The Ecodesign web can be as flexible as you need it to be. Don't feel you need to start at Materials selection and work round clockwise - simply pick a place to start.
If you find that some areas which you'd like to focus on are missing - add them in. For a project on refillable packaging we added in manufacture and removed product life because in this case we wanted to compare 3 products with the same product life.
The Ecodesign web is also a great mechanism for encouraging a conversation - we've found that using is as a template it opens up all nature of discussions around each area. We often end up scribbling around the web and recording as much info as possible.
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The Ecodesign Web works by comparing the seven design areas with each other to identify a ‘better than’/ ‘worse than’ output. Using the downloadable template designers work through the seven sections of the web estimating how good or bad the selected product is in that area. The estimated rating should be marked on the web with a cross. When the activity is complete, the crosses should be joined together, and the shape created will illustrate which areas need the most attention. The image below presents a completed Ecodesign web for the isotonic drink shown to the side.
[Completed Ecodesign web for Boots Isotonic drink © Loughborough University, 2005]
Having carried out the Ecodesign Web analysis designers should focus on improving the areas which are highlighted. The Ecodesign web can be carried out again to compare new ideas against the original. The image below shows a redesign concept for the Boots Isotonic drink and its associated Ecodesign Web.
[Completed Ecodesign web for a new Isotonic drink bottle concept © Loughborough University, 2005]
The ecodesign web has been adapted by Dr. Vicky Lofthouse and Dr. Tracy Bhamra, Loughborough University (2003) from the LiDS wheel originally developed by van Hemel, C. (1998) EcoDesign empirically explored - Design for Environment in Dutch small and medium sized enterprises, Delft University of Technology, Delft. Doctoral Thesis.
If you feel you need more support in coming to grips with any of the eco-design tools featured on this website, 1/2 day workshops are offered at very reasonable rates through the Sustainable Design Network (SDN).
For further information e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and outline what your query relates to.