Abstract:Â The cost and environmental impacts of a product are largely determined during conceptual design. Most often, due to cost and time limitations, only a limited set of design concepts are carried forward for detailed design. As a result, design concepts generally are biased, lack originality, and are poorly supported. The challenge is made even more difficult when environmental performance is considered as a design factor since very limited experience and knowledge have been accumulated and usually a â€œlife cycleâ€ perspective is missing. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has emerged as the most objective tool available for evaluating the environmental footprint of a product or process, however, LCA is generally not suitable for the concept design stage. This paper explores a new framework for establishing sustainable conceptual designs. Central to our proposed approach is the function-impact matrix, which applies LCA data from similar products to the development of new designs.
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