‘ConcepTe’: Supporting Environmentally Benign Design Decision-Making at Conceptual Stage

  • Shakuntala AcharyaEmail author
  • Amaresh Chakrabarti
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 134)


Decisions with respect to product characteristics and life cycle processes, which in turn determine the product’s environmental footprint, are mostly made during the conceptual design stage. Therefore, it is the ideal stage to support design decision-making with respect to reducing the environmental impact of the solution, as is the aim of environmentally benign design. However, availability of impact assessment and design tools, which accommodate the inherent abstraction and lack of knowledge characteristic of this stage, is poor. Also, currently designers are unable to utilise design guidelines and assessment reports owing to poor understanding and need of expertise to incorporate these results into the design process. Thus, ‘concepTe’ (conceptual design Tool for environmentally benign design) is envisioned to aids environmental impact (EI) estimation of conceptual solutions, upon considering its inherent uncertainties, and supports effective communication of these results in a language and at the same level of abstraction in which the solution has been conceptualised by the designer. This paper discusses the development of a ‘proof of concept’ of the intended tool which supports selection of the most environmentally benign solution as concept upon evaluation of several variants, i.e. decision-making, at conceptual design stage. The paper further elucidates the effectiveness of the tool to support environmentally benign design decision-making during conceptual design process, through preliminary empirical studies.


Eco-design Design for sustainability Decision-making Design tool 


  1. 1.
    Kemper, L.E., Wei, C., Linda, S.C.: Decision Making in Engineering Design, ASME, New York, Chap. 2–3; [2] (2006)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Krishnan, V., Ulrich, K.T.: Product development decisions: a review of the literature. Manag. sci. 47(1), 1–21 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pahl, G., Beitz, W.: Engineering Design: A Systematic Approach. Springer-Verlag, UK (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ullman, D.G.: The Mechanical Design Process. McGraw-Hill (1997)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cross, N.: Engineering Design Methods—Strategies for Product Design. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK (2000)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lindahl, M.: Designer’s utilization of DfE methods. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Sustainable Consumption, Tokyo (2003)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    ISO 14040: 2006. Environmental management – life cycle assessment – principles and framework. CEN (European Committee for Standardisation), BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    March, J.G.: Understanding how decisions happen in organizations. Organizational decision making 10, 9–32 (1997)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Montelisciani, G., Gabelloni, D., Fantoni, G.: Developing integrated sustainable product-process-service systems at the early product design stages. Int. J. Sustain. Manuf. 3(4), 310–332 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    O’Shea, M.A.: Design for Environment in conceptual product design–a decision model to reflect environmental issues of all life-cycle phases. J. Sustain. Prod. Des. 2(1–2), 11–28 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dewulf, W., Duflou, J.: ECO-PAS—estimating the environmental performance of conceptual designs using parametric modelling. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED (Vol. 3) (2003)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hofstetter, P., Lippiatt, B.C., Bare, J.C., Rushing, A.S.: User preferences for life-cycle decision support tools: Evaluation of a survey of BEES users.NIST source (2002)
  13. 13.
    Acharya, S., Chakrabarti, A.: Supporting environmentally-benign design: environmental impact estimation and uncertainty categories with respect to life cycle assessment in conceptual design. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Research into Design (pp. 3–18). Springer, Singapore (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Acharya, S., Chakrabarti, A.:. Supporting environmentally-benign design: elucidating environmental propagation in conceptual design by SAPPhIRE model of causality. In: Proceedings of International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED’15). Milan, Italy (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations