Go Green by Designing Out Brown

by Mike Shipulski

Go Green by Designing Out BrownWe’re starting to come to terms with the green revolution; we’re staring to realize that green is good for our planet and even better for our business. But how do we put greenwashing behind us and truly make a difference?

To improve recycling, find the non-recyclable stuff in your product and design it out. Make a Pareto chart of non-recyclable stuff (by weight) by major subassembly, and focus the design effort on the biggest brown bars of the Pareto. (Consider packaging a major subassembly and give it its own bar.)

To improve carbon footprint of logistics, find the weight and volume of your product and design out the biggest and heaviest. Make a Pareto chart of weight by major subassembly, and focus the design effort on the heaviest brown bars. Make a Pareto chart of volume by major subassembly, (Make cube around the subassembly and calculate volume in mm3.) and focus the design effort on the biggest bars. (Don’t forget the packaging.)

To improve energy efficiency of your factory, find electricity consumption and design it out. Make a Pareto chart of electricity consumption by major process step then map it to the product – to the element of the product that creates the need for electricity, and focus the design effort on the biggest bars.

Going forward, here are some thoughts to help grow your business with green (and save the planet):

  • It’s easier to design out brown than to design in green.
  • To design out brown, you’ve got to know where it is.
  • The product creates brown – look to the product to eliminate it.


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Mike ShipulskiDr. Mike Shipulski (certfied TRIZ practioner) brings together the best of TRIZ, Axiomatic Design, Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (2006 DFMA Contributor of the Year), and lean to develop new products and technologies. His blog can be found at Shipulski On Design.

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