Int. J. of Design Engineering   »   2009 Vol.2, No.3



Title: The limits of current evaluation methods in a context of sustainable design: prudence as a new framework


Author: Carmela Cucuzzella


Laboratoire d
Etude de l
Architecture Potentielle, Universite de Montreal, CP 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montreal, (Qc) H3C 3J7, Canada


Abstract: This paper suggests that sustainable design within a perspective of precaution can complement dominant preventive methods of decision-making used for ecodesign. More specifically, it will show how a precautionary approach can be used with the logic of sufficiency to complement the traditional preventive approaches based on the logic of efficiency for establishing/assessing sustainable solutions. As a consequence precaution may allow designers to develop new areas of insight. Evidence suggests that environmental gains from technical improvements in product efficiency have historically been outweighed by an overall increase in consumption – rebound effects, where efficiency largely depends on technical innovations. Sufficiency relies on individual behavioural changes as well as on social innovation, improved well-being out of fewer goods and services. So a sustainable future can be founded on both efficiency (based on a preventive approach) and sufficiency (based on a precautionary approach).


Keywords: design engineering; sustainable design; ecodesign; efficiency; sufficiency; precaution principle; assessment methods; prudence; prevention principle; product design.


DOI: 10.1504/IJDE.2009.030174


Int. J. of Design Engineering, 2009 Vol.2, No.3, pp.243 - 261


Available online: 11 Dec 2009



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