Priority boarding for eco-design

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Prochaine destination: écodesign

With four times less noise emission, efficient engines consuming 20% less fuel than similar aircrafts and up to 13,000 pounds lighter, Bombardier’s CSeries eco-design didn’t fly unnoticed. The core of the approach is being conscious of the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycles, and then carefully weighing the pros and cons of different design choices. Eco-design is often a question of calculated trade-offs, and not simply a binary choice between a conventional option and an “eco-friendly” one. Read on for a crash course on how to create more sustainable products and help make the circular economy a reality, based on a 2018 working session by Bombardier Head of eco-design and environmental affairs Kahina Oudjehani.

 

Key metrics for eco-design

Eco-design uses a systematic approach for quantifying impact, evaluating different options and making informed decisions according to these evaluations.

The Bombardier method is based on a life cycle approach in which the impact of materials and products are assessed at each step, using four key metrics:

  1. Resource depletion
  2. Energy consumption
  3. Recyclability potential
  4. Global warming potential

Sometimes the best choice for material is clear, but often there are trade-offs. Kahina Oudjehani cites the example of using advanced composites instead of aluminum in planes. It makes for a lighter, more fuel efficient aircraft, but the production is more resource-intensive and the materials are harder to recycle. Figuring out the best compromise depends on having clear objectives and priorities.

Watch Kahina explain eco-design in the CSeries (in French)

 

Eco-design from the drawing board to the marketplace

Successful eco-design leaves the lab to become a new product that must be convincing to the rest of the company. Cost is crucial as products have to be competitive on the market. While people claim to support environmentally friendly products, evidence shows that widespread adoption is only achieved when there is a true competitive advantage.

Try this at work:

  1. What method does your business use to analyze the ecological impact of its products? What could you learn from Bombardier’s approach?
  2. As a consumer, do you take eco-design into consideration when purchasing products? What information could help you make more informed choices?

 

An award-winning approach

Bombardier won a Les Mercuriades award this year for its eco-design approach in the C-Series, now known as Airbus 220 Family.

 

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