Title: Lightbulbs and nappies: sustainable development and customer perceptions

Authors: Tim Short, Joan Harvey

Addresses: Department of Engineering, The University of Liverpool, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GH, UK. ' School of Biology and Psychology, Division of Psychology, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HH, UK

Abstract: Recent interest in |green| versions of everyday objects has led to a market presence for energy-efficient lightbulbs and the re-emergence of reusable nappies (diapers). Given their ease of use, one might think that |green| lightbulbs would become far more popular than reusable nappies and the associated inconvenience. However, this is not always the case. The paper takes a novel approach to understanding consumers| behaviour, using functional analysis to examine |green| and |normal| products and demonstrating why some refuse to use energy-efficient lightbulbs, despite using reusable nappies. It considers how consumer perceptions have developed and the implications for engineering designers.

Keywords: sustainable development; product design; engineering design; consumer psychology; functional analysis; objectives tree; voice of the customer; VoC; sustainability; customer perceptions; consumer behaviour; energy efficient lightbulbs; reusable nappies; reusable diapers; green products; sustainable design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSDES.2008.017054

International Journal of Sustainable Design, 2008 Vol.1 No.1, pp.13 - 28

Published online: 06 Feb 2008 *

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