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  • Integrating thermodynamics and biology for sustainable product lifecycle design

Conti, Matteo, 2012, Conference or Workshop, Integrating thermodynamics and biology for sustainable product lifecycle design at Sustainable Innovation 2012 – Resource Efficiency, Innovation and Lifestyles; Towards Sustainable Product Design: 17th International Conference, Bonn, Germany: Alanus University, 29–30 October.

Abstract or Description:

This paper exposes the search for an intuitive soft modelling tool that considers multiple and complex factors to achieve long-term sustainability and inspire the innovation of businesses and systems from a biophysical perspective. The aim is to enable the creation of a pre-analytic vision so that sustainability issues are revealed in response to the designer’s creativity and innovation.
The principal research question was how to seek long-term sustainability through decoupling, i.e. ‘reducing the rate of use of resources per unit of economic activity’ (UNEP 2011; OECD 2002). A number of tools and guides have been created to improve the product’s sustainability but these are dependent on individual designers’ ability to process large amounts of complex data. It follows that the exploration of the complex factors involved in the lifecycle of a product requires this proposed new user-friendly tool.
By understanding the principles of long-term sustainability in natural systems, macroeconomics and trophic economics, a pre-analytical vision is implemented through the forthcoming realisation of the trophic software. This tool integrates, in an easily digestible form, relevant economic, social, demographic and ecosystems information about the countries involved in any given product-development simulation. This Web-based application was tested in 2013 by academia and industry to gather data that will enable better understanding of the impacts on product and business design.
This paper, jointly written by Conti with Martinez (whose PhD was co-supervised by Conti), English and Hilton, builds on the research work published through a conference paper, ‘Integrating thermodynamics and biology for sustainable product lifecycle design’. The structure, content and interface of the envisioned software tool have been devised to allow its actual realisation. It is thought that this research will catalyse further discussions about the approaches taken by the design community and the future possibilities for design professionals.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2013 12:27
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2014 11:27
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1492

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