THE CONCEPT OF ECOLOGICAL LEVERS - A PRAGMATIC APPROACH FOR THE ELICITATION OF ECOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS
This paper uses the concept of product properties to analyze three different dimensions a product development has to cope with: technical, cost and ecological requirements. Objective is to highlight the problems when managing ecological product properties as well as to provide the basis for the elaboration of a pragmatic approach for eco-design practice. Pragmatic means securing the feasibility as to day-to-day work of product developers. The paper focuses on the early phases of a product development which constitute the most important ones in terms of task clarification. The full integration of ecological aspects in these phases is therefore promising and needs more methodical support. In this context, the concept of ecological levers is presented: Based on the ecological weak points of a product, the relation to design areas causing these weak points is displayed by means of so called effect chains. Having identified the design measures that can lead to a better ecological performance, their significance and feasibility is analyzed by a cost-benefit-analysis. By doing so, only the expedient measures are identified and formulated as requirements: these are the ecological levers.