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Challenges 2016, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/challe7010005

Bridging the Gap between Eco-Design and the Human Thinking System

1
Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology, 190 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, USA
2
Fine Design LLC., 16192 Coastal Highway, Lewes, DE 19959, USA
3
Department of Public Policy, Rochester Institute of Technology, 92 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: William Bullock and Joy J. Scrogum
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Waste — Impact, Policy and Green Design)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2379 KB, uploaded 10 March 2016]   |  

Abstract

Technological progress has enabled widespread adoption and use of consumer electronics, changing how global society lives and works. This progress has come with immense environmental cost, including extraction of scarce materials, consumption of fossil fuels, and growing e-waste challenges. Eco-design has emerged as a promising approach to reduce the environmental footprint of electronics by integrating sustainability-oriented decisions early in the product realization process. However, most approaches focus on the product itself, not on the consumer who ultimately decides how to purchase, use, maintain, and dispose of the device. This article presents a new framework to guide designers in developing products with features that encourage consumers to use them in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Sustainable Behavior Design (SBD) framework links common design concepts (ergonomic, emotional, preventative, and interaction design) with core aspects of the human thinking system to create features to make users aware of their behavior and decisions (reflective thinking) or result in sustainable behaviors even when users are unaware (automatic thinking). The SBD framework is demonstrated using a case study on a smartphone, a high demand product. The reimagined smartphone design integrates solutions addressing both automatic and reflective thinking systems, potentially reducing life cycle impacts by almost 30%. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic products; energy; sustainable design; human thinking system; consumer behavior electronic products; energy; sustainable design; human thinking system; consumer behavior
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Komeijani, M.; Ryen, E.G.; Babbitt, C.W. Bridging the Gap between Eco-Design and the Human Thinking System. Challenges 2016, 7, 5.

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