Research Projects

Methodology and Tool Development for Sustainable Product Design

This project aims at the development of sustainable design (eco-design) methods, tools and solutions for local manufacturing industry to model, assess and improve the product life cycle performance in environmental impact reduction, cost control, and legislation compliance. By integrating the LCA/LCC (Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing) technologies into the product innovation process, the eco-design solutions provide sustainability assessment metrics, life cycle inventory databases, cost analysis methods and models, and eco-design supporting tools for designers and engineers to translate balanced life cycle considerations into sustainable product innovations.


SolutionThis project provides an eco-design framework consisting of life cycle sustainability metrics and indicators, life cycle inventory databases, cost estimation models, and eco-design assistant tools for design options comparison, materials/substances compliance checking, and decisions support in product innovation. In particular, the eco-design assistant tools enable designers and engineers to calculate, compare, and select design alternatives with different consumption levels of energy, materials and resources to minimise the product life cycle environmental impacts and total costs.

BenefitsLCA and LCC are the enabling technologies used for the development of this eco-design approach. LCA is used to identify, quantify, evaluate and prioritise potential environmental impacts directly attributable to sustainability of a product throughout its life cycle. LCC provides systematic methods to define cost elements, formalise cost estimation functions, and establish life cycle cost models. The integration of LCA and LCC into distinctive product development processes enables the customisation of the eco-design solutions to generate highly targeted and flexible methods and models according to the characteristics of products and processes in a company.

Patents / Awards / Achievements / DifferentiationLCA and LCC are the enabling technologies used for the development of this eco-design approach. LCA is used to identify, quantify, evaluate and prioritise potential environmental impacts directly attributable to sustainability of a product throughout its life cycle. LCC provides systematic methods to define cost elements, formalise cost estimation functions, and establish life cycle cost models. The integration of LCA and LCC into distinctive product development processes enables the customisation of the eco-design solutions to generate highly targeted and flexible methods and models according to the characteristics of products and processes in a company.

Applications
  • Life cycle assessment of biodegradable packaging materials and products
  • Eco-design and green label for consumer electronic products
  • Environmental and cost assessment of manufacturing processes
Problems Addressed

The manufacturing industry has come under increased pressure on sustainable product development from demanding customers and from the stricter international environmental legislations. Manufacturers, who compete in the global market for product advantages in economic cost, environmental performance and regulations compliance, have to address the sustainability issues with new product life cycle technologies. However, many of these technologies are currently not available for designers’ use in decision-making, because of their complexity and their huge amount of quantitative life cycle inventory data required. Leveraging the potential of Singapore manufacturing industry for sustainable growth by providing designers and engineers with the integrated life cycle technologies and easy-to-use solution tools is the main objective of this project to enhance the local manufacturing SMEs’ sustainability and competitiveness.