Ecodesign tools in design education

Year: 2009
Editor: Clarke, A, Ion, W, McMahon, C and Hogarth, P
Author: Lofthouse, Vicky
Page(s): 384-389


Over the last 10 years the Department of Design and Technology at Loughborough University has introduced over 600 design students to a suite of qualitative and quantitative sustainable design tools. Countless more students have been reached via the distribution of the 'Toolbox of Sustainable Design Education' [1]. This paper introduces these tools; the qualitative Ecodesign web [2]; the Design Abacus; 'Information/Inspiration' [3]; the Eco-indicator 99 - a quantitative tool developed by PRé Consultants [4] which enables quick life cycle analyses to be calculated and the CES software delivered through the EduPack which aids the selection of engineering materials and manufacturing processes [5]. This paper reflects on how the tools have evolved to reflect the needs of industrial designers involved in ecodesign projects, and on how they have filtered down from experiments with industrial collaborators and emerged as the tools of choice, from the array available. The key benefits of each tool are discussed along with findings with regards to which stages of the product development process they are most appropriate for. Following on from this, the educational benefits of the different tools are discussed and examples of how they are used by 2nd year Industrial/ Product design students on the Sustainable Design module to answer briefs set by collaborating companies, are then drawn upon. Conclusions about the key benefits of using these tools to support sustainable design teaching are reflected upon as are the benefits of equipping such a large body of students with practical sustainable design skills ahead of their journey into industry.

Keywords: Ecodesign tools, industrial design, product design, undergraduate sustainable design eduction

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