Holistic LCD

December 31, 2015


Framework for Holistic Life-Cycle Design

Principal Investigators
MIT: D.Wallace, J.Clark, F.Field
UT: T.Tomiyama
ETH: W.Kroeger
EPFL: D.Favrat

Technological and political systems have had a profound impact on the behavior and consumption patterns of society. Consequently, their design has major environmental and sustainability implications. However, these systems are all intended to fulfill a number of needs and thus sustainability cannot be considered in isolation. Consumer, economic, social, and sustainability needs must be weighed.

The realization of a practicable holistic life-cycle design methodology:

  • – To develop a powerful analytical toolbox for concurrent consideration of classical engineering performance measures, manufacturing costs, and environmental metrics within a standard design context.
  • – Case study: Application of the holistic design framework in a design tool study related to the automotive industry


  • – Built prototype of framework for holistic design and decision-making tools.
  • – Used on studies such as: a co-generative electricity production design tool, linking models at MIT and EPFL; a district heating design tool linking several technology models at EPFL etc.
        Using data from the projector study, tools created using the holistic framework may have the potential to reduce design time by an order of magnitude – in addition to creating the ability to compare and weigh alternatives according to many needs.
      • – Further development of the general holistic framework; development of a systematic method for creating parametric life-cycle assessment models; growth of the transportation alternative case study; and outreach to link models from other sustainability projects.
      • – The group is developing a case study to assess technological alternatives from a holistic viewpoint. Project team members are developing individual models needed for the case study. The models will be linked using the holistic framework to create an integrated design and decision-making tool.
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