As described in other sections, sustainable design requires a lifecycle approach. At Sprout, we use a cut-down life-cycle analysis method which we can do in a matter of hours and which does not significantly add to the cost of the design process. We start by analysing a product that is similar to the one being designed and the analysis tells us where most improvement can be made. For example, a coffee machine's greatest impact is due to its use of water, energy and filters rather than during manufacturing. The chromium in the blade of a stainless steel kitchen knife is responsible for approximately 80% of the impact of that product as it is a toxic substance.

This initial analysis often inspires new concepts for the design and because we use it at the start of the design process, we can sometimes make radical improvements to the environmental performance. The technique is used again once a concept has been roughly designed to see approximately how much better it is.

Many products claiming to be environmentally friendly may not be when analysed with this method. Full life-cycle analysis is a much for time-consuming process but we also offer this to our clients through an external LCA consultancy we work with. Please email for details.