Abstract:Ã‚Â TheÃ‚Â issue of environmental sustainability, which is unprecedented in both magnitudeÃ‚Â and complexity, presents one of the biggest challenges faced bymodern society. Design engineers can make significant contributions by incorporatingÃ‚Â environmental awareness into product and process development. It is criticalÃ‚Â that engineers make a paradigm shift in product design fromÃ‚Â centering on cost and performance to balancing economic, environmental, andÃ‚Â societal considerations. Although there have been quite a few designsÃ‚Â for environment (or ecodesign) tools developed, so far, these toolsÃ‚Â have only achieved limited industrial penetration. The present-day methods areÃ‚Â either too qualitative to offer concrete solutions and not effectivefor designers with limited experience or too quantitative, costly, andÃ‚Â time consuming. Thus, current ecodesign tools cannot be implemented duringthe early design phases. This paper develops a novel, semiquantitativeecodesign methodology that is targeted specifically toward the early stagesof the design process. The new methodology is a combinationÃ‚Â of environmental life cycle assessment and visual tools such asÃ‚Â quality function deployment, functional-component matrix, and Pugh chart. Since theÃ‚Â early design process is function-oriented, a new visual tool calledÃ‚Â the function impact matrix has been developed to correlate environmental impacts with product function. Redesign of office staplers for reducedÃ‚Â carbon footprint has been selected as a case study toÃ‚Â demonstrate the use of the proposed approach. Life cycle assessmentÃ‚Â results confirm that the new stapler design generated using thisÃ‚Â methodology promotes improved environmental performance.