Design for Sustainability & Circular Economy

One-day course introducing the main principles for designing for sustainability and circularity

The next course will be announced shortly.

We are delighted to be running a one-day course on design for sustainability and circularity, in partnership with Stella Job, from Grazebrook Innovation.  

It is said that 80% of the environmental impact of a product is determined at the design stage. Much of that impact is in materials selection and processing. Generic methodologies for considering sustainability at an early stage in the product life cycle have been developed, and are beginning to be adapted and adopted into real engineering scenarios.

This course will introduce the main principles for designing for sustainability and circularity. It will look at methodologies for introducing those principles into design, with interactive workshops. Some computational tools for sustainable design will be presented. The final session will focus on increasing understanding of end-of-life processes, material scarcity and social impacts.

The course will be delivered over 4 sessions:

Session 1

Introduction to sustainability principles

The introductory session will discuss what is meant by “sustainability” and how it is interpreted in different contexts. A brief overview of climate change will be given, why it matters and how it relates to materials and manufacturing. Delegates will be given an understanding of circular economy principles, how they are incorporated in design and the product lifecycle. An overview of life cycle assessment will be presented, with comments on emerging methodologies for social impact assessment.

Session 2

Design for sustainability – putting principles into practice

A design for sustainability (D4S) assessment methodology will be described, with some examples of diverse ways in which designs have been changed to make products more sustainable and related impact factors. Delegates will then be offered some product examples to choose from and work in small groups to identify and prioritise ways in which the design could be made more sustainable. The small groups will feed back to the rest.

Session 3

Tools for designing for sustainability

The challenge is how to design components and structures that meet the UK government target for net zero carbon emissions.

The session will start with a short re-cap of design processes used in structural applications with reference to transport.   Building on the overview of life cycle assessment in session 1, the effect of materials and manufacturing processes on whole life carbon emissions will be presented.

In the concept design phase, the Environmental Analysis Tool (EAT) can be used to compare the emissions of different concepts in addition to the usual technical performance requirements.

There are tools that can be used to reduce material usage such as topology optimisation.  The use of statistical design processes (e.g., stochastics) to give robust designs and account for material variability will also be presented.

When considering technical performance, carbon emissions and costs there may be more than one optimum solution and quite often there are conflicting demands.  Pareto analysis will be used to trade off these different requirements.

The session will conclude with how to bring different design aspects together to provide overall design direction.

Session 4

Material circularity, scarcity and social impacts

Using images, video and description, several end-of-life and recycling processes will be described, to establish the importance of a designer knowing what might happen to materials and products at end-of-life (e.g. wind turbine blades, cars, fridges, aircraft, WEEE). The effect of economic factors, business models and regulation will be included. Material scarcity will be considered, and the social and geo-political impacts around material extraction and supply. The course will end with a discussion how delegates can influence the macro-factors to enable more sustainable product development.

This generic course is relevant to anyone with an interest in sustainability and circularity.

The course fee for this one-day programme based at The Boilerhouse in Grantham is £595 plus VAT at 20% where applicable.  IOM3 members and subscribers to our Business Partner Programme are entitled to a discount of 10% on the course fee.


Register to attend the next course

IOM3, The Boilerhouse, Grantham
9:30am to 4:30pm on 12 June 2024


Stella Job

Stella Job

Consultant & Owner, Grazebrook Innovation

Find out more


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Life Cycle Assessment

One-day course providing an insight into the principles of Life Cycle Assessment and how to interpret a report