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Designing for sustainability: Ergonomics - carpe diem

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Unlabelled: Sustainability is a global issue that has worldwide attention but the role of ergonomics in designing for sustainability is poorly understood and seldom considered. An analysis of the literature on ergonomics, design and sustainability was conducted via a search of electronic databases: Scopus, Business Source Complete, Google Scholar, Emerald Publishing, Academic Search Premiere, Web of Science, Discover and Ergonomics Abstracts, for the years 1995-2012. A total of 1934 articles fulfilled the search criteria, but content analysis of the abstracts indicated that only 14 refereed articles addressed the main search criteria. Of those seven were in ergonomics journals and seven were in other journals (and were not written by ergonomists). It is concluded that the contribution of ergonomics to sustainability and sustainable design has been limited, even though the goals of sustainability and ergonomics are congruent. Ergonomists have not been at the forefront of research contributing to sustainability - and it is time for them to 'seize the day' - 'carpe diem'. Practitioner summary: This literature review shows that ergonomics contribution to sustainability is limited but since there is congruence between the disciplines it calls for ergonomists to become more involved and to seize the day - carpe diem.
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Designing for sustainability: ergonomics – carpe diem.
K. Martin a , S. Legg a & C. Brown a
a Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Management, Massey
University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Version of record first published: 28 Aug 2012.
To cite this article: K. Martin , S. Legg & C. Brown (2013): Designing for sustainability: ergonomics – carpe diem.,
Ergonomics, 56:3, 365-388
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2012.718368
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Designing for sustainability: ergonomics carpe diem.
K. Martin*, S. Legg and C. Brown
Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Management, Massey University, Private Bag 11222,
Palmerston North, New Zealand
(Received 29 September 2011; final version received 1August 2012)
Sustainability is ag
lobal issue that has worldwide attention but the role of ergonomics in designing for sustainability
is poorly understood and seldom considered. An analysis of the literature on ergonomics, design and sustainability
was conducted via asearch of electronic databases: Scopus, Business Source Complete, Google Scholar, Emerald
Publishing, Academic Search Premiere, Web of Science, Discover and Ergonomics Abstracts, for the years 1995–
2012. Atotal of 1934 articles fulfilled the search criteria, but content analysis of the abstracts indicated that only 14
refereed articles addressed the main search criteria. Of those seven were in ergonomics journals and seven were in
other journals (and were not written by ergonomists). It is concluded that the contribution of ergonomics to
sustainability and sustainable design has been limited, even though the goals of sustainability and ergonomics are
congruent. Ergonomists have not been at the forefront of research contributing to sustainability –and it is time for
them to ‘seize the day’ –‘carpe diem’.
Practitioner Summary: This literature review shows that ergonomics contribution to sustainability is limited but
since there is congruence between the disciplines it calls for ergonomists to become more involved and to seize the
day carpe diem.
Keywords: human factors; green design; conservation; environment; review
1. Introduction
The literature related to sustainability, sustainable developmentand sustainable design is vast, andcomes from
many different perspectives. Definitions vary, depending on the author’s point of view. However overall,
sustainabilityc
an be thought of in the sense that for something to be sustainable,i
ti
sa
ble to be maintained, that it is
ongoing. Many definitions of sustainabilityc
ontaint
he idea of intra-generationale
quity,w
hich is the present
generation should not be undertakingactivities that compromise the ability of futuregenerations to meet their needs
(WCED 1987). Amajor component of sustainable activityisthe avoidance of ecological damage and the use of
renewable resources (McLennan 2004). Alsoincluded may be social, economic andcultural concerns, reflecting that
sustainabilityisgenerally viewed anthropocentrically. The Rio DeclarationonEnvironment and Development’s
first principle is that ‘human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a
healthy and productive life in harmony with nature’ (UNCED 1992).
Unfortunately, sustainable developmenthas continued to be achallenge, postthe Brundtland Report and the
Rio Declaration, as reflected in another United Nations document which states ‘it is widely recognised that the rapid
advance of globalisation since the first Earth Summit in 1992 hasf
ar exceededt
he ability of the global system to
respond to the sustainabilitychallenges that this has caused’ (Schneeberger et al. n.d., p. 4). The World Wildlife
Fund for Nature’s Living PlanetReport (WWF 2010) states that natural resources are being consumed faster than
the Earth is replenishing them. The earth’s population is currently consuming the equivalentof1.5 planetsto
support human activities. If current trends continue, by 2030 we will need the resources of two planets to meet
consumption needs and absorb CO
2
waste.
It is suggested that we need to redesign many of our systems to achieve sustainabilityand that ergonomics might
be used to assist (Lueng2003, Steimle 2006, Brown and Legg2011). Sustainable building design, also called ‘green’
design, emphasises energy conservation, buildinginaresourceefficient manner, using renewable resources, creating
healthy indoor environments, and providing overallstructural durability (Kopec 2009, Forbes and Ahmed 2011).
‘Eco-efficiency’,w
hich was encouraged by the World Business Councilf
or Sustainable Development in 1992, is
defined as greater resource productivity,u
sing fewer resources to achieve the same goals anda
lso producing less
*Corresponding author. Email: kimvan@xtra.co.nz
© 2013 Taylor & Francis
Ergonomics, 2013
Vo l. 56, No. 3, 365–388, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2012.718368
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waste in the process (Fuad-Luke2004). According to Anastas and Zimmerman (2003), sustainable design should
also include designing for reuse and recycling. Products ands
ystems should be designedf
or performance in as
econd
‘afterlife’. They write about the ‘12 Principles of Green Engineering’ which include using inherently non-hazardous
materials, preventing waste anddesigning products that are efficient, durable, and that use renewable resources.
The role of ergonomics in sustainability, sustainable development and sustainable design is still seldom reported
or considered, despiteacall for researchinto ways to get people to modifytheir behaviour to be more ecologically
conserving (Nickerson andMoray 1995). Vincente (1998) foundthat ergonomics textbooks scarcely addressed
global problems. In areview of the literature on sustainable development and human factors, Thatcher (2012)
reportsthat while definitions for sustainable development appear to be consistent, many articles fail to include any
definition. There was also abias towards economic and social capital and most articles were theoretical. Moray
(1995) had also called for ergonomics to be involved in changing human behaviour. Drury (2008a,b) points out that
ergonomists are increasingly acceptedinto design teams, but that the changing worldofwork has only slightly
changed the emphasisofergonomists work from physical towards decision making.Hecalls for changes needed to
address the futureworldofglobalisation. It seems surprising that these callshave been so littleheeded. Although an
InternationalErgonomics Association Technical Committee ‘Human Factors and Sustainable Development’ has
recently been established and the 18
th
World Congress on Ergonomics held in 2012 had the theme of ‘Designing for
aSustainable Future’, and as an examplethe Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand has
sustainabilitya
sacentralt
heme for its conferencei
n2
012, the reality is that there is still very littles
ign of
ergonomists tackling sustainability issues. Thisisreflected in the articles published in the IEA 2012 proceedings
(IEA 2012): onlyone of 52 symposia, no workshops and only 17 of the 897 articles actually address the conference
theme.Itisalso surprising in view of the well-recognised (amongst ergonomists) definitionofergonomics as: the
‘scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions amonghumans andother elements of a
system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, andothermethods to design in order to optimise
human well-being and overall system performance’ (IEA 2010).
Ergonomists canguide the process needed for successful design. For example, Moore (2007) describes a
collective design process in sustainable residentialconstruction that involves ergonomists. Frejus and
Guibourdenche (2012) show how domestic activity can be adjusted to reduce household energy consumption and
Marano et al.(2012) identify an early logical-interpretive model for ergonomic design for sustainability.
Ergonomists can identify the important issues in the design andapply amethodical and scientific approach to
evaluation and also to verify and contribute to the sustainability of ad
esign (Sanders andM
cCormick 1992,
Gennari 2000). Ergonomists can also work with designers to promoten
ot only safety and productivity, but also the
sustainabilityofadesignedproductorsystem (Hedge 1998, Kopec 2009). Development and design can, and should,
be sustainable and involveergonomics and ergonomists. Ensuring the goals of both ergonomics and sustainability
are met should promotegreater success for both. For example, ahealthy indoor environment is one of the goals of
ergonomics, as it will optimise the healthand performance of the workforce (Hedge1998).
Thus it seems logical that ergonomics must haveacritical role to play in designing for sustainability. However, it
is often the case that ergonomists have minimal input to any design processes –asituation that can range from
mildly irritating (for example, acontrol knob that is ‘illogically’ placed or inaccessible(Sanders and McCormack
1992) to catastrophic(the incidents at Bhopal, Three Mile Island, Chernobyland LadbrokeGrove (Wilson and
Corlett 2005)). The ergonomics profession needs to ‘seize the day’ if it wishes to have more input into design for
sustainability.
Additionally, it has been argued (Birkeland 2008) that there is a‘blame the consumer’approach for
unsustainable behaviours, particularly in relation to the built environment. Birkeland (2008, p. 65) believes that
societal systems are not welldesignedfor achievingsustainable consumer behaviours:‘while consumption and
design issuesare inseparable, the focus on consumer behaviour implies that society has to change behaviour
first ... But consumersd
on
ot design the systems that resulti
nw
aste, toxins and inequity.
.. they cannot ‘‘choose’’
products that have not yet been designed... consumersdemand services, not waste’. There is aparallel here with
‘blamethe worker’ or ‘blamethe operator’approaches to accidents, and certainly the ergonomics profession has
been instrumental in addressing latent (design) errors as well as active (operator) errors (e.g.Reason 1990, Chapanis
1999). An approach which addresses system design issues to encourage more sustainable consumer behaviours
should be successful. Indeed,itappears that this approach is being espoused in the field of behaviouraleconomics
(Thaler andSunstein 2008). Behaviour change around energy use wouldbemuch easierifweimproved building
design to not requiresomuch heatingand public transport to be efficient and convenient.Birkeland (2008, p. 65)
believes this is adesign issue and that design professions can ‘reduce consumption and create meaningful consumer
choices. We may not be able to control how people usebuildings or products, but we can design them so that
366 K. Martin et al.
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conservation comes naturally and creates ahigher qualityoflife’. The principles of design that would achieve these
outcomes can be substantially informed by the accumulated knowledge base of the ergonomics profession (Moray
1995, Vincente 1998).
Recently, Scott (2009) andothers,such as O’Neill (2005),have looked at ergonomics and sustainabilityin
industrial developing countries (IDCs) from awider perspective. Scott proposes that ergonomists assist developing
nations to become more self-sustaining, so that they become more able to contribute on an equal basis to the global
market.Thisthen promotes ‘universal sustainability’ (Scott 2009, p. 437)orreducing the ‘carbon footprint’ and is
an important development for ergonomics as adiscipline that may have aworldwide impact.
The present article describes aliterature review that explores what ergonomics has contributed to sustainability,
and to sustainable design. It also considersways in which ergonomics and ergonomists could do more and argues
that it is timefor them to ‘seize the day’ –‘carpe diem’.
2. Methods
In carryingout the review, it was necessary to first define‘sustainability’ and to be selective about what types of
publications could be judged to be adopting asustainable approach to design. In addition, the review aimedtocover
research that could fall within the broad scope of ergonomics. The challenges involved in carryingout such areview
largely relatet
ot
erminology and definition. As indicated already in the introduction, the term ‘sustainability’f
or
example, has many different definitions (e.g. in businessi
tr
eferst
oe
nsuring that the businessk
eeps operating;
articles addressing this perspective weren
ot included). Furthermore, ‘design’ is in itself broad in scope, covering
work drawn from awide variety of domains,including many bordering on mainstream ergonomics (e.g.
organisation science, psychology,sociology), as well as differenttraditions and approaches within ergonomics (e.g.
macroergonomics, socio-technical systems theory). In order to overcome these problems it was decided to keep the
analysis of publications as broad as possibleatthe beginning andthen to filter out articles judged to be outsidethe
scope of ‘designing for sustainability’.
2.1. Identification and selection of publications
Ad
atabase search was conducted on Scopus, Business Source Complete,G
oogle Scholar, Emerald Publishing,
Academic Search Premiere, Web of Science, Discover and Ergonomics Abstractsf
or the years 1995–2012u
sing the
keywords ‘sustainab*’, ‘design’ and‘ergonom*’ or ‘human factors’.Toensure wider coverage it was repeated using
the terms ‘ergonom*AND sustainab*’ OR ‘human factor* AND sustainab*’. In this latter case, the term ‘design’
was not specifically included so as to also catch articles whichinvolved or discussed design but whichdid not use the
word ‘design’. The databases werechosen for their coverage of literature relating to design, sustainability and
ergonomics. The following relevance criteriawereused to identify articles from those retrieved from the databases:
ergonomics interventions that hadasustainability focus, callsfor sustainable programmes, the advantagesofthe
sustainabilityand design or its importance, andarticles that ‘championed’ sustainability in design.
Article abstracts were selected if they addressed an issue that was likely to fall within the broad range of subject
matter within ergonomics, whilst at the same time directly addressing ‘designing for sustainability’. The selected
articles werethen read and included in this reviewifthey met the above criteria.
3. Results
At
otal of 1934 publications were identified using the initial keywords
earch but only 14 peer-reviewed and refereed
journal articles fulfilled the relevance criteria. Details of these are given in Table 1, together with additional key
articles that wereidentified by the search repeated for wider coverage.Additionally, 15 books, three conference
proceedings, aUnited Nations report,aWorld Wildlife Fund report andvarious documents from websites (such as
the IEA and the Human Factors Society)met the search criteria. Details of these are given in Table 2. Additional
articles wererecalled from memorybythe authors andthese were also included in Table2.
3.1. Themes identified from the review
For the initial general search, professional journalsfor designers, architects and/or builderswere found to be a
plentiful source of articles on sustainability, whereas professional ergonomics journalsw
ere not. This is an indicator
of the lack of focusbyergonomists on sustainability. Of the articles that met the selection criteria, six articles werein
Ergonomics 367
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Table 1. Summary of journal findings and coverage of issues.
Author and
year Source journal Title
Description/outcome
measure/objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Anastas and
Zimmerman
(2003)
Environmental
Science and
Technology
Designing through the
12 principals of green
engineering
To highlight that
sustainability requires
objectives at the
molecular, product,
process and system
levels
.Participative approaches encourage
sustainability
.Ergonomics, and sustainability, still
needs to be ‘sold’ to designers, managers
and other stakeholders
.Sustainable design should include
designing for reuse and recycling
.Products and systems should be
designed for performance in as
econd
‘afterlife’.
.Includes using inherently non-
hazardous materials, preventing waste,
and designing products that are efficient,
durable, and that use renewable
resources
Attaianese and
Duca (2010)
Theoretical
Issues in
Ergonomic
Science
Human factors and
ergonomic principles in
building design for life
and work activities: an
applied methodology
As
urvey of ergonomics
principles, analysing
the role they play in
the architectural
design process. How a
design methodology
can support designers
to create working and
living spaces that fit
the needs of
inhabitants.
.Acomprehensive methodology for
designing ergonomic buildings is still
lacking
.Human-centred building design
methodology is an iterative process and
participative approaches work best
.Design methodology is described in
operational steps supported by practical
examples
��
Drury
(2008a,b)
Heidelberg:
Physica
Verlag,
The future of work in a
sustainable society, in
K.J.Zink (ed),
Corporate
sustainability as a
challenge for
comprehensive
management.
Identifies the systems
approach used in ‘the
limits of growth’
report as being
congruent with the
systems approach
used by HF/E
.Level of usage of earth’s resources is
running beyond earths’ capacity
.Limited capacity of HF/E professionals
to influence resource use or limits but
can influence the models that are used
.HF/E advocacy has been successful at
level of national and international
standards development
Eswaramoorthi
et al. (2010)
Work Redesigning assembly
stations using
ergonomic methods as
alean tool
Assessment of posture
and ergonomic
stressors on a
production line, and
an attempt to create a
‘Lean assembly line’
.Lean manufacturing and the use of
ergonomic methods can provide
increased quality, lower cost and shorter
lead times through the elimination of
waste
(continued)
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Table 1. ( Continued).
Author and
year Source journal Title
Description/outcome
measure/objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Fischer and
Zink (2012)
Work Defining elements of
sustainable work
systems –asystems-
oriented approach.
Development of a
system-oriented
approach to analysing
sustainable work
systems
.Sustainable development comprises the
management of human, social,
ecological and economic capital in a
balanced manner
Greenwald
(2009)
Industrial
Engineer
Sphere of safety Describes how
ergonomics can
improve business
outcomes with a
proactive approach
.Integrating lean manufacturing
principles is good business practice
Guimaraes
(2012)
Theoretical
Issues in
Ergonomics
Science
Sociotechnical design for a
sustainable world
Describes a
sociotechnical design
method for conceiving
innovative sustainable
products and/or
systems.
.Aparticipatory approach to design that
focuses on basic people needs using
waste as raw material for developing
products/systems with high added value
.Matrices for design opportunities,
demands and environment, and
evaluation in terms of sustainability,
quality and cost.
.Aligned with acradle to cradle
approach consistent with Zero
Emissions Research and an initiatives
chain production system approach
��
Guimaraes and
dos Santos
(2012)
Theoretical
issues in
ergonomics
Science
Application of the
sociotechnical design
method for the
development of eco-
friendly shoes for
students of Brazilian
public schools.
Describes how a
sociotechnical design
method can be used to
design eco-friendly
shoes for school
students
.Shows how atraditional and dangerous
method for shoe manufacture can be
transformed into amore sustainable one
��
Ha
¨kkinen and
Belloni
(2011)
Building
Research
and
Information
Barriers and drivers for
sustainable building
Aliterature review,
interviews and case
studies are presented
to address the barriers
to sustainable
building
.Participative approaches encourage
sustainability
(continued)
Ergonomics 369
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Table 1. ( Continued).
Author and
year Source journal Title
Description/outcome
measure/objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Hedge (2000) Ergonomics Where are we in
understanding the
effects of where we are?
Reviews research on the
health effects of office
lighting, indoor air
quality in offices, and
sick building
syndrome
.States the value of asystematic,
ergonomics approach to designing the
built environment
.Ergonomics, and sustainability, still
needs to be ‘sold’ to designers, managers
and other stakeholders
Heerwagen
(2000)
Building
Research
and
Information
Green buildings,
organizational success
and occupant
productivity
Considers the wider
context of sustainable
design to show how
‘green’ buildings
provide
organisational and
economic benefits
.Gives examples of the positive
productivity outcomes achieved through
green building practices
��
Howarth and
Hadfield
(2006)
Materials and
Design
Asustainable product
design model
How using astructured
design evaluation
model can modify the
design and improve
the sustainable
aspects
.Ergonomic behavioural interventions
can encourage sustainability
.Designers need to be encouraged to
think how products can be more
sustainable, and how use of amodel can
facilitate this process
Imada (2008) Heidelberg:
Physica
Verlag
Achieving sustainability
through
macroergonomics, In
K.J. Zink (Ed),
Corporate
sustainability as a
challenge for
comprehensive
management.
Proposes
macroergonomics is
able to make alarge
contribution to global
sustainability, given
the human centred
and systems approach
.Workable solutions must have three
components: (a) it must examine the
entire system (social, organisational,
human interfaces), (b) it must have a
plan to manage change by targeting
challenges to change in asystematic and
planned way, and (c) solutions need to
have alonger time horizon beyond
short-term metrics
Macmillan
(2006)
Building
Research
and
Information
Added value of good
design
Reviews current research
on the benefits
associated with awell-
designed build
environment
.Design decisions need to be informed by
the best available evidence about how
the physical environment can support
social and economic outcomes
.Many of the papers in this literature
review show alack of such evidence
Monroe (2006) Industrial
Engineer
Ergonomics 101 What makes an
ergonomics
programme successful
and sustainable
.Ergonomics, and sustainability, still
needs to be ‘sold’ to designers, managers
and other stakeholders
.Identification of six core elements of
successful ergonomics programmes (e.g.
management commitment, participative
approaches)
(continued)
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Table 1. ( Continued).
Author and
year Source journal Title
Description/outcome
measure/objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
O’Neill (2005) Industrial
Ergonomics
The promotion of
ergonomics in
industrially developing
countries
To describe the
difference between
practicing ergonomics
in IDCs and IACs
.Ergonomics fits well with asustainable
livelihood approach
.Examples of interventions at amicro
level
Scott (2008) Applied
Ergonomics
Global inequality, and the
challenge for
ergonomics to take a
more dynamic role to
redress the situation
Proposes that it is
relatively easy to
promote asustainable
ergonomics ethos in
IDCs
.Both micro and macro problems need to
be considered
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
Sutcliffe et al.
(2008)
Sustainable
Development
Can eco-footprinting
analysis be used
successfully to
encourage more
sustainable behaviour
at the household level?
Research to find if
individuals will make
reductions to their
environmental impact
when given feedback
about their ‘ecological
footprint’
.Ergonomic behavioural interventions
can encourage sustainability
Thatcher
(2012)
Work, Early variability in the
conceptualisation of
‘sustainable
development and
human factors’.
To examine the diversity
of definitions and
approaches to
sustainable
development and
human factors in early
papers of the
discipline
.Consistent definitions for sustainable
development but large proportion of
papers gave no definition
.Bias towards economic and social
capital
.Most papers were theoretical
Thomas (2010) Building
Research &
Information
Evaluating design
strategies, performance
and occupant
satisfaction: alow
carbon office
refurbishment
To provide insights from
evaluation of al
arge
scale refurbishment
project
.Participative approaches encourage
sustainability
.Green technologies and design strategies
have benefits such as reduced use of
resources, and are conducive to human
health and productivity
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
��
Ergonomics 371
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Table 2. Additional sources, findings and coverage of issues.
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Birkeland
(2008)
Book Positive Development:
From vicious circles
to virtuous cycles
through built
environment design
Achallenge to those
working in or
studying the areas of
sustainable
development,
planning, architecture
or the built
environment to
rethink their current
ideas and practices
.Presentation of an innovative new
paradigm of ‘Positive Development’ in
which the built environment provides
greater life quality, health, amenity
and safety for all without sacrificing
resources or money.
.With adifferent form of design,
development itself can become a
‘sustainability solution’.
.Acornerstone of this new paradigm is
the eco-retrofitting
.The author presents arevolutionary
new tool called SmartMode to achieve
this end.
Brown and
Legg (2011)
Book Human factors and
ergonomics for
business sustainability
Promoting ergonomics
as ameans to
sustainable
development
.Businesses have good intentions
towards corporate social responsibility
and sustainability goals, but there is a
gulf between ‘good intentions’ and
‘good deeds’
.Ergonomics can bridge the gulf
between ‘good intentions’ and ‘good
deeds’ resulting in ‘good business’ and
improved outcomes across all three
pillars of sustainable development
(economic, environmental and social)
.Key ergonomics facets which can be
applied to sustainability goals are:
sociotechnical systems approach,
usability, designing for futureusers,
multifactorial feedback, participation,
change management and
implementation of total quality
management
.Because of the systemsapproach in
ergonomics, it lends itselftoapplication
to sustainable development where
multipledimensions needtobe
optimisedjointly (ratherthan one
dimension optimised at the expenseof
the others). Practicalexamplesare given
(continued)
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Burns and
Vicente
(2000)
Applied
Ergonomics
Aparticipant-observer
study of ergonomics
in engineering design:
how contraints drive
design process
To find what barriers
ergonomists face in
making ergonomic
contributions to
design
.Locally optimal ergonomic designs
may not be globally optimal
.Ergonomists can improve their
solutions by understanding the goals
of other designers
.Future tools to aid ergonomists must
be compatible with the constraint-rich
environments in which they work
(indirectly)
Chapanis
(1995)
Ergonomics Ergonomics in product
development: a
personal view
Description of
ergonomic methods,
and how they are used
.Amajor goal of design and
development is to specify precisely
design requirements for aproduct that
does not yet exist
.The development of any product goes
through anumber of steps, to which
ergonomics can make substantial
contributions
(indirectly)
European
Environment
Agency 2011
European
Environment
Agency
Website
Annual report 2010 and
Environmental
Statement 2010
Statement on
environment and
health
.The interactions between the
environment and human health are
multifaceted and complex to assess
.The most proven health impacts are
related to ambient air pollution, poor
water quality and insufficient
sanitation
Flemming et al.
(2008)
Human Factors
and
Ergonomics
Society 52nd
Annual
Meeting
The need for human
factors in the
sustainability domain.
Review of literature on
how energy
consumption can be
achieved through
behavioural
interventions
.Ergonomic behavioural interventions
can encourage sustainability
.Well designed feedback tools can
increase the likelihood of individuals
conserving energy
.Call for an interdisciplinary approach
to conservation and sustainability
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
��
Forbes and
Ahmed
(2011)
Book Modern construction:
Lean project delivery
and integrated
practices
Descriptionofasystems
approach building.
Managing the building
process from proposal
to completionusing
lean practices
.Encourages the adoption of lean
methodologies, and demonstrates how
these methods can improve projects
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
(continued)
Ergonomics 373
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Fuad-Luke
(2004)
Book The eco-design
handbook
Presents ‘best-designed’
objects for the home
and office, using the
most environmentally
sound materials and
building products.
Good summary of
history of ‘green
design’
.Many of the examples do not meet
ergonomics principles –thus
highlighting the gulf between designers
and ergonomists
.Sustainability is agrowing business
concern
Hedge (2008) HFES Bulletin The sprouting of ‘green’
ergonomics
To encourage
ergonomists to have a
proactive approach in
sustainable design
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
.Sustainable building practices need
also be incorporated at all stages. A
good building from an environmental
perspective should also be healthy and
comfortable for its inhabitants
Hedge (1998) Book What can we learn about
indoor environmental
quality concerns from
studies
Offers legal, medical,
behavioural,
industrial hygiene,
and engineering
expertise on
prevention and
planning for
professionals
concerned with
building-related illness
.Areview of common indoor
environmental quality problems, such
as HVAC systems, noise, lighting, and
water
Heilala et al.
(2008)
2008 Winter
Simulation
Conference
Simulation-based
sustainable
manufacturing system
design.
Description of integrated
simulation tool which
maximises production
efficiency
.Engineers and designers need decision
support to optimise sustainability
.Sustainability is becoming agrowing
business concern
Human
Factors and
Ergonomics
Society
(2004)
2004–2005
Directory and
Yearbook.
The Society’s mission is
to promote the
discovery and
exchange of
knowledge concerning
the characteristics of
human beings that are
applicable to the
design of systems and
devices of all kinds
.Ergonomics has afar reaching remit
‘to better the quality of human life
through the discipline of human
factors/ergonomics’
(continued)
374 K. Martin et al.
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Human Factors
and
Sustainable
Development
(2010)
International
Ergonomics
Association
website
The Technical
Committee is intended
to build apowerful
global network of
experts in the fields of
ergonomics and
sustainability
.The stated objectives are to increase
knowledge about the contribution of
ergonomics to other academics and
strengthen the relationship between
ergonomists and others working in the
area of sustainability
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
.Ergonomics, and sustainability, still
needs to be ‘sold’ to designers,
managers and other stakeholders
Kopec (2009) Book Health, sustainability
and the build
environment
Examines the concept of
sustainability as it
pertains to sustaining
human health
.Identifies the positive and negative
effects designs can have on the health
of occupants
��
McLennan
(2004)
Book The philosophy of
sustainable design
This book is intended as
astarting point for
anyone involved in
the building industry
to learn how to build
more sustainably
.Aphilosophical and historical
description of what responsible and
sustainable design is
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
Moray (1995) Ergonomics Ergonomics and the
global problems of the
twenty-first century
Questions what is the
role of ergonomics in
addressing major
social and ecological
problems in the
coming century
.Discussion on what is the future of
ergonomics
.Review of the role of ergonomics in
agriculture and related technologies
for reducing consumption and
increasing productivity of food
.Discussion on whether ergonomics can
help to design systems that cannot
pollute
.Discussion on what ergonomics can
contribute to the design of megalopolis
D. Moore (13
July 2011)
Personal
communication
Designing for
sustainability
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
.Ergonomics, and sustainability, still
needs to be ‘sold’ to designers,
managers and other stakeholders
(continued)
Ergonomics 375
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Moore (2009) Book Vulnerable populations
in industrially
advanced countries
Presenting aglobal view
of the state of
ergonomics in IDCs
.Industrially developing countries have
the largest populations, the highest
levels of poverty, poor health, and
illiteracy, and the greatest need for
improvement in working conditions
.Defines the steps that can be taken to
close the gap between working
conditions in affluent and deprived
nations.
.Promotes the idea that good
ergonomics is good economics.
Examples of low-cost interventions at
the work place in IDCs and how
sustainable progress is achievable in
the developing world
.Demonstrates the need for am
ore
inclusive macro approach, citing
managerial input essential for
sustainable progress.
��
Moore et al.
(2011)
IHFE Annual
Conference
HF/E in sustainable
development.
Introduces ideas on new
roles and
opportunities for
ergonomists related to
Sustainable
Development
.Ergonomists need to be involved in the
design of: systems related to the
transition to low carbon economies,
decision support, distributed working,
and transportation
.Ergonomists the skills to contribute to
sustainable design
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
.Ergonomics, and sustainability, still
needs to be ‘sold’ to designers,
managers and other stakeholders
Nickerson and
Moray
(1995)
Book Emerging needs and
opportunities in
human factors
research
Identifies areas that
represent new needs
and opportunities for
human factors
research
.Need for afocus on national or global
problems, including productivity in
organizations, education and training,
employment and disabilities, health
care, and environmental change;
technology issues, including
communications technology and
telenetworking, information access
(continued)
376 K. Martin et al.
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
and usability, emerging technologies,
automation, and flexible
manufacturing, and advanced
transportation systems; and human
performance, including cognitive
performance under stress and aiding
intellectual work
Nightingale
(1860)
Book Notes on nursing: what
it is, and what it is not
To help in the practice of
treating others
.Related to design –the importance of
the physical environment in
maintaining and restoring health
(indirectly)
Reason (1990) Book Human Error Atheoretical integration
and understanding of
the mechanisms of
error
.Identification of cognitive processes
common to awide variety of error
types
.Discussion on how improved safety
can be achieved only on the basis of a
better understanding of human error
mechanisms
(indirectly
Sanders and
McCormack
(1992)
Book Human factors in
engineering and
design
Book written for upper-
level undergraduate
and graduate
students, as well as for
practicing
professionals
.Topics covered include information
input, human output and control,
workplace design, environmental
conditions and human factor
applications
(indirectly)
Schneeberger
et al. (n.d.)
Rioþ20 United
Nations
Conference on
Sustainable
Development:
website
APocket Guide to
Sustainable
Development
Governance
Conceptualisation of
sustainable
development
.Highlights the need for sustainability
.Sustainable development integrates
three pillars: economic development;
social development; and
environmental protection.
.Outlines and comments on current
global initiatives
��
SCION (2009) Website Scion is aCrown
Research Institute
dedicated to building
the international
competitiveness of the
New Zealand forest
industry and building
astronger biobased
economy
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
��
(continued)
Ergonomics 377
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Table 2. ( Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Scott (2009) Book Sustainability: an
ergonomics
watchword for the
twenty-first century
Presenting aglobal view
of the state of
ergonomics in IDCs
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked, in developing
nations in particular, so that they
become more self-sustaining
.Participative approaches encourage
sustainability
Shaw (2008) Human Factors
and
Ergonomics
Society of
Australia
Conference,
Adelaide.
Participative workplace
design: essential to
creating sustainable
workplaces
Describes how
participative
approaches can be
used by building
designers to give them
an understanding of
how abuilding is used
as aworkspace
.Participative approaches encourage
sustainability
.Participative approaches increases the
safety, environmental, production and
quality standards of adesign
��
Sustainable
Design NZ
(n.d.)
Sustainable
Design Group
New Zealand
website
Aforum of New
Zealand design
professionals
dedicated to
promoting the growth
of sustainable design
.Aims to develop New Zealand’s
capability and capacity to research,
develop and deliver sustainable
products and services
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
Terry (2011,
April 19)
Sustainability
NZ website
NZ’s Climate Response
Officially Inadequate -
UN
Collective of people with
sustainability as a
goal, to assist the
realisation of a
sustainable New
Zealand
.Undertakes research into issues related
to the sustainable development of New
Zealand for example, genetic
modification.
.Sustainability, ergonomics and design
need to be linked
.Participative approaches encourage
sustainability
Thaler and
Sunstein
(2008)
Book Improving Decisions
about Health, Wealth,
and Happiness
The authors show that
by knowing how
people think, they can
design choice
environments that
make it easier for
people to choose what
is best for themselves,
their families, and
their society
.Every day, people make decisions on
topics ranging from personal
investments to schools for their
children to the meals they eat to the
causes they champion, and
unfortunately, these chooses are often
poor
.Human are all are susceptible to
various biases that can lead them to
blunder.
(continued)
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
.Mistakes make us poorer and less
healthy; often people make bad
decisions involving education,
personal finance, health care,
mortgages and credit cards, the family,
and even the planet itself.
WCED (1987) Report Our Common Future:
The Report of the
World Commission
on Environment and
Development.
The commission was
created to address
growing concern
about the accelerating
deterioration of the
human environment
and natural resources
and the consequences
of that deterioration
for economic and
social development
.In establishing the commission, the
UN General Assembly recognized that
environmental problems were global
in nature and determined that it was in
the common interest of all nations to
establish policies for sustainable
development
International
Ergonomics
Association
(2010)
Website What is ergonomics? The mission of the IEA
is to elaborate and
advance ergonomics
science and practice,
worldwide
.To develop more effective
communication and collaboration
with federated societies
.To advance the science and practice of
ergonomics at an international level
.To enhance the contribution of the
ergonomics discipline to global society
Vicente (1998) Systems
Engineering
Human Factors and
Global Problems: A
systems approach
This article describes
how the discipline of
human factors (or
ergonomics) can play
aunique role in
helping to solve global
problems
.Many of these problems can only be
solved by technological innovation,
but also by changing human
behaviour
.Two illustrative design principles—
behaviour-shaping constraints and
salient, immediate feedback—are
discussed.
Vicente (2008) Theoretical
issues in
Ergonomics
Science
Human factors
engineering that
makes adifference:
leveraging ascience of
societal change
Identifies challenges to
making ergonomic
changes
.Focus needs to be on changing the
design of the whole system
(indirectly)
(continued)
Ergonomics 379
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Table 2. (Continued).
Author and
year Source Description/title
Outcome measure/
objectives Key findings
Ergonomics
interventions
with a
sustainability
focus
Championing
of sustainability
in design
Wilson and
Corlett
(2005)
Book Evaluation of Human
Work
World-renowned experts
present ergonomics
techniques and
methods
.Ergonomics and design need to be
linked
.Participative approaches work best
(indirectly)
WWF (2010) Website Living Planet Report WWF’s mission is to
stop the degradation
of the planet’s natural
environment and to
build afuture where
people live in
harmony with nature
.Aims to conserve the world’s
biological diversity
.Aims to ensure that the use of
renewable natural resources is
sustainable
.Promotes the reduction of pollution
and wasteful consumption
Zink (2008) Book Corporate sustainability
as achallenge for
comprehensive
management.
Acomprehensive and up
to date coverage of
key concepts and
ideas relevant to HF/
Eand sustainability
.Future of work in asustainable society
.Achieving sustainability through
macroergonomics
.Building sustainable human centred
systems
.Human factors business excellence and
corporate sustainability –differing
perspective joint objectives
380 K. Martin et al.
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building and design journals, one in the Journal of Sustainable Development and seven articles from ergonomics
journals. This reversal of numbers simply reflectsthe use of ‘ergonom*’ or ‘human factor*’ as asearch term.
This article aims to bring the concepts/disciplines of ergonomics and sustainability together to bear on the main
problem facingo
ur age: sustainabilityi
tself. Such issueso
fh
elping two disparate disciplinest
ow
ork together have
been addressed before. An obvious one is the interface between ergonomics and quality e.g. Drury (2008a,b) and
Imada (2008). Anothero
bvious one is the extensive current literature about links/disparities between lean
manufacturing andergonomics, with findings not always as optimistic as indicated in the quoteincluded in the
present article (e.g.Holman et al. 2002, Stuart et al. 2003, Wells et al. 2007). However these issues, whilst very
relevant, are somewhat beyond the scopeofthe present article, but should be recognised.
The majority of studies focused on eitherthe need for sustainability, or on aproject that had sustainability as
agoal. They paint apicture of the development of sustainable design that provides abrief history, outlines the
need for it andhow it is becoming agrowing business concern. It also shows how sustainability and ergonomics
can optimise human well-being and overallsystem performance, and that behavioural interventionsand parti-
cipative ergonomics can encourage sustainability. Finally, they show that there is synergy between sustainable
practices, ergonomics and design. Seven themes were identified during the content analysis and they are discussed
below.
3.2. Abrief history of sustainable design
‘Green design’ was the norminprevious centuries. Goodsweremade locally, from readilyavailable local resources,
up until the Industrial Revolution. During that time almosthalf the rural population (in Britain) movedtothe cities
to work in factories.More and more resources were necessary to feed, clothe, transport and housethis population.
The first energy crisis in 1971 saw technologists begin designing products that consumed less energy (Fuad-Luke
2004). The words ‘environmental friendly’ began to be used extensively on advertising, though this was often not
substantiated. Green design gathered momentumwith the publication of the Bundtland Report in 1987.
‘Lean manufacturing’ arose in the 1950s at the Toyotaproduction plants,with the aim to provide the best
quality, lowest cost andshortest lead timethrough the elimination of waste (Eswaramoorthi et al. 2010). This
promotes both sustainable andergonomics ideals. Lean practices can be defined as using the minimal amount of
equipment, space and workers time, goals that will also lead to best ergonomics practices. An example taken from
Greenwald (2009) is when wasted motion is addressed and the resulting change reduces an operator’s reach distance
and brings the work closer to them, both lean standardsand ergonomics principles are met.
3.3. The need for sustainability
Thereisnodoubt that without sustainable practices, the global population (estimated to surpass nine billion by
2050) will not have sufficient resources (WCED 1987, WWF 2010). The WWF propose that the solutions to this lie
partlywith companies, andthe role they can play in sourcing, producing and purchasing raw materialsthat are
sustainably harvested.Ergonomicsknowledge will be necessary to guide production, to ensure efficientand effective
outcomes.Ergonomics practitioners are needed to input at amacro level, as well as at amicrolevel with innovative
interventions.
The European Union hasregulations relating to pollution, and manyother directives relevant to designers and
manufacturers, including on vehicles, electronic equipment, toxic anddangerous waste and packaging and
packaging waste (Fuad-Luke2004). Once again, ergonomists are well placed to take asystems view and apply their
knowledge and skills to sustainable practicesatall stages of design. However, as found in this literature review,
ergonomists have been slow to addtheir voice to the sustainability issue.
3.4. Sustainability is agrowing business concern
It can be seen from this that sustainability is becoming agrowing businessconcern (Fuad-Luke 2004, Heilala et al.
2008) andthat an increasing number of international companiesare including sustainabilityasanessential part of
their corporate vision. Indeed Ellison and Nou(2011) point out that more companiesnow place an emphasis on a
balance between people, planet and profit as well as equity, environment and economy, and that ergonomists are
increasingly involved. Faud-lukea
nd Heilal et al. claimt
hat designers should aim to reduce the environmental
impactofproducts, buildings and material by designing in a‘sustainable way’.The ultimatedesign challenge is to
avoid the negative impacts of all products on the environment. However, many of the examples in Fuad-Luke’s
Ergonomics 381
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book do not meet ergonomics principles e.g. chairs that may be ‘beautiful’ and are made from renewable or recycled
or recyclable material but not supportive or comfortable. This wouldnot optimise human performance.
Anotherexampleisgiven by Guimaraes and dos Santos (2012),inwhich they describe the application of the
sociotechnical design method for the development of eco-friendlyshoes for students in Brazilian schools.They show
how atraditional and dangerous method for shoemanufacture can be transformed into amore sustainable one by
identifying users’ basic needs, the residuematerials in the local region, identifying the product needs in terms of all
users and the environment, evaluating the cost and benefits of potential solutions by considering sustainability,
qualityand recycling.
Sustainability can also be considered from ahealth perspective, with an emphasis on the use of human- and
environmentally friendly products (Kopec 2009). Using ergonomics principles to design abuild environment that
promotes healthwill also increase productivity.‘Sick building syndrome’ and building related illnesses such as
Legionnaires disease came to prominence in the 1980s, and Kopec (2009, p14) writes that ‘when designers consider
sustainability, we must consider ways to sustain good health’. In 1860, Florence Nightingale wrote of the beneficial
effectofsunlight, views from windows and fresh air. She stated that the very first canon of nursing was ‘to keep the
air he breathesaspure as the external air, without chilling him’ (Nightingale 1860, p. 8). The European
Environment Agency (EEA 2011) notes that the interactions between the environmentand human healthare
multifaceted and complex to assess. The most proven healthimpacts are relatedtoambient air pollution, poor water
qualityand insufficient sanitation, and many ergonomists have contributed information and research in these areas,
notably,AlanHedge (Hedge1998).
Additionally, as Macmillan(2006) highlights in his reviewonbuilding design, decisions need to be informed by
the best available evidence abouthow the physical environment can support social and economic outcomes.He
states that many of the articles he cites in his literature reviewshow alack of such evidence.
3.5. Sustainability –a
nd ergonomics –optimises human well-being and overalls
ystem performance
Chapanis(1995, p. 26), an ergonomist with over 50 years of experience,writes that ergonomists apply their
knowledge to ‘the design of tools,machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for productive, safe,
comfortable,and effective human use’. The overalldesign process involves the analysis, design andevaluation of
any or all of these components,and is an iterative process. Adesign undergoes many iterationsbefore it is complete.
Therefore, an ergonomists role is to guide this process, andp
art of this is incorporating sustainable ideas and
practices. Fischer and Zink (2012) extend this to arguet
hat sustainable development comprises the management of
human,social, ecological and economic capital in abalanced manner.
Patricia Scott in her article ‘Global inequality, and the challenge for ergonomics to take amore dynamicrole to
redressthe situation’ takes amore far-reachingview.She asserts that ergonomics, in industrially developing
countries, must assist companies‘to strive for sustainable development through an ethos of productivity devoid of
exploitation’ (Scott 2008, p. 498) to satisfy humankind’s material needs. She states that appropriate ergonomics
guidance is required to improve productivity,which also addresses the poor working conditionsofthe workers in
these countries. Scott says participative programmes work best, and are also sustainable.
3.6. Ergonomic behavioural interventions can encourage sustainability
Reductions in energy consumption can be encouraged using behaviouralinterventions (Vincente1998, Flemming
et al. 2008). Theseauthors foundthat well designedfeedback tools can increase the likelihoodofindividuals
conserving energy. One study (Woodand Newborough 2003, cited in Flemming et al. 2008) found that participants
used 12% less electricity to cook mealsathomewith the help of an electronic feedback display. Fleming et al. (2008,
p. 752) call for an interdisciplinary approach to conservation and sustainabilitya
nd note that ‘human factors
engineerscan contribute their knowledge of decision making,mentalmodels, anddisplays and controls, as well as
their skills in experimentaldesign and usabilityassessment’tothe domain of sustainability.
Sutcliffeet al. (2008) report asimilarfinding. They reported that individuals made reductions to their
environmental impactwhen given feedback about their ‘ecological footprint’.D.Moore, C. Drury,and K. Zink
(personal communication, 12 July 2011) also conclude that those working in ergonomics have opportunities and
responsibilities for some new applications of existing skills, and can make contributions towards sustainable
outcomes.Young designers also need to be encouraged to think how products can be more sustainable –bythe
selection of the product material,areduction in energy usage or waste generated,orbychanging the behaviour of
the person using the product (Howarth and Hadfield 2006).
382 K. Martin et al.
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Guimaraes (2012) outlines ap
articipative approach to sociotechnical design for as
ustainable world that aims to
meet the basic needs of people at the base of the social pyramid using waste as raw material for developingproducts/
systems with high added values.Hedescribes amultiple matrix approach that identifies design opportunities by
brainstorming the cross matchbetween basic needs and the available forms of waste in alocality, considersthe
ergonomic demandsofprimary, intermediate and endusers, and evaluates the design alternatives in terms of
sustainability, qualityand cost. His method is aligned with cradle-to-cradle and initiative chain production system
approaches, and is consistent with zero emissions research.
3.7. Participative approaches can encourage sustainability
Manystudies found that it is important to engage all stakeholders in the design process.Inparticular,users of
building or otherdesigns gain abetterunderstanding of the intent of the designers, and how the features of the
design can best be utilised(Anastas andZimmerman 2003, Thomas 2010, Ha
¨kkinen andBelloni 2011).
Additionally, Shaw (2008) states that building designers tend to focus on the environmental aspectsofthe structure
itself,rather than the environmental impacts of its use as aworkplace. Designers may also have littleunderstanding
of how the buildingwillbeusedasaworkplace. Aparticipative approach can address this by using industry and
workplace knowledge, along with design skill, to meet all objectives, including the goal of sustainability. The most
effective design is one that achievesall standards, ergonomic, environmental,production, quality and occupational
health, as well as meeting the needsofall the stakeholders.
3.8. Sustainability, ergonomics and design
The possible synergistic effect of sustainable practices, ergonomics and design can be illustrated with asimple
example. Research suggeststhat the greatest benefits for comfort, healthand productivity occur with an office
lighting system in which indirect ambient light is coupled with direct,u
ser adjustable task light to create at
wo-
component lighting solution with daylight (Hedge2
000). ‘Deep’ buildings were once the norm but now designers are
seeing the advantagesofdesigns that allow for natural light, therefore promoting health, ergonomics benefits and
sustainable practices.
In July 2008, membersofthe InternationalErgonomics Association founded aTechnical Committee, ‘Human
Factors and Sustainable Development’, with the intention of buildinganauthoritative global network of expertsin
the fields of ergonomics and sustainability. The stated objectives are to increase knowledge about the contribution
of ergonomics to other academics and strengthen the relationshipbetween ergonomists and others working in the
area of sustainability. The group states that:
amore efficient design of work processes, participatory capacity building concepts or the use of macroergonomic change
management instruments ... (will allow) ... those technical, organizational and social innovations that are necessary for a
more sustainable development in regard to environmental, social and economic aspects (Human Factors and Sustainable
Development 2010).
However, as one committee member has noted ‘designing for sustainability is not straightforward’ (D. Moore,
personal communication, 13 July 2011). Moreover, ergonomists appear to be dawdling in making their contribution
in this area.
4. Discussion
Anumber of themescan be identified from the presentreview. Theseare: (1) changing to sustainable practices is
essential to avoid significant negative impacts in the (near) future; (2) ergonomics needstobe‘sold’ to designers and
(3) sustainability, and ergonomics, and ‘green’ design need to be linked.
4.1. Sustainability is needed –and is, to adegree, legislated
Governments are encouraging or even legislating to reduce waste sent to landfill by increased reuse and recycling
(Howarthand Hadfield2006). The European Union has specific regulations relating to pollution, and dangerous
waste. However, in New Zealand, aUNreview team has stated that the government’s response to climate change is
inadequate. The UN could find no plan for how the nation could meet their emissions reductiont
argetf
or 2020. The
reviewvoices its ‘greatconcern’ aboutwhether New Zealand will put measures in place in time to do so (Terry 2011).
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Taking the New Zealand examplef
urther, there are some positives. In New Zealand (as in other countries) the
Sustainable Business Network runs aSustainable Design and Innovationawardannually to seek out and profile
excellent new design. Anotherg
roup, Sustainable Design NZ, has av
ision to ‘develop New Zealand’sc
apability and
capacitytoresearch,develop and deliver sustainable products andservices’ (SustainableDesign NZ n.d.).However,
while their stated aim is to foster collaboration between key stakeholders in sustainable design, there is no evidence
of input by ergonomists evidentontheir website or documents.Likewise, the New Zealand Ergonomics Society
website has makes no reference to, or has any links to ‘sustainability’.
However, agovernment entity, Scion (involved in the New Zealand forestindustry and in buildingastronger
bio-based economy) list sustainable design as one of their three major research areas –‘providing new knowledge
and technologies needed to achieve positive economic outcomes,resulting in the lowest environmental footprint and
maximising social and cultural outcomes’(SCION 2009). New Zealand is not alone in having lack of focusand
inconsistencies in its approach. Designers, andergonomists, that canincorporate principles of lean, or green,
manufacturing into their designs will also have acompetitive businessedge.
4.2. Sustainability –and ergonomics –still needs to be ‘sold’ to designers
Thereisaplethoraofinformationavailable by,and for, engineers, designers andarchitectsonsustainability. Very little
hasbeenwritten by ergonomistsabout designingfor sustainability.Ergonomistsare in fact stillstrugglingtobe
incorporatedand recognised as an integral part of thedesignprocess.Monroe(2006,p.42) pointsout that ‘engineers
newtoergonomicsare oftensurprised by how much of theirtimetheyhavetospend sellingergonomicstomanagers
andothersintheir organisation’. Just as ergonomics benefitsare oftendifficult to quantify,sotoo is ‘selling’the benefits
of sustainability.The goal is forbothergonomics, andsustainability, to become acentral part of design.Todothisit
will be necessarytoshowthatbyincorporating thesepractices both qualityand productivity canbeenhanced.
As recently as 2010, Attaianese and Duca have foundthat acomprehensive methodology for designing
ergonomic buildings is still lacking. They outlineaniterative process for architecturaldesign activities that includes
ergonomics. Sustainable building practices need also be incorporated at all stages. Agoodbuildingfrom an
environmental perspective should also be healthyand comfortable for its inhabitants (Hedge2008).
One way to promotes
ustainable design is to communicate to all stake-holders about the economic benefits to be
gained. Sustainable buildings are energy efficienta
nd can offer major cost savingsd
uring operation. They save by
reducing waste, are able to anticipatef
orthcoming legislation in regard to building practices, andh
ave improved
brand andreputation which translates in higher occupancy rentals (Ha
¨kkinen and Belloni 2011). However, if a
green building is designedwith littlethought to ergonomicprinciples it will not promoteefficient andeffective use
and workersatisfaction.
Design,without an ergonomist’s input,islesslikelytoleadtoproductiveand successful outcomes.Wilsonand
Corlett(2005)provide many examples;one whichled to loss of life andgreat financial cost wasthe failed
implementation of anew controlsystemfor theLondon AmbulanceService.These authorsstate that thepotential
benefitsofhuman centreddesigninclude improved safety,performance andsatisfaction. Unfortunately, it is not always
seen this way, andergonomists areoften underutilised(Wilson andCorlett 2005). Thereare many reasonsfor this,and
Burnsand Vicente(2000,p.73) arguethatergonomists ‘needtounderstandthe constraintsthatgovernengineering
design projects andhow thoseconstraints impact theconsideration of ergonomicdesignfeatures’.Theyconcludethat
theone of thegreatestbarrierstosuccessfuldesignisthe inabilityofdifferentdisciplines (designers,engineers and
ergonomists) to understand andappreciateeachother’s different views. This requires ongoingnegotiation,and
educationonthe benefitsofergonomics. Ergonomistshaveanessentialroleinthe design process, andasstatedinthe
IEAd
efinition,i
ti
st
heir responsibility is to ensure ergonomic theories andp
rinciplesa
re appliedt
od
esign.
4.3. Sustainability, and ergonomics, and ‘green’ designn
eed to be linked
Green technologies and design strategiesinclude such things as selection of building materials that have low toxicity,
increased use of daylight, andinclusion of high quality, energy efficient lighting (Heerwagen 2000). Not only will
such practices have benefits such as reduced use of resources, but they will also be conducive to human health and
productivity (Thomas 2010). Moreover, the cost of sustainable construction is often no greater than the cost of a
conventionalbuilding (Forbes andAhmed 2011). Heerwagen’s article provides severalexamples of the positive
productivity outcomes achievedthrough green building practices. For example, she states that numerous studies
have found that office workers favour daylightand prefer being by windows. Peoplewho sit by windows experience
less stress and lower levels of Sick Building Syndrome (even when the windows don’t open).
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In the USA, the Green Building Councile
ndorses the Green Building Rating System, through the Leadershipi
n
Energy and Environmental Design(LEED)process.Inthe past decade, more than 14,000 LEED-certified projects
have been completed in the USA andi
n3
0o
ther countries (Hedge2
008). The ratings
ystem measures factors such as
the sustainability of the site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materialsand resources and indoor
environmental quality. Ergonomists with as
ystem approach can makec
ontributions to all these factors, and in
particular to the finalcategory–with innovation in the design process.This includes the creation and maintenance
of afl
exible, ergonomice
nvironment that accommodates building users, and promotes healthy, comfortable and
productive work.
5. Limitations
The initial search conducted only used termswhich included either‘ergonom*’ or ‘human factors’ and ‘sustainab*’.
At least two journal articles (Moray 1995, Vicente 1998) which covered the topic of ergonomics design for
sustainabilitywerenot found by this search, because they did not use the term ‘sustainab*’. Thisbegged the
question as to whether there were further articles which might be foundifawider range of search termswere
employed; for instance bothofthese articles, which were simply recalled from memorybyone of the authors, used
the phrase ‘globalproblems’, yet this is not astandardergonomics term seen as equivalent to ‘sustainability’ (indeed
it hasm
any other meanings, including in information processing and computation).I
ta
lso begs the question of how
familiar ergonomists are with the term ‘sustainability’ and whether this might have changed over the last decade.
Ergonomists often usethe term ‘sustainability’ with reference to, say manufacturing,inthe sense of less waste or
fewer injuries, or in particular to refer to efficiency, somewhat akin to ‘lean’manufacturing and TQM.There is also
anarrow sense of the word relating to economic performance of businesses –abusiness is sustainable if it can
continue to operate (e.g.retainstaff and turn aprofit). Anotherreasonablynarrow use often applies in ergonomics
to ‘socialsustainability’, in the sense of avoiding injuries and providing ahealthy work environment, somewhat akin
to corporate social responsibility. In effect, ergonomists appear to refer to the economic and social dimensions of the
‘triple bottom line’ of sustainable development, less often referring to the (global) environmental dimension. This
presumably follows from the traditional concept in ergonomics of ‘joint optimisation’ of technical and personnel
subsystems. Unfortunately, this would seem to be skewing the meaning of ‘sustainability’ and‘sustainable
development’ away from the more complete meaningitissupposed to have. This wouldbeforgivable if asimple
sustainable development model applied whereby social,environmental and economic factors were perceived as three
equally intersecting Venn diagrams. It would be less forgivable if, as many insist, as
tronger sustainability model is
more accurate[
in which the economy (the ‘econosphere’) is as
ubset of society (the ‘sociosphere’) which is as
ubset
of the environment (the ‘biosphere’) SANZ 2009, p. 8].
It is suggested that ergonomists wishing to refer to amore limited concept–i.e. one that doesnot seek to
integrate social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainability, should perhaps choose to describe their
concept without using the word ‘sustainable’. Even phrases like ‘sustainable production systems’ (used by
Westgaard and Winkel 2011, to mean ‘the joint consideration of competitiveperformance and working conditions
in along term perspective’)are somewhat misleading when one is accustomed to ‘sustainable development’ referring
to three, rather than two, dimensions and ‘sustainability’ as being an overarching systems discipline.
Thatcher (2012) discusses the skewed coverage of economic and social elements of sustainability, at the expense
of environmental elements. In aw
ay, many ergonomists seem to refer to an
arrow aspect of ‘sustainability’ in the
way that many non-ergonomists seem to think ergonomics is physical anthropometry and design of objects. In fact
both are disciplines dealing with complex sociotechnical systems.
In choosing which articles to include, we selected those which appeared to have acomplete conceptof
sustainability, rather than anarrow concept which used the term but could have been referring to ‘efficiency’ or
‘CSR’.Clearlythis is asubjective assessment and others might makedifferent selections. The search startdate of
1995 was chosen as ap
ragmatic startp
ointb
ut the end date of 2012 meanst
hat the reviewi
sc
urrent. It should be
noted that ‘environmental change’ had not received alot of attention from the ergonomics research community
prior to this (Nickerson and Moray 1995).
6. Conclusions
The results of this literature reviewprovide amixed pictureofthe role of ergonomics in sustainabilityand
sustainable design. The research so far appears to provide only limited ergonomics commentary on the issue,and
little in the way of methodsonhow to achieve the goals. The reviewshows that ergonomists have not been at the
Ergonomics 385
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forefront of research contributing to sustainability. With af
ew exceptions, sustainability appears to be ar
elatively
new concept to ergonomics, andsome ambiguity surrounds the constructs and concepts. Many approaches are
being developed across disciplines,i
ndustries and sectors, but it is clear that these approaches are currently neither
systematic nor comprehensive. In their reviewarticle about the barriers and driversfor sustainable building,
Ha
¨kkinen and Belloni(
2011, p. 239) statet
hat the most important actionst
op
romotei
ta
re ‘the development of the
awareness of clients aboutthe benefits of sustainable building’ and ‘the development of designers’ competence and
team working’. Therefore, there is much scope for the involvement of ergonomics and ergonomists. This presents
them with an opportunity to ‘seize the day’.
The benefits of sustainable design are those also soughtbyergonomists –improved well-being andproductivity
of occupants and users of the design, due to improved design performance. D. Moore, C. Drury, and K. Zink
(personal communication, 13 July 2011) howeverpointout that ‘we are considering Sustainable Development whilst
within our discipline we still have problems, consciously or otherwise, with consistently demonstrating what good
practice in old-fashioned(possibly unsustainable)development looks like; particularly in large scale,top down
endeavours’. They go on to say that the ergonomics community is well placed to have astrong role in sustainable
development. Practitioners have the skills and techniquesneeded for asystem approachand for user-centredness.
The likelihood that changewill be initiated is also dependent on having asignificant group of organised
advocates (Vicente2008). Vicente’sarticle reviews how ergonomics can affect societal change. He points out that the
focus needs to be on changing the design of the wholesystem, that making changes at amicro level will not bring
aboutwidespread behaviouralchange. Ergonomics has afar reaching remit –‘to betterthe quality of human life
through the discipline of human factors/ergonomics’ (Statement of Purpose, Human Factors and Ergonomics
Society2004, p. 361). Moore (2009, p. 197) also advocates that ergonomics ‘underlying philosophy needs to be not
only fitting the tasks to mankind, but also, fitting mankind to the planet’. In conclusion,sustainability needs a
holistic approach, with paricipative input, from all sectorsand disciplines to achieve the goal of the planet not living
beyond its means. In view of these findings, there is consierable scope for ergonomist to contribute to sustainable
design by ‘seizing the day’ –‘carpe diem’.
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... Several researchers have addressed ergonomics and the role of humans as well in sustainability and sustainable growth since the early 1990s, mostly since 2010 [12][13][14][15]. Sadeghi Naeini [16] introduced green ergonomics as a key factor toward sustainable development. ...
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... Design: Streamline design activity by adopting the commitment to SD [53,54,58], and, particularly significant, "Ergonomics is now an essential component of design culture and a key factor for both product and production process innovation, capable of guiding design processes toward the real needs and expectations of individuals and the community. Ergonomics also provides the necessary methodological content and an intervention philosophy that allow the construction of a user-oriented design process, and, at the same time, the design offers solutions capable of interpreting needs and expectations and suggesting new behaviors and lifestyles" [59]. ...
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Due to the actual level of carbon emissions, climate change causes disruptions in business process development and also affects human health. The obvious solution, which will ensure a future for the coming generations, is related to sustainable development (SD). Furthermore, by the effective intervention of ergonomics in organizational processes, risk management and social aspects will improve. In this article, we argue that it is not enough to only define an effective approach to greening an organization—managers and leaders need effective tools to monitor and control the implementation of the proposed approach. Thus, with this article, we aim to bring theoretical and applicative contributions to SD management and to propose a conceptual model for green companies based on an integrated management strategy and a complex assessment model (the LeadSUS assessment methodology). In the first phase, the proposed methodology is developed based on qualitative theoretical research, analysis, comparison, deductions, and conceptualization. The research results highlight important issues for defining the Green Enterprise Model, which is based on elements of the integrated strategy definition. In the second phase, the model, together with an associated methodology for the assessment of SD maturity level, supports the process of monitoring and controlling the implementation of the strategy. This approach is intended to create the conditions for the integrated management strategy and green enterprise configuration models. Furthermore, three case studies validate the proposed approach.
... Green office technology can thus serve as a tangible and engaging demonstration of an organization's investment in sustainable development [54]. Notably, however, deploying green office technology without a clear understanding of ergonomics will still likely fail to promote efficiency, effective, and satisfying use on behalf of office workers [55]. ...
... With early integration and demonstrating an understanding of user needs and behavior, green ergonomics could help office designers to develop OPOs that require less energy overall [55], while still preserving the autonomy of individuals to adjust [65]; for example, by designing a layout that enables occupants to optimize their exposure to natural light, ventilation, and solar radiation (and thus minimize the need for artificial light and HVAC systems). ...