Sustainability and Life Cycle Product Design

  • Deborah Thurston
  • Sara BehdadEmail author
Part of the Women in Engineering and Science book series (WES)


This chapter addresses problems that arise during product design for sustainability and the life cycle. A description of the problem itself is provided from an industrial engineering viewpoint. The first section describes the problem elements, including the need to expand the set of conflicting objectives under consideration, the need to consider the entire product life cycle, the need to employ new data acquisition tools, and the need to investigate the complex role of consumer behavior before, during, and after the point of purchase. Subsequent sections summarize work the authors have done towards solving these problems. A general mathematical programming framework is first presented. Then, the chapter highlightes several instances of the benefits of bringing the logic and mathematical rigor of industrial engineering methods to these problems. The authors’ previous contributions to sustainable design are presented and include defining the concept of the product life cycle from a decision-based design point of view, developing different types of decision-making techniques for engineering design (both subjective and objective), normative decision analytic methods (e.g., multiattribute utility, constrained optimization), methods for environmentally conscious design to cover new environmental objectives (e.g., connection of design with the end-of-use phase), and immersive computing technologies to address challenges with information-intensive design procedures. The final section presents methods to consider heterogeneous consumer behavior during product selection, use, and disposal.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation—USA under grants DMI-9528627, DMI-9908406, DMI-0726934, CMMI-1100177, CMMI-1068926, CMMI-1435908, CMMI-1727190, and CBET-1705621. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Industrial and Enterprise Systems EngineeringUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity at Buffalo, SUNYBuffaloUSA

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