Development of a Framework for Sustainable Conceptual Design

by | May 15, 2010

Authors: William Z Bernstein, Devarajan Ramanujan, Srikanth Devanathan, Fu Zhao, Karthik Ramani, and John W. Sutherland
Proceedings of the 17th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering.

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Abstract: 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 “life cycle” 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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William Z Bernstein

William Z Bernstein

Dr. William Z. Bernstein is a Mechanical Engineer in the Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) Group of the Systems Integration Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Bernstein's research at NIST primarily contributes to two programs: (1) Performance Assurance for Smart Manufacturing Systems and (2) Enabling the Digital Thread for Smart Manufacturing. Prior to joining NIST, Dr. Bernstein was a member of the C-Design Lab at Purdue University. His research at Purdue was focused on establishing frameworks and methods to enable environmentally conscious product redesign activities. Central to this work was the idea of infusing principles from the fields of Information Visualization and Visual Analytics into sustainable design. Dr. Bernstein's current research interests include Sustainable Design, Data-driven Manufacutring, Product Lifecycle Management, Visual Analytics, and Information Visualization.