Abstract:Â TheÂ issue of environmental sustainability, which is unprecedented in both magnitudeÂ and complexity, presents one of the biggest challenges faced bymodern society. Design engineers can make significant contributions by incorporatingÂ environmental awareness into product and process development. It is criticalÂ that engineers make a paradigm shift in product design fromÂ centering on cost and performance to balancing economic, environmental, andÂ societal considerations. Although there have been quite a few designsÂ for environment (or ecodesign) tools developed, so far, these toolsÂ have only achieved limited industrial penetration. The present-day methods areÂ either too qualitative to offer concrete solutions and not effectivefor designers with limited experience or too quantitative, costly, andÂ 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 combinationÂ of environmental life cycle assessment and visual tools such asÂ quality function deployment, functional-component matrix, and Pugh chart. Since theÂ early design process is function-oriented, a new visual tool calledÂ the function impact matrix has been developed to correlate environmental impacts with product function. Redesign of office staplers for reducedÂ carbon footprint has been selected as a case study toÂ demonstrate the use of the proposed approach. Life cycle assessmentÂ results confirm that the new stapler design generated using thisÂ methodology promotes improved environmental performance.