In this area we show you how we implement ECODESIGN together with business and research partners. The process consists of five steps which are applicable to product improvements as well as new developments. Click on each step for additional information. To deepen your knowledge about the ECODESIGN process we recommend the books "ECODESIGN Implementation“ and "ECODESIGN PILOT".
"ECODESIGN refers to a process that, through an intelligent utilization of available resources, aims at designing technology and organization in such a way as to ensure maximum benefit for all actors involved and at consumer satisfaction, while causing only minimum environmental impact.."
The holistic ECODESIGN-approach takes the whole product life cycle into account. The ECODESIGN-spectrum ranges from the minimisation of environmental impacts of a single product to the optimisation of whole socio-economic product systems including their use phase. In this case, the production and sale of goods is no longer in the forefront of a companies' business, rather than the use for the consumer.
The following initiatives/methods are integral parts of our understanding of ECODESIGN:
- The european ErP-Directive establishes the legal framework for sustainable product design. Whilst the first draft of 2005 only addressed the energy efficiency of electronic devices (EuP - Energy using Products), the scope of the directive was expanded to Energy related Products (ErP) in 2009. On the basis of this framework, product-specific standards are continuously developed. Here you can find the ongoing working plan for the years 2016-2019 PDF.
- The Circular Economy can best be understood as an alternative model to our currently dominant throw-away society. It describes a restorative and regenerative system, where products, components and resources are kept at their highest utility and value at all times whilst waste is minimised. By making use of product design principles such as cascade use, remanufacturing, reparability or modularity the resource and energy use of products and services can be reduced substantially. The term is well known, due to the EUs Circular Economy Action Plan and due to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
- A potentially important role for a sustainable development can be attributed to resource-efficient product service systems. Business models, which are based on the principle "Use rather than own" are investigated in a number of ongoing and completed research projects (e.g. PSS-Systems, sustainablySMART, etc.)
- When dealing with sustainability assessment we focus on established standards like the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA, ISO 14040) and the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF, ISO 14047; to the ISO 14000 Standards). On the european level, new methodological assessment standards like the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) are currently in development.
© research group Ecodesign TU Wien
As a holistic approach ECODESIGN examines the whole life cycle of products, which can be divided into five different stages. Related questions are:
Use of raw materials
- Which raw materials are being used?
- Which upstream chains are required for these raw materials?
- How much energy is being cunsumed for these processes
- What kind of operating materials are needed for the production process?
- How much energy is required and from which sources is it generated?
- What kind of packaging materials are being used and how recyclable are these?
- Which means of transport are used for the products distribution?
- How energy efficient is the product in its use phase?
- Is the product easy to maintain?
- How long is the products lifetime?
End of life
- Is the product, or parts of it, reusable?
- Does the product contain materials which are problematic to dispose?
- Which basic materials are recycable?
© research group Ecdesign TU Wien
Depending on the product type and the considered impact categories (e.g. carbon footprint, cumulative energy demand, resource footprint) the analysis results in a specific environmental profile (see chart). A product, where most of the environmental impacts occur during the production phase is classified as basic type B. The different types of products can easily be identified with the ECODESIGN Assistant, opens in new window. The ECODESIGN PILOT, opens an external URL in a new window helps you to find fitting strategies and measures based on the environmental profile.
As a part of the product development process, ECODESIGN directly influences the whole life cycle of products. It therefore is an integral instrument for combating climate change. Currently, we "use" much more environment (energy and resources) than available. Especially products with high sales figures can have a substantial impact regarding their environmental footprint.
ECODESIGN products and services are flexible, reliable, durable, adaptable, modular, degradable and reusable. In addition to proving economical reasonability and social compatibility, these products represent an ecological necessity. Products are omnipresent - we are using them daily. As outcome of this you can imagine the big influence and responsible position a product manager, product developer, designer,... has.
Following the links below, you can find examples of innovative ECODESIGN products and services.
© federal award ecodesign
The German Federal Ecodesign Award, opens an external URL in a new window yearly honours the categories product, service, concept and young talent.
© Ecodesign EEG Pilot
The website ecodesign-beispiele.at , opens an external URL in a new windowoffers a wide range of innovative product and service examples from various categories. The site serves as a consumer information database and a business communication platform respectively.