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Our Understanding of ECODESIGN

"ECODESIGN refers to a process that, through an intelligent utilization of available resources, aims at designing technology and organization in such a way as to ensure maximum benefit for all actors involved and at consumer satisfaction, while causing only minimum environmental impact.."

The holistic ECODESIGN-approach takes the whole product life cycle into account. The ECODESIGN-spectrum ranges from the minimisation of environmental impacts of a single product to the optimisation of whole socio-economic product systems including their use phase. In this case, the production and sale of goods is no longer in the forefront of a companies' business, rather than the use for the consumer.

The following initiatives/methods are integral parts of our understanding of ECODESIGN:

  • The european ErP-Directive establishes the legal framework for sustainable product design. Whilst the first draft of 2005 only addressed the energy efficiency of electronic devices (EuP - Energy using Products), the scope of the directive was expanded to Energy related Products (ErP) in 2009. On the basis of this framework, product-specific standards are continuously developed. Here you can find the ongoing working plan for the years 2016-2019.

  • The Circular Economy can best be understood as an alternative model to our currently dominant throw-away society. It describes a restorative and regenerative system, where products, components and resources are kept at their highest utility and value at all times whilst waste is minimised. By making use of product design principles such as cascade use, remanufacturing, reparability or modularity the resource and energy use of products and services can be reduced substantially. The term is well known, due to the EUs Circular Economy Action Plan and due to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

  • A potentially important role for a sustainable development can be attributed to resource-efficient product service systems. Business models, which are based on the principle "Use rather than own" are investigated in a number of ongoing and completed research projects (e.g. PSS-Systems, sustainablySMART, etc.)