Life Cycle Design Guidance Manual: Environmental Requirements and the Product System
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory and the University of Michigan are cooperating in a project to reduce environmental impacts and health risks through product system design. The resulting framework for life cycle design is presented in Life Cycle Design Manual: Environmental Requirements and the Product System. Environmental requirements in life cycle design are chosen to minimize aggregate resource depletion, energy use, waste generation, and deleterious human and ecosystem health effects.
The manual adopts a systems-oriented approach based on the product life cycle. A product life cycle includes raw materials acquisition, bulk and engineered materials processing, manufacturing/assembly, use/service, retirement, and disposal. Design activities address the product system, which includes product, process, distribution, and management/information components.
Integrating environmental requirements into the earliest stages of design is a fundamental tenet of life cycle design. Concepts such as concurrent design, total quality management, cross-disciplinary teams, and total cost assessment are also essential elements of the framework. A multilayer requirements matrix is proposed to balance environmental, performance, cost, cultural, and legal requirements. The following design strategies for pollution prevention and resource conservation are presented: product life extension, material life extension, material selection, reduced material intensiveness, process management, efficient distribution, and improved business management (which includes information provision). Environmental analysis tools for developing requirements and evaluating design alternatives are outlined.