The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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A Multi-Level Approach to Concept Selection in Sustainable Design

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2014
Type of Publication: Proceedings
Authors: Stratton, Daniel; Behdad, Sara; Lewis, Kemper; Krishnamurty, Sundar
Series: DETC2014-35215
Publisher: ASME IDETC, Buffalo, NY
The motivation behind this work is to integrate economic and environmental sustainability into decision making at the early phases of design through the development of a hierarchical concept selection method. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a frequently implemented technique used to assess the environmental impacts of products, but it does not provide a simple means for including preference at different levels that can be used for comparison across design alternatives. A method is proposed to accommodate this issue expanding the Hypothetical Equivalents and Inequivalents Method (HEIM) to handle multi-level and multi-attribute trade-offs. The selection of a coffee maker design is used as an example to illustrate the implementation of the method with actual LCA results. The example provides valuable insights into how preferences may be elicited at different hierarchical levels and then combined to create a single utility score that represents to what extent each design alternative is preferred by the decision maker.