemented
by market research
to assess customer needs and priorities or communication with stakeholders
such as communities and NGOs to understand their expectations of the
Cross-departmental teams including design engineers, marketing
representatives, R&D, and others establish priorities for improvement based
on a range of factors such as: the magnitude of the environmental impact,
potential for cost savings, potential for increased marketability of a
"green" product, degree of risk posed by different impacts to corporate
level of concern expressed by key stakeholders and other such issues.
Simplified Approach to LCA
During the Product Design Stage
life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies are
accurate and accepted ways of analyzing environmental burdens. However, a
good LCA is time-consuming, expensive, and depends upon having clear and
reliable information about the product. The new trend is towards simplified
LCAs instead of undertaking complex and detailed quantitative
evaluations. It is particularly important to have a simplified LCA
methodology to support decisions at the conceptual stage of
product design. Decisions during the conceptual design stage have a
great effect on the environment impact of the product. However, the detailed
product information necessary for traditional quantitative LCA is often
unavailable. A simplified LCA approach, called a learning surrogate LCA, was
developed to make LCA predictions during the conceptual stages of design3.
Design for Waste Minimization
Waste minimization is a series
of cyclical systems where materials are re-used or re-cycled as part of a
Design Strategies for Product and Materials Recycling
New product design strategies for waste recycling include use of simple
materials, effective disassembly and recycling...
HP incorporates socially responsible
initiatives into its business operations. For instance, under a program
called "Design for Environment," which was begun in mid-1990s, the firm
recognizes that the environmental performance of many products is determined
at the design stage.
By designing with
corporate consciousness in mind, HP was able to develop printers that
have parts which snap together, eliminating the need for adhesives that
could be environmentally unsafe. HP is also experimenting with the prototype
of a printer that is biodegradable, derived from corn maize. While it's not
quite ready for the consumer market, it illustrates the type of
environmentally friendly thinking that HP feels is essential.