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Adding quality of life to design for Eco-Efficiency

D'Anna, Walter, Cascini, Gaetano
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.112 pp. 3211-3221
case studies, design for environment, eco-efficiency, product development, quality of life
This paper aims at contributing to Eco-Efficiency and Design for Sustainability by debating on the impact of design choices on Quality of Life. During the last two decades Eco-Efficiency has been characterized by an unbalanced evolution: the progression of scientific knowledge and industrial practice on resources assessment has not been followed by an equivalent attention to the contribution of product functionality and related performance to users' quality of life. Starting from this consideration, the paper highlights that by concentrating resources on attributes that effectively improve the quality of life, a company would be able to enhance product sustainability. Actually, the typical background of a product designer is often limited in terms of specific tools and techniques for sustainability practices, and certainly there is a lack of means to analyze the relationship between customer requirements and product impact on customer's life. The present work proposes to connect the ultimate objectives of design, quality of life or well being, to product requirements, with the aim of maximizing their proper fulfillment within a sustainable approach. The proposed prototype procedure drives the development team to consider the final effect of each characteristic of the product within the customer's life and assists the selection of different conceptual solutions. A case study related to Beauty and Grooming illustrates the proposed procedure and allows to discuss its potential and limits.