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Design for environment

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'Design for Environment' (DFE) is an umbrella term describing techniques used to incorporate an environmental component into products and services before they enter the production phase.

DFE seeks to discover product innovations that will meet cost and performance objectives while reducing pollution and waste throughout the life-cycle.

A wide variety of techniques are available, and they fall into two broad categories:

1. Techniques that are used to identify the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle such as life-cycle assessment;

2. Techniques that help designers improve the environmental performance of their products.

Analysis tools can be used to identify broad environmental issues, but improvement techniques are needed in order to solve any problems identified.

The most common DFE practices used include:

  • design for recycling;
  • design for disassembly;
  • design for energy efficiency;
  • design for remanufacture;
  • design for disposability;
  • hazardous material minimization.

Design plays a crucial role in the innovation of environmentally responsible products. That function can take the form of either DFE strategies or concept demonstrators.

DFE strategies are sufficiently broad to be used at the product planning and problem definition stage of the design process. Concept demonstrators, on the other hand, are a tangible vision of the possible product of the future.

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