Eco-innovation
  What is Eco-innovation   Principles of design for eco-innovation   Eco-innovation resources
  Principles of design for eco-innovation
 
    To support understanding of the eco-innovation challenge, four fundamental principles where developed:

  1. Design in potential: by creating products that embed the maximum eco-innovation potential across their lifecycle.
  2. Service performance: by offering & supporting services that realise designed-in eco-innovation potential.
  3. Recirculate value: by managing and supporting systems that retain and reuse value
  4. Return resources: by supporting recovery that restores and returns resource value
 


1. Design in potential: by creating products that embed the maximum eco-innovation potential across their lifecycle - other than designing the most resource-lite product through minimising the material content and optimising process efficiencies, strategies to mitigate resource consumption are dependent on lifecycle actions predominantly in use through to final disposal. To maximise the potential for resource/environmental impact mitigation within the design specification, lighting products must align the most manifest performance criteria of energy efficiency and longevity, with serviceability, reusability, recoverability and recyclability, only then can a lifecyle optimised product be realised.

2. Service performance: by offering & supporting services that realise designed-in eco-innovation potential – designer manufacturers are the eminent experts in the performance of their lighting system, and best placed to realise the value in supporting its use. The Philips ’Pay per Lux’ model [1] shows how performance can be more important than ownership, and longer-term service-orientated financial models are potentially more attractive than high initial costs for ownership. While the performance requirements and ownership risks/costs are all factors in the viability of service-derived value, there is potentially great-untapped opportunity in the smart technology enablers for lighting product service systems. The aim is to retain the embedded value of enhanced material performance and longer lasting products through support services.

3. Recirculate value: by managing and supporting the reuse systems – the waste hierarchy prioritises reuse through giving products and components a second/multiple life before they become waste. The reuse potential and reuse value for some LED technologies might seem limited due to market and operational circumstances, this is acute for general lighting applications that are normally a fixed appliance/assets within a building whose ownership passes with changed ownership of the building. In the case of screen backlight application (i.e. laptops, TVs, mobile phones) reuse may be considered unviable due to rapid technical obsolescence and high labour costs of reuse systems (WP5). There rests the challenges for lighting designers and business strategists, to design-in attributes that slow the rate of resource degradation and valorise the socio-economic benefits of reuse models. The challenge also sits with the governance of infrastructure and technology systems that are the gatekeepers of circular value. There is evidence of the social benefits of reuse feeding policy in the EU and regionally [2] with the recognition of reuse and preparation for reuse affording opportunity for job creation and training and offering extended opportunities for the social economy.

4. Return resources: by supporting recovery that restores and returns value - another challenge for design is the recovery of the value added by manufacturers through the conversion of material properties into product functions (design and manufacture). The case to revalue ‘waste’ as a resource is clear, with opportunities to do so often reliant on the availability and viability of technical processes to close the material loop. The design should be optimised for resource recovery where possible exclusive of predestined loss of material performance/value (i.e. conjoined biological & technological composite materials) and to support paths with least system losses (i.e. design for mechanical separation if shredding is the default process). Therefore the restoration of value prioritises the upcycling of resources where possible.

 

[1] For more information please contact: Phil Harfield (phil at edcw dot org) or Thomas Vandenhaute (Thomas dot Vandenhaute at sirris dot be)

[2] The ‘Towards Zero Waste’ and ‘Circular Economy’ identify the social benefits gained by reuse.See here