In recent years there has been a growing interest in making products more environmentally benign. Until now public policy has focused mainly on industrial waste streams and end-of-pipe problems and paid little or no attention to the design and development stage of a product’s life-cycle. With the increasing threat of legislation and pressure from consumers, companies are quickly having to incorporate environmental considerations into their practices without first having a full understanding of the subject. There seems to be no time to gradually learn about environmental issues; the answers must be ready immediately. Product designers are in a unique position within the product development process and through design have an unrivalled opportunity to address environmental issues. Problems arise however when designers, who already work to tight constraints, have to make complex value judgements and deal with the real uncertainties which surround many environmental decisions. It is unrealistic to expect designers to become environmental experts in their own right but there is now a responsibility on designers to be aware of the environmental problems which are particular to the area in which they work. Along with this responsibility comes the need for relevant information and strategies through which this information may be integrated into decision making at the design stage. Until recently the most that many companies have been able to do is to appoint an environmental co-ordinator and to support the mechanism to increase awareness within the organisation. This has been successful in providing single-issue environmental solutions and in raising general environmental interest and awareness in the company. World-wide, industry has some pockets of expertise in the practice of environmentally conscious design but to date little research has been conducted to build models of decision making in this commercially significant area. By building and testing a model of decision making for environmentally conscious design we can increase the quality and validity of the tools developed to support both designers and design management, and so increase both environmental and economic performance for companies. At the end of the day, if environmental considerations are to be successfully implemented into the design process they must be understood by, and fit into the practices of the product designer. Preliminary findings from a research project in this area (entitled “DEEDS”) will be presented to explain how this method of incorporation is being trailed in two companies.
|Title of host publication||Material World II : TEN Conference (Textile Environmental Network)|
|Place of Publication||Birmingham|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|
|Event||Material World II : TEN Conference - Birmingham|
Duration: 1 Jan 1996 → …
|Conference||Material World II : TEN Conference|
|Period||01/01/1996 → …|