:: Eco-Design Tools - Print Version

Eco-Indicator - download the Eco-Indicator worksheets (Word Document, 242 kB)
sophisticated tool is more detailed and is aimed at groups of A2 students. It involves some qualitative analysis of products or designs allowing you to calculate their environmental and social impacts.

Ask your teacher if some assistance is required for the mathematical calculations involved. This activity takes into account human health, ecosystem quality and use of resources. The impact that different stages of the life-cycle (production, use and disposal).

The activity
• The Eco-indicator is a table listing the material or process, the amount, the Eco-indicator value and the eco-points for each aspect of the life-cycle.

It is split into three sections:

1) Production raw materials (e.g. polystyrene), Processing & manufacture (e.g. injection moulding)
Transportation of product
(e.g. shipping), Energy in use (e.g. electricity), Consumables in use (e.g. paper)

Produce a list of component parts by disassembling a product and identifying materials & processes that make each part, finding the weight (in kgs) of each part.
Start to add each element to the correct section on the table.
• The product elements are each quantified in relevant units (raw materials in kgs, electricity in kWh, shipping in tkm etc) and these figures can be filled in on the table.
Find out the Eco-indicator value for each product element. Then multiply the weight of each of the product elements by its Eco-indicator value to give its eco-points.
The higher the points, the worse the environmental impact of that element.

• The total number of eco-points can then be calculated for each life-cycle stage and graphs can be drawn.
Discuss which elements and stages of the products life-cycle cause most impact and can be focused on during redesign activities.

Download the Eco Indicator Worksheets (Word Document, 242 kB)

Eco-indicator values are numbers assigned to every material and process used by designers and can be found in a series of tables available from the Pre website (http://www.pre.nl) in the ‘Manual for Designers’.

The Eco-indicator value indicates a material’s or an action’s impact based on its effects on:
Human health (e.g. mercury would score many points)
Ecosystem quality (e.g. anything with a toxic by-product scores many points)
Resources (e.g. use of renewable resources scores few points)