ASU Center for Organization Research and Design

From LCA to PSS–Making Leaps Towards Sustainability by Applying Product/Service-System Thinking in Product Development

by Niki Bey; Timothy Charles McAloone

Jan 1, 2006

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the standardised and globally recognised tool for quantifying environmental impact of goods and services. A key aspect in LCA is the consideration of whole life cycle systems. The application of LCA in product development inherently comprises the quest for optimisations on all system levels. However, as the act of ecodesign conventionally focuses on physical products, the search for potential optimisations is usually directed 'downwards', i.e. towards lower system levels, resulting in optimised components within products rather than optimised products within their surrounding systems. This paper will exemplify that when broadening the ecodesign horizon to environmental product/service system (PSS) design, there is a better possibility of applying a system-oriented life cycle thinking approach, and therefore a potential to yield extreme improvements towards sustainability.