• Environmental redesign of existing systems (choosing low impact materials and energy) • Designing new products and services (substituting old systems with more environmentally sustainable ones) • Designing new production–consumption systems (offering intrinsically sustainable satisfaction of needs and desires) • Creating new scenarios for sustainable life style. Environmental redesign of existing systems: considering the life cycle of the examined product, it attempts to improve global efficiency with the selection of low impact materials and energy sources. The first stage thus entails mainly technological characteristics (e. g. atoxical, renewable, biodegradable, recyclable resources) and does not require actual changes in consumer behaviour or life style. Here, references to social components or the market are limited to a common ecological sensibility spread in the demand–supply of environmentally sustainable goods, choosing between otherwise similar products (mainly the cases in which environmental labels are put to use). Its limits lie in the need to position the low impact product solutions in the system that is developed and founded by sources without any environmental concern. More of the propositions active today (or already in the elaborative stage) act on following level: from those promoted by the main producers (as in the field of home appliances or cars, just to name a few more important cases) through those developed by research centres, to those promoted by single designers or small- and medium-scale companies motivated by good-will. Designing new products and services: considering a given demand for efficiency, it attempts to develop new products and services that could environmentally succeed the existing ones. It entails the adoption of an approach and tools orientated to regard every possible environmental implication connected with every stage of a project’s life cycle (pre-production, production, distribution, use and disposal) until the final phase of the project, and to minimise negative effects. For this approach the term Life Cycle Design has been coined. The second level intervention requires the new propositions to be recognised as valid and socially acceptable. Operating on this level of technical-productive innovation can be more easily directed towards environmentally qualitative research, if existing products can no longer be redesigned. Although it does not question the result-orientated demand it refers to, it is still necessary to expect difficulties introducing environmentally sound products and services into a cultural and behavioural context that is based on different expectations and values. Significantly few concrete initiatives are active on this level, though some cases of great interest can be seen on the horizon. Designing new product service systems: considering the demand for satisfaction as variable, it attempts to offer different (and more sustainable) ways of obtaining results that could become socially appreciated and at the same time radically favourable for the environment.
Published on Nov 17, 2010
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