Design Strategies

The following strategies can be used in the design and development of products to help improve their sustainability. They have been selected as strategies that can usually be relied upon to provide a beneficial effect, and can therefore help designers with little or no experience of sustainable design to design more sustainable products.

However, every product is different and has different requirements, so strategies should be considered and selected with care to ensure that they have the desired effect.

The table below lists the strategies with an indication of which aspects of sustainability they might help to address, and link through to more detailed explanations. The table can also be used as a sustainable design checklist in the design process.

 

Strategy

Benefits

Y/N?

1 Design the Business System First environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
2 Clarify Core Functions environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
3 Select Responsible Suppliers environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
4 Product Service Systems environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
5 Multi-functionalism
environmental sustainability  
6 Modularisation environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
7 Minimise Material Variety environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
8 Weight Reduction environmental sustainability  
9 Recyclable Materials environmental sustainability  
10 Recycled Materials environmental sustainability  
11 Biodegradable Materials environmental sustainability  
12 Renewable Materials environmental sustainability  
13 Minimise Composites environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
14 Avoid Hazardous & Toxic Materials/Substances environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
15 Low Embodied Energy Materials environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
16 Minimise Material Contamination environmental sustainability  
17 Identify/Label Materials environmental sustainability  
18 Avoid Glass environmental sustainability  
19 Look for Synergies environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
20 Aim for Maximum Efficiency environmental sustainability  
21 Design for Part Load Operation environmental sustainability  
22 Efficient Processes environmental sustainability  
23 Plan for Continual Improvement environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
24 Minimise Leaks environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
25 Minimise Cycling Losses environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
26 Renewable Energy environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
27 Rechargeable Batteries environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
28 Feedback Mechanisms environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainability  
29 Reduce Transportation environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
30 Simplification environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
31 Integrate Packaging Design environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
32 Durability environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
33 Re-Usability environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
34 Remanufacture environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
35 Design for Disassembly environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
36 Maintenance environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
37 Reduce Consumables environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
38 Integrate Disposal Instructions environmental sustainability  
39 Use Waste Products environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
40 Closed Life Cycle Design environmental sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
41 Design Products to be Loveable environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
42 Rewrite the Brief environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
43 Start with a Blank Sheet of Paper environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability  
44 Change Consumer Behaviour environmental sustainabilitysocial sustainabilityfinancial sustainability