Environmental impacts during the product usage - Identification and categorisation of influencing factors

DS 87-1 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 1: Resource Sensitive Design, Design Research Applications and Case Studies, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Kattwinkel, Daniela; Herzog, Michael; Neumann, Marc; Bender, Beate
Series: ICED
Institution: Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
Section: Resource Sensitive Design, Design Research Applications and Case Studies
Page(s): 199-208
ISBN: 978-1-904670-89-6
ISSN: 2220-4342


To respond to environmental sustainability challenges, many industries are now facing pressure to improve their environmental performance. A developmental approach that systematically integrates an environmental consideration along the entire product life cycle is called ecodesign. To promote an effective ecodesign application, companies need to recognise their products’ inherent potential for environmental improvements early in the development process. This paper represents the first step in that direction by analysing the environmental impacts during the usage phase. Thereby every usage process is characterised by different determinants that influence it. On the basis of a literature review, 72 factors that influence the environmental impacts during usage phase are presented in this paper. The influencing factors are structured according to the system elements of a socio-technical system in relation to its properties. Furthermore, every factor is quantitatively or qualitatively differentiated. Using the example of a refrigerator, the influencing factors are evaluated according to their specific impact on the environment.

Keywords: Ecodesign, Sustainability, Early design phases, Design for X (DfX), Usage phase


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