Intergration of sustainability and the design process

I am still relativelly new to sustainability which is why I would like to discuss some effective ways of intergrating sustainability into the design process. Because the descisions we make in regards to form, function, material and process selection could have a significant effect on the environment.

I have used some LCA tools like greenfly and others and found it to still be a long process of sifting through lots of information which brought up more questions rather than helping me make my descision. To me, LCA tools are used during the refinement stage of the process. One has to have a very clear direction of the products specifics. Other than LCA tools often I find myself refering to books and eco design websites as sources of inspiration.The Eco design handbook is an exellent source of sustainable design ideas because it provides benchmarks of actual products.

I was wondering how designers have intergrated sustainability into their design process?

Do we do it throughout all stages of the design process? Conceptual? Refinement? Production?

Hello Camingo,

I exactly have the same questions.

In theory and to be more efficient, sustainability should be integrated at every stage of the process, from the concept to the production and even further (recycling…)

But most of the time, it is either done during the production stage (change of materials) and sometime not even by the designer himself but by some ingineer.

One way to resolve that would be for the design manager to help designers focus on the matter by both talking about it with the client and changing the way the process is managed.

I am doing a surveyon that matter here : ECO-DESIGN MANAGEMENT SURVEY, so feel free to contribute if you are interested!