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Responsible Products: Selecting Design and Materials
University of Skövde, School of Technology and Society.
2005 (English)In: Design Management Review, ISSN 1045-7194, Vol. 16, no 3, 65-72 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As a compendium of information about the relative merits of materials and methods of environmentally responsible design, this article is a real find. Lennart Y. Ljungberg is an associate professor in integrated product development at the University of Skovde, Sweden, as well as a scholar of materials science.

What do we mean when we talk about responsible design? As Ljungberg points out, there is no one design or material that puts a product in this category. However, he's pretty clear about what constitutes a responsibly designed product: This is a product that has as little impact on the environment as possible during and after its lifetime-and lifetime includes the extraction of the materials and the energy used to manufacture the product, as well as how completely the product can be recycled or destroyed after it is no longer useful. Responsible design, Ljungberg adds, should also take into account issues of poverty and equal distribution and, of course, the prospects for selling the product at a reasonable profit.

Ljungberg spends some time discussing environmental management systems (EMSs), which basically are tools for management to steer and control environmental effects. The international standard ISO 14001 and the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) are two examples. LCA, which is probably the best-known, according to the author, evaluates a product's environmental impact "from cradle to grave."

The rest of the article is largely given over to a discussion of materials selection, which is accompanied by a chart enumerating the advantages and disadvantages of a range of structural materials. Metals, for instance, are typically durable, conduct energy well, and recycle easily, but the cost to machine them is high, and much energy is consumed in their production. Natural organic materials (wood, for instance) are cheap to produce, renewable, and easy to recycle. However, they decompose quickly and are sensitive to high temperatures.

Ljungberg continues with a discussion of recycling and disposal techniques and some general advice on more-efficient use of materials and minimized environmental impact, followed by a section on design strategies (design for recycling, design for disassembly, and design for substance reduction, for instance).

This is an interesting article and should provide a great deal of food for thought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2005. Vol. 16, no 3, 65-72 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-1682DOI: 10.1111/j.1948-7169.2005.tb00205.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-1682DiVA: diva2:31958
Available from: 2007-08-08 Created: 2007-08-08 Last updated: 2013-02-20

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