Some guidelines are: 1) [material recovery and reuse] avoid composite materials, standardize materials and fasteners, specify recyclable materials; 2) [disassembly] facilitate means of component separation, avoid permanent attachments of dissimilar materials such as welds; 3) [simplicity] develop common designs for multi-functional parts; 4) [waste minimization] reduce product size and weight, reduce packaging; 5) [energy conservation] reduce energy used in production and product power consumption; 6) [material conservation] design multi-functional products and parts, specify recycled and renewable materials, use re-manufactured components, design for product longevity and performance, design for closed loop recycling.
Volvo has established an Environmental Priorities System (EPS) for the manufacture of its motor vehicles, with environment, safety and quality as the three core values. It has tested technically equivalent constructions of car bodies made of plastic composite and galvanized steel. The galvanized steel lost points because its heavier weight increased fuel consumption; overall the plastic construction proved to have a lower overall environmental impact. In the area of recycling vehicle components, the application of life cycle design has driven the reuse and recycling rate to over 90% in two test models.
A small number of generic software packages are appearing on the market to assist companies starting to design for the environment. The number of universities and institutes with programmes on designing for sustainability is growing rapidly. In the USA they include the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the Carnegie Mellon University, University of Tennessee, the University of Michigan; in Australia, the National Centre for Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT); in the Netherlands, Delft University and the University of Amsterdam; in Canada, the University of Windsor has set up the Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing Lab.