Design for environment: Methodologies, tools, and implementation

Junning Sun, Bin Han, Stephen Ekwaro-Osire, Hong Chao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Design for Environment (DfE) optimizes the relationship and interaction of the economic system and the environmental system, and strives to produce a sustainable development and enterprise integration. The driving force behind DfE includes customers, international agencies, and governmental agencies, who are all stake holders in the environmental well being. The methodologies and tools of DfE generally fall under three loose categories, namely, decision making, design support, and material flow. In DfE, there are a number of enablers for decision making, examples of which include end-of-life strategies and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). With the development of DfE, sophisticated design support methodologies and tools are necessary for the early stage of design regarding the environmental impact, working as guidance to the design engineers. The three main design support constituents, discussed in this paper, include LCA, Design for Disassembly, and Expert Systems. Environmental impact resulting from modern industry has spurred interest in the material and energy flows of industry systems. These flows are viewed not only to be fundamental to environmental problems, but also as agents of financial success. The scope of DfE has three elements, namely, strategy, guidelines and procedures, and application. It is noted that the next frontier of DfE is the incorporation of society models that include technology, government, customers, recyclers, and their respective interaction. This paper presents recent developments and current activities of DfE, specifically, the areas of decisionmaking, design support, material flow analysis and application. Additionally, a brief discussion of future trends is presented and observations are made on how to further realize DfE in industry and in the entire society while protecting the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Integrated Design and Process Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Design for environment
  • Dfe
  • Implementation
  • Tools


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