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5 Minimising Resource Consumption

In the interests of clear understanding and an efficient supporting structure for designers, the guidelines are divided according to the nature of the resource: • Minimising materials consumption • Minimising energy consumption

5.2 Minimising Material Consumption This section illustrates the guidelines for minimising not only the materials used for and by the product, but also the scrap and discards created during the production of goods and their packaging, including material consumption during the design process. In particular the following guidelines will be illustrated: • • • • •

Minimising material content Minimising scraps and discards Minimising or avoiding packaging Minimising materials consumption during usage Minimising materials consumption during the product development phase

5.2.1 Minimising Material Content Minimising the material content is considered, as said above, to be in compliance with the function employed by the product. Without going into discussing what is actually functional and what is not, it should be noted that it is important to define the functions critically, regarding them in the social, cultural, and economical context in which the saving will assume a new and valuable position. The minimisation starts from thinning down the sides of the component (together with employing certain geometrical forms that would preserve the necessary rigidity) and finishes with the actual dematerialisation, e. g. if it is possible to substitute the hardware for software. Miniaturisation is another interesting tendency, since technological development has allowed, especially in the electronics field (microelectronics), to reduce drastically the amount of necessary materials required by a certain function. An additional analysis has to be undertaken whenever the constituent materials are substituted by another4, e. g. the thickness optimisation has to be recalculated. 4

As in the case of exchanging metal parts for plastic ones.

Design for Environmental Sustainability  

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