A Product’s Life Cycle

Last week we defined in part sustainable design as “the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability” with the intention of sustainable design being to eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design”. In theory, manifestations of sustainable design require no non-renewable resources, impact the environment minimally, and connect people with the natural environment.

I also raised the questions “Can Odoni-Elwell improve its environmental credentials through good design?” and “Does eco-design provide some, all or even any of the answer?”

I ended last week’s post by including an image of the Sustainable Design Cycle which considers the life cycle of products. It may appear obvious that to be increase our environmental credentials and go greener we must assess how green we are currently.

According to Sustainable Minds (2013)

75% of manufacturing costs are committed by the end of the concept phase”


“Operationalizing greener product design starts with bringing life cycle thinking and a whole product systems approach to the beginning of the design process. The result is innovative, greener products, cost savings by reducing re-engineering, and greater competitive advantage”


To assess the life cycle of a product we must:

  • Detail and explain the product and its components
  • Explore how it comes into being
  • Consider what happens to it at the end of its life?
  • Consider what are its upstream and downstream processes?

We have and are currently assessing the life cycle of our products as part of a project in collaboration with the Eco Design Centre. Next week we will being to look at the life cycle of one of our more popular products, the ST1 Bike Shelter.

Many thanks to Stuart Clarke, whose research and hard-work has made this post and all the posts over the next coming weeks possible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: