example of ecodesign: green and sustainable architecture

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The circular economy is a concept that is framed within the principles of sustainable development, whose aim is to produce goods and services that promote responsible consumption and reduce the waste of raw materials, water, and energy. It's a model that takes into consideration economic as well as environmental and social aspects, based on the principle of “closing the loop” of resources, products, services, waste, and materials. Companies have a decisive role in promoting this production model when it comes to designing their products so that they're sustainable throughout their entire life cycle. 

What is ecodesign and why is it so important?

Ecodesign consists of incorporating environmental criteria in the conception and development stage of a good or service, with the aim of reducing its ecological footprint in the different life cycle stages of the product: from the extraction of raw materials, transportation, manufacturing, distribution, and use until the end of its useful life.

Unlike the linear economy, which is based on the “take, make, dispose” model, in the circular economy the life cycle of nature is imitated, where everything is reused, in order to give an item new value through sustainable ecodesign and extend its useful life. In addition to reducing its environmental impact, we can save money and resources throughout the entire value chain, optimize the use of energy, and decrease waste generation or increase its durability, which in turn reduces planned obsolescence.

We currently have different tools to assess the environmental profile of a product to know how we can incorporate adjustments to achieve an ecological design in accordance with established standards. These tools include: life cycle analysis (LCA), carbon footprint and ecological footprint calculation, and assessment of the product's environmental strategy. However, life cycle analysis is considered to be the most comprehensive methodology for assessing the impact of the item or service on the environment, as it quantifies both "input" (energy resources, raw materials) and "output" (environmental emissions and waste) variables in the value chain. 

Characteristics and examples of ecodesign

Ecodesign is a practice that seeks to reduce the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycle, from their design to their removal. In today's society, more and more people are adopting this practice in their daily lives and in industry. Below are some characteristics and examples of ecodesign:


  1. Design for disassemblability and recyclability: Products are designed so that they can be disassembled easily and recycled, which improves the efficiency of the recycling process and waste recovery. An example is the cellphone Fairphone, whose parts can be interchanged and replaced to extend its service life.
  2. Reduced use of materials: During the manufacture of these eco-sustainable products, the focus is on optimizing the amount of materials and energy. In this way, the idea is to reduce emissions and protect raw materials.
  3. Use of sustainable materials: Products are manufactured with sustainable and renewable materials, such as bamboo, cork, and organic cotton. An example is the clothes brand Patagonia, which uses sustainable materials in its products and encourages repair and recycling.
  4. Energy consumption reduction: Products are designed to reduce the energy consumption, such as household appliances with energy efficiency label A+++. An example is the electric car Tesla, which uses high-efficiency batteries and technology to reduce energy consumption.
  5. Design for durability: Products are designed to be durable and reduce wear, which reduces the need to replace them frequently. An example is the luggage company Samsonite, which offers a lifetime guarantee in its products and uses resistant materials to prolong their useful life.
  6. Design for reuse: Products are designed to be reused for other purposes, such as the reusable water bottle that can be filled with drinking water and reused over and over again.

In summary, ecodesign is a practice that aims to reduce the environmental impact of products and encourage sustainability. As society becomes more environmentally conscious, more and more companies are adopting these practices to improve the quality of their products and reduce their carbon footprint. Creating green jobs and implementing ecodesign in their products are some of these practices.


Furthermore, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute has been granting the C2C label for years, which recognizes and encourages innovation in the development of sustainable products.

design of more sustainable containers

Cradle to cradle (C2C)

This certification assess the circularity of materials and products used in industry. Its aim is to promote the innovation and design of products that have a positive effect on the environment and people. In its analysis, it considers five categories for sustainable products: 

  • Reuse of materials
  • Material health
  • Use of renewable energy
  • Water management
  • Social justice

The 10 rules in product ecodesign

In 2005, professors from the Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, Conrad Luttropp and Jessica Lagerstedt, developed the fundamentals of ecodesign based on their study of different guides used by companies and organizations. They summarized these guidelines in 10 golden rules for a sustainable and environmentally responsible design.

green facade, part of sustainable architecture

  1. Toxicity: removing the use of toxic substances or, failing that, keeping them in closed cycles where they can be reused for other products.  
  2. Internal management: improving logistics to minimize the consumption of energy and resources in production and transportation.
  3. Structure: making the most of the structural possibilities of the item and the materials to minimize the weight and volume of the product without compromising its functionality.
  4. Consumption in the useful life: reducing the use of energy and resources during the useful life.
  5. Customer service: promoting repair and upgrade systems.
  6. Products with greater durability: favoring an increase in the useful life of the product.
  7. Materials and finishes: using quality structural and exterior treatment materials to protect the final product from corrosion or external agents.
  8. Identification: facilitating upgrade, repair, and recycling with manuals and labels that show the best way to do it.
  9. Material hygiene: facilitating upgrade, repair, and recycling by using simple materials, avoiding mixing components that make its ultimate recycling difficult.
  10. Joints: minimizing the use of joint components and designing toward a system with as few joints as possible.