Research in the Eco-Design Lab focuses on developing and testing environmental design solutions aimed at reducing the environmental impact of high-tech products – like consumer electronics – through solutions that minimize resource use, energy demand, emission generation, and waste creation across a product’s life cycle while maximizing innovation, entrepreneurial potential, and economic opportunities. The lab also doubles as an educational space for interdisciplinary sustainable design studio courses in which teams of students from disciplines across campus work collaboratively to understand and apply sustainable design methods. The lab space can also be configured for students to build and test working models and prototypes for technologies that are responsive to global sustainability challenges.
Eco-design activities include:
- Reverse-engineering of consumer electronics to identify components and materials that contribute to the product’s environmental impact.
- Measurement of the degree to which products can be disassembled for recycling and material recovery.
- Analyzation of the effectiveness of design strategies using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods.
- Rapid prototyping of new design features to test performance and consumer acceptance.