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5 Steps to Eco Design: Improving the Environmental Performance of Products




Considering the potential environmental impacts of a product as part of the design process is fast becoming a primary design driver, with companies setting public, tangible, goals to reduce emissions and drive toward net-zero carbon emission targets.

Active board members and investors are demanding progress on their product’s sustainability, and engineers are quickly adapting to the urgent realities of eco design.

This white paper aims to provide a simple introduction to eco design through material-led design.

We start with some of the business drivers to help you evaluate investing in this area. In Section 2, drawing on our experience in helping companies implement eco design activities and tools, we present some of the challenges organizations often face when starting out in this area. In Section 3, we share five simple and practical tips that can help you and your organization implement eco design, whether you are a designer, engineer, environmental specialist, or someone involved in the management of product design or development. We introduce the Ansys Granta technology that can support your eco design activities in Section 4 before summarizing the key points for incorporating environmental sustainability into product design in Section 5.

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Consider environmental impact

By evaluating environmental performance during this early stage, the relative environmental costs of different options can be considered, in much the same way as economic costs or material suitability would be evaluated

Analyse the imprecise data

Engineers and designers who are used to the precision with which physical properties are measured can be disconcerted by the imprecision of eco data where values are, at best, known to within 10%

Consider the entire product system

Environmental performance is often significantly affected by how the user interacts with a product, how it is maintained, the operating environment, and whether it is the correct product for the user’s need

Choose the right materials

Material and process decisions play a very important role in determining the environmental impacts of a product across the life cycles

Targets and processes

Companies that have successfully implemented eco design often have long-term, corporate-level targets for improving environmental performance.