Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Greener industry on the horizon

Better tools to develop more eco-friendly products could help promote sustainability, energy efficiency and even cost effectiveness.
Greener industry on the horizon
In a planet marred by global warming, heavy exploitation of natural resources and a rapidly growing population, thinking sustainability has become a prerequisite for our survival. Apart from shifting to cleaner energy sources and adopting greener practices on every level, our industry needs to become more ecologically sound while remaining competitive. This is especially important since early design decisions influence 70-80 % of total product cost and its environmental impacts.

The EU-funded G.EN.ESI (Integrated software platform for green engineering design and product sustainability) project developed a software design platform to help product designers make more ecological design choices. It outlined ways to assist industry design and engineering departments to bridge the gap between environmental design and management.

G.EN.ESI's proposed six-step methodology for product designers begins by helping industry to define environmental drivers and business objectives. It then empowers designers to implement a life-cycle approach for identifying environmental impacts in order to define design criteria of new products. The subsequent steps involve design development that meets the design criteria and incorporation of life-cycle checks throughout the design development. The methodology is completed with a review of the design development process and achievements, as well as a review of the company's long-term strategy with respect to the new products.

Armed with this approach, the project successfully built a comprehensive suite of interoperable software tools that enables users to integrate environmental considerations and product life-cycle integration into product design. Specifically, the platform features environmental life-cycle assessment and costing tools while supporting energy efficiency during product use. It also supports environmental and cost efficiency during transportation, as well as end-of-life dismantling. The platform supports the consideration and selection of eco-friendly materials and processes to create greener products.

Lastly, G.EN.ESI launched its online Education Centre – a library of learning, teaching and training materials – to further the adoption of eco-design in industry. Most of the information available can be downloaded from the project website. Thanks to the project's achievements, the ability of companies to evaluate the environmental profile of a product at an early stage will surely increase the adoption of eco-design in Europe and beyond.

Related information


Eco-friendly, sustainability, environmental impacts, green engineering, product sustainability, ecological
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