Research Papers

A Methodology for Identifying Environmentally Conscious Guidelines for Product Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Cassandra Telenko

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712cassandra@mail.utexas.edu

Carolyn Conner Seepersad2

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712ccseepersad@mail.utexas.edu

It is important to remember that LCA results are limited by the data available. Both manufacturing data and global supply chain information were extremely limited for this example.


Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 132(9), 091009 (Sep 17, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002145 History: Received December 31, 2009; Revised July 07, 2010; Published September 17, 2010; Online September 17, 2010

A reverse engineering methodology is presented for identifying environmentally conscious design guidelines for use in the conceptual stages of product design. Environmentally conscious principles and guidelines help designers improve environmental impacts of products by making better decisions during conceptual design stages when data for life cycle analysis (LCA) are sometimes scarce. The difficulty in using the current knowledge base of guidelines is that it is not exhaustive and conflicts are not well understood. In response, the authors propose a general method for expanding the current set of guidelines and for understanding potential environmental tradeoffs. The method helps designers extract environmentally conscious design guidelines from a set of functionally related products by combining reverse engineering with LCA. The guidelines and LCA results can then be used to inform subsequent design cycles without repeating the process. Although in environmentally conscious design, reverse engineering is commonly applied to studies of disassembly and recyclability, the methodology and case study herein show how reverse engineering can be applied to the utilization stage of a product’s life cycle as well. The method is applied to an example of electric kettles to demonstrate its utility for uncovering new design guidelines.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Methodology for creating environmentally conscious design guidelines

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Figure 2

A reference list for environmental design requirements

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Figure 3

A black box model of an electric kettle

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Figure 4

A P-diagram for an electric kettle

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Figure 5

A function structure with hypothesized energy-saving functions highlighted in gray

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Figure 6

Energy flows into and out of the kettle

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Figure 7

The relative environmental impacts of a sample kettle

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Figure 8

A sample 6-3-5 concept




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