Public policy is becoming increasingly stringent with respect to the environmental impacts of modern products. To respond to this tightened scrutiny, product designers must innovate to lower the environmental footprints of their concepts. Design for Environment (DfE) is a field of product design methodology that includes tools, methods and principles to help designers reduce environmental impact. The most powerful and well-known tool within DfE is Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA); however, LCA requires a fully specified design and thus is a retrospective design tool, only applicable as the end of the design process. Because the decisions with the greatest environmental impact are made during earlier design stages, it is important to develop concurrent design tools that can implement DfE principles at conceptual and embodiment design stages, thereby achieving more substantial environmental improvements. The goal of this work is to compile a set of DfE principles that are useful during the design process; explain select principles through examples; and provide an example of applying DfE principles concurrently during the design process.

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