Product architecture significantly influences environmental impact. Modular architectures aid manufacture and reuse, thereby reducing manufacturing-related impacts and diverting usable waste from landfills. In contrast, modular product architectures may also sacrifice product performance or lead to over-designed products. These side-effects can increase environmental impact. The Black and Decker Firestorm and G5 George Foreman Griddle were studied to uncover and understand the effects of product architecture on energy and material efficiency. Both products incorporate component sharing for fulfilling multiple functions and incur environmental tradeoffs as a result. Experimentation, reverse engineering, and life cycle analysis of these products were used to inspire a number of guidelines for green design of modular product architectures. Difficulties involved the design of interfaces and selection of components for shared modules.

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