Resourceful Manufacturing and Design group (ReMaDe) 
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Designing for the environment

Using lean product and process development to lower carbon emissions and other sustainability concerns


Deep Dive Session

This session will share examples of companies that have lowered their carbon emissions using lean product and process development. Learn approaches you can use in your organization to lower carbon emissions and address other sustainability concerns.


The biggest opportunity to influence costs (financial and environmental) comes in the development of new products. The decisions made in development lock in ongoing costs for the entire product life cycle. These costs are often not consciously decided. They are decided for us when making design decisions without understanding or considering the environmental impacts. Lean product and process development can help you see the environmental impact of design choices across the entire life cycle, with the greatest opportunities to lower carbon emissions in the making (1/3 of man-made carbon emissions) and use (2/3 of man-made carbon emissions) of products. 


The Resourceful Manufacturing and Design group (ReMaDe) is part of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. ReMaDe works at the nexus between Industrial Ecology (IE) and Mechanical Engineering (ME), using IE methodologies such as material flow analyses and life cycle assessment to identify opportunities and quantify impacts, and then pursuing an experimental and mechanistic modeling approach to generate the scientific knowledge underlying those opportunities. Learn more at


Presenter: Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. He heads the Resourceful Manufacturing and Design (ReMaDe) group, which is dedicated to pursuing environmental sustainability through process innovations in material efficiency and optimized manufacturing and recycling supply chains. Cooper received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Cambridge before completing a three-year post-doc at MIT sponsored by Ford Motor Company. His research, which focuses on making impactful contributions to the areas of manufacturing and sustainability, considers multiple scales: identifying significant opportunities to cut emissions and/or costs by conducting large scale analyses on processes, factories, and material supply chains, and pursuing a rigorous technical analysis in order to capitalize on the opportunities. 

Moderator: Katrina Appell

Katrina Appell, Ph.D., is president of Katrina Appell Consulting Inc. and organizes her thinking by blogging at She has experience as a lean product and process development coach and faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute, a senior lean consultant at Liker Lean Advisors focusing on supporting organizations in lean product and process development, and as a lean coach at the University of Michigan Health System. Appell holds a master's in engineering and a doctorate in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's in engineering from the University of Illinois, where she is a member and past president of the Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering Alumni and Advisory Board.