Design Guidelines Developed from Environmental Assessments: A Design Tool for Resource-Efficient Products
Journal article, 2020
The circular economy provides a potential solution to the take-make-dispose model of resource use that currently characterizes the economy. Guidelines for the circular economy often consist of prioritized lists of measures to achieve resource efficiency. However, for the purpose of designing products, such general prioritizations of measures are less useful. Instead, the tool developed in this study is based on learnings from numerous life cycle assessments and provides design recommendations for the improved resource efficiency of products based on product characteristics. The tool includes measures over the whole lifecycle of different products that lead to improved resource efficiency. The tool also demonstrates how different product types, such as different varieties of durable and consumable products, can become more resource-efficient and when trade-offs occur over the lifecycle of a product. The tool was tested in a design case where its usefulness and usability were evaluated using a comparative life cycle assessment and a questionnaire. The evaluation shows the tool is informative and provides design suggestions that lead to improved resource efficiency. The tool is considered usable and could be implemented in design practice.
life cycle assessment