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Sustainability in Design and the Design Process

Prof David Dornfeld | University of California

Sustainability in Design and the Design Process

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Design and manufacturing are important elements of industrial activity and form the basis of product creation and production to meet consumer's needs for sophisticated products. As part of this consumer pull, sustainability, and more generally the circular economy, are becoming increasingly important elements of the business models of companies and organizations. The need to reduce the impact of consumption and insure material and other resource productivity while maintaining value of the product or service to the consumer are key drivers. To achieve this requires the consideration of sustainability early in the design of products including material selection, manufacturing processing, product use and distribution and end of life. Introduction of these additional constraints require a clear understanding of the objectives, specifications and measures of success. The role of material conversion or processing yield as well embedded energy and other resources, for example water, are key as part of a comprehensive design process. This presentation will review the drivers for sustainable design and production, metrics and tools available for assessing tradeoffs and opportunities, examples of application and links to a broader circular economy concept in which design and manufacturing play a critical role. Future directions for sustainable design and manufacturing will be suggested.