MECH 4504 - Design for Environmental Sustainability and LCA

  1. What are eco-indictaors? Bigger the number the better?
    Low score is good

    a weighting method, which allows for the calculation of a single score for the total environmental impact – the Eco-indicator

    This has enabled one single score to be calculated for the total environmental impact based on the calculated effects. We call this figure the Eco-indicator.
  2. What is the "environment" for eco-indicator?
    • Human health
    • Ecosystem quality
    • Resources
  3. What are the standard eco-indicator values?
    • Materials
    • • Based on 1 Kg of material
    • • Production processes
    • • Expressed in most appropriate terms (square metres of rolled
    • sheet or kilo of extruded plastic)

    • Transport processes
    • • Mostly expressed in tonne-km
    • • Expressed as m3-km when volume is the determining factor

    • Energy generation processes
    • • Expressed in units of electricity and heat

    • Disposal scenarios
    • • Usually expressed on a per Kg basis
  4. What are the eco-indicator proceduresImage Upload 1
  5. what is monomaterial and why
    recycle in same bin
  6. design for disassemblyImage Upload 2
  7. resources vs reserves
    • Resources – The amount of fuel that is estimated (at a stated
    • confidence level) to be partially recoverable in a geographic
    • region under current economic and technological conditions
    • Reserves – the amount of fuel that has been identified (at a
    • much higher confidence level) in a geographic region by
    • organizations in a position to produce it for the market under
    • current economic and technological conditions.
  8. What are the five stages of the product life cycle? Describe them
    The product life cycle analyzes the input-output exchange process between the environment and the whole set of processes that entail the entire lifetime of any given product - the product is analyzed by the energy, resource, and emission flows during its lifetime. The product life cycle defines the stages of the product as one set of activities and processes

    • Pre-production
    • Acquisition of resources (renewable or non-renewable)
    • • Delivery of resources to the production area
    • • Their transformation into raw materials or energy

    • Production
    • Processing of materials
    • • Assembly
    • • Completion

    • Distribution
    • Packaging
    • • Transportation
    • • Storing

    • Use
    • Utilization or consumption
    • • Service

    • Disposal
    • Restore functionality
    • • Recover the component materials and energy of the
    • disposed product
    • • Recycling (open loop or closed loop)
    • • Landfill (regain nothing)
  9. What is the functional approach of life cycle analysis?
    The product is not the one that is under assessment, it is the impact of the set of processes employed to satisfy a certain function - services and processes being compared must be functionally equivalent. As such, the functional unit must be defined and becomes the unit fo comparison.

    This is different than the "product life cycle", where the life cycle is divided into the five stages.

    E.g. car vs bus, bus may take mor resources to make, but it can take 20 people vs cars with 2 people, so we should actually be comparing 1 bus to 10 cars!
  10. What are some strategies of the life cycle design? (5)
    • 1. Minimize material and energy consumption
    • 2. Select low impact processes and resources; select more ecocompatible materials, processes, and energy sources.
    • 3. Optimize product lifespan: design durable and intensely usable
    • products.
    • 4. Extend materials lifespan: design with the purpose of increasing
    • the value of disposed materials via recycling, composting or
    • incineration.
    • 5. Facilitate disassembly: design with the purpose of separating the
    • parts or materials.
  11. What is minimizing resourcr consumption?
    • Reducing input flow conserves resources for future generations
    • • Reducing output flow lowers the environmental burden of emissions
    • • Minimizing material consumption also reduces environmental
    • burdens associated with processing and transportation
  12. What are ways to minimize material consumption? List examples
    • • Minimizing material content
    • • Minimizing scraps and discards
    • • Minimizing or avoiding packaging
    • • Minimizing material consumption during use
    • • Minimizing materials consumption during the product development phase
    • Thinning down the sides of the component, together with employing
    • certain geometrical forms to retain the required rigidity.
    • • Miniaturization (microelectronics)
    • • Making products multi-functional


    • Guidelines for material content minimization:
    • • Dematerialize the product or some of its components
    • • Digitalize the product or some of its components
    • • Miniaturize
    • • Avoid over-sized dimensions
    • • Reduce thickness
    • • Apply ribbed structures to increase structural stiffness
    • • Avoid extra components with little functionality

    Example: Ikea air, bass guitar
  13. What are ways to minimize packing? List examples
    • Avoid packaging
    • • Apply materials only where absolutely
    • necessary
    • • Design the package to be part (or become
    • part) of the product

    Lush shampoo transported in a recycled paper bag
  14. What are ways to minimize material consumption during use? List examples
    • Select more consumption-efficient systems
    • • Engage systems with dynamic material consumption

    • Guidelines for minimizing materials consumption during use:
    • • Design for the efficient consumption of operational materials
    • • Design for the more efficient use of maintenance materials
    • • Design systems for the consumption of passive materials
    • • Design for the cascading of recycling systems
    • • Facilitate reducing materials consumption for the user
    • • Set the product’s default state at minimum material
    • consumption

    • Dynamite material consumption:
    • Engage digital support systems with dynamic configuration
    • • Design for dynamic material consumption according to differentiated
    • operational stages
    • • Engage sensors to adjust materials consumption according to
    • differentiated operational stages
    • • Reduce materials consumption in the product’s default state

    Example: Dolomite toilet bowl - uses efficient water consumption, microfibre clothes, wash basin that puts water in toilet bowl, ecostop water taps for "economic" and "comfort" positions, Izzi dishwasher selecting the best program for resource consumption
  15. What are ways to minimize energy consumption during use? List examples
    • Guidelines for minimizing energy consumption
    • • Minimizing energy consumption during pre-production and production
    • • Minimizing energy consumption during transportation and storage
    • • Selecting systems with an energy-efficient operation stage
    • • Engaging the dynamic consumption of energy
    • • Minimizing energy consumption during product development

    Examples: ecochair is made of a single piece of beech wood, select local material, Daewoo Air Power Z washing machine that washes with cold water and bubble technology
  16. What are examples of ways to minimize use of toxic chemicals?
    • Selecting energy resources that reduce dangerous emissions during pre-production and production
    • Image Upload 3 Image Upload 4 Image Upload 5
  17. What are the objectives of eco-indicators?
    • The standard Eco-indicator values are not intended for use in environmental marketing, for environmental labelling or for proving in public that product A is better than product B.
    • The standard Eco-indicator values are also not intended as an instrument for the Government to be used for setting standards and drawing up guidelines.
    • The eco-indicator is meant to be used as a screening tool for making products more environmentally sound.
  18. What is useful lifetime? What are strategies to increase it?
    Useful lifetime: how long a product and its components last under normal working conditions, maintaining its conduct and performance at or above predetermined acceptable levels.


    • Strategies:
    • Extending the lifetime of the product (and/or its components)
    • Intensifying the usage of the product (minimizing the time of non-usage)
  19. What are reasons for product life time decreasing?
    • Reasons for product life time decreasing:
    • • Degradation of performance and structural fatigue due to normal usage
    • • Degradation due to environmental or chemical causes
    • • Damage caused by accidents or improper usage
    • • Technological obsolescence
    • Aesthetic or cultural obsolescence
  20. Durability guidelines for product lifetime includes?
    • Durability-related guidelines can be subdivided as:
    • - Designing for appropriate lifespan
    • - Designing for reliability
    • - Facilitating upgrading and adaptability
    • - Facilitating maintenance
    • - Facilitating repair
    • - Facilitating reuse
    • Facilitating re-manufacture
  21. Guidelines for designing for appropriate life span?
    • Components should be designed to have a similar lifetime as the product
    • - Longer durability generally requires greater material consumption.
    • - Also, many materials that improve durability also reduce disposability
    • - For products in technological areas that are evolving at a fast pace, designing for durability might not be the best option.

    • Guidelines for designing for the appropriate lifespan:
    • - Design components with a coextensive lifespan
    • - Design the lifespan of replaceable components according to scheduled durability
    • - Enable and facilitate the separation of components that have different lifespans
    • - Select durable materials according to the product performance and lifespan
    • Avoid selecting durable materials for temporary products or components
  22. Why should we design for reliability? What are some strategies for that?
    The production of potentially unreliable goods leads to an increase in economic means and environmental impact, because they have to be repaired or substituted.

    Designing for reliability may reduce the producers disposal costs and will reduce the consumers repair costs

    • Strategies for designing for reliability
    • - Reduce overall number of components
    • - Simplify products
    • Eliminate weak links
  23. What are guidelines for facilitating upgrade and assembly
    • Guidelines for upgrading and adaptability:
    • Enable and facilitate software upgrading
    • Enable and facilitate hardware upgrading
    • Design modular and dynamically configured products to facilitate their adaptability for changing environments
    • Design multifunctional and dynamically configured products to facilitate their adaptability for the changing of individuals’ cultural and physical backgrounds
    • Design products that are upgradeable and adaptable onsite
    • Design complementary tools and documentation for product upgrading and adaptation

    • Guidelines for facilitating maintenance
    • Simplify access to and disassembly of components to be maintained
    • Avid narrow slits and holes to facilitate access for cleaning
    • Pre-arrange and facilitate the substitution of short-lived components
    • Equip the product with easily usable tools for maintenance
    • Equip products with diagnostic and/or auto-diagnostic systems for maintainable components
    • Design products for easy onsite maintenance
    • Design complementary maintenance tools and documentation
    • Design products that need less maintenance
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MECH 4504 - Design for Environmental Sustainability and LCA