Low-carbon product conceptual design from the perspectives of technical system and human use

Xianfeng Ai, Zhigang Jiang, Hua Zhang, Yan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Product conceptual design plays a decisive role in carbon emission of the products. Unfortunately, the traditional design methods based on carbon footprint calculation are not suitable for the conceptual design stage, and the latest low-carbon conceptual design research mainly focus on technology development to reduce carbon emissions at the manufacturing stage and less on carbon emissions caused by the unsustainable human use. This makes low-carbon product conceptual design less effective. To address this, a low-carbon conceptual design method is proposed for improving existing products, in which an improved process of requirements elicitation and analysis is implemented firstly, and then the improvement strategies are proposed from the perspectives of technical system and human use to help establish a low-carbon function structure. The conceptual design of a boiling water dispenser is taken as a case study. As a result, 5 low-carbon design strategies and a low-carbon function structure were comprehensively obtained. Next, by calculating the energy consumption of the assumed ideal scenario, it can be found that the re-designed product can save 39.4% energy compared to the existing product in the use stage. The results showed that the proposed method is effective in the generation of low-carbon design schemes at the conceptual design stage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118819
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2019


  • Low-carbon conceptual design
  • Part-of-speech tagging
  • Regular expression;
  • Function matching
  • TRIZ laws
  • Sustainable use
  • Regular expression


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