Research Papers

Encouraging Resource-Conscious Behavior Through Product Design: The Principle of Discretization

[+] Author and Article Information
Jayesh Srivastava

e-mail: j.srivastava@mail.utoronto.ca

L. H. Shu

e-mail: shu@mie.utoronto.ca
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering,
University of Toronto,
5 King's College Road,
Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canada

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received September 28, 2011; final manuscript received April 3, 2013; published online May 9, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Karthik Ramani.

J. Mech. Des 135(6), 061002 (May 09, 2013) (9 pages) Paper No: MD-11-1406; doi: 10.1115/1.4024225 History: Received September 28, 2011; Revised April 03, 2013

Lead-user methods were applied to develop product design principles that encourage resource-conscious behavior in individuals. Old Order Mennonites (OOMs) were chosen as lead users because of their low-resource consumption lifestyles. Ethnographic analysis revealed that discretizing resource consumption facilitates and encourages conservation behaviors in OOMs. An experimental study demonstrated the effectiveness of discretization in reducing water consumption by non-OOMs. We then generated concepts for products that applied discretization and tested them with users. Concepts were revised and a prototype for saving water was created.

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Fig. 3

Mean water used in three conditions (n = 28)

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Fig. 2

Discrete-condition container with 10 ml of water

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Fig. 1

Table-tennis ball with 15 × 15 mm mark of paint

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Fig. 4

Relationship between user, product, and mains

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Fig. 5

Rechargeable battery pack

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Fig. 8

Countdown-snooze power-button concept

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Fig. 10

Metered-tap attachment

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Fig. 11

Metered-tap-attachment prototype



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