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Sustainable Design and Internet of Things Technologies on Campus: The IPVC Smartbottle Practical Case



Higher education institutions (HEIs) are favored environments for the implementation of technological solutions that accelerate the generation of smart campi, given the dynamic ecosystem they create based on the involvement of inspired and motivated human resources (students, professors, and researchers), moving around in an atmosphere of advanced digital infrastructures and services. Moreover, HEIs have, in their mission, not only the creation of integrated knowledge through Research and Development (R&D) activities but also solving societal problems that address the academic community expectations concerning environmental issues, contributing, therefore, towards a greener society embodied within the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article addresses the design and implementation of a Smartbottle Ecosystem in which an interactive and reusable water bottle communicates with an intelligent water refill station, both integrated by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), to eliminate the use of single-use plastic water bottles in the premises of the Polytechnical Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC), an HEI with nearly 6000 students. Three main contributions were identified in this research: (i) the proposal of a novel methodology based on the association of Design Thinking and Participatory Design as the basis for Sustainable Design; (ii) the design and development of an IoT-enabled smartbottle prototype; and (iii) the usability evaluation of the proposed prototype. The adopted methodology is rooted in Design Thinking and mixes it with a Participatory Design approach, including the end-user opinion throughout the Smartbottle Ecosystem design process, not only for the product design requirements but also for its specification. By promoting a participatory solution tailored to the IPVC academic community, recycled plastic has been identified as the preferential material and a marine mammal was selected for the smartbottle shape, in the process of developing a solution to replace the single-use plastic bottles.
Citation: Curralo, A.F.; Lopes, S.I.;
Mendes, J.; Curado, A. Joining
Sustainable Design and Internet of
Things Technologies on Campus: The
IPVC Smartbottle Practical Case.
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922.
Academic Editors: Vicky Lofthouse
and Ksenija Kuzmina
Received: 30 December 2021
Accepted: 7 May 2022
Published: 13 May 2022
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Joining Sustainable Design and Internet of Things
Technologies on Campus: The IPVC Smartbottle Practical Case
Ana Filomena Curralo 1, 2, * , Sérgio Ivan Lopes 1,3,4 , João Mendes 1and António Curado 1,5
Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua da Escola Industrial e
Comercial de Nun’Alvares, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal; (S.I.L.); (J.M.); (A.C.)
2ID+—Instituto de Investigação em Design, Media e Cultura, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
3ADiT-LAB, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial Nun’Álvares,
4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
4IT—Instituto de Telecomunicações, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
ProMetheus, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua da Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Alvares,
4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Higher education institutions (HEIs) are favored environments for the implementation
of technological solutions that accelerate the generation of smart campi, given the dynamic ecosys-
tem they create based on the involvement of inspired and motivated human resources (students,
professors, and researchers), moving around in an atmosphere of advanced digital infrastructures
and services. Moreover, HEIs have, in their mission, not only the creation of integrated knowledge
through Research and Development (R&D) activities but also solving societal problems that address
the academic community expectations concerning environmental issues, contributing, therefore,
towards a greener society embodied within the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs). This article addresses the design and implementation of a Smartbottle Ecosystem in which
an interactive and reusable water bottle communicates with an intelligent water refill station, both
integrated by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT),
to eliminate the use of single-use plastic water bottles in the premises of the Polytechnical Institute of
Viana do Castelo (IPVC), an HEI with nearly 6000 students. Three main contributions were identified
in this research: (i) the proposal of a novel methodology based on the association of Design Thinking
and Participatory Design as the basis for Sustainable Design; (ii) the design and development of
an IoT-enabled smartbottle prototype; and (iii) the usability evaluation of the proposed prototype.
The adopted methodology is rooted in Design Thinking and mixes it with a Participatory Design
approach, including the end-user opinion throughout the Smartbottle Ecosystem design process, not
only for the product design requirements but also for its specification. By promoting a participa-
tory solution tailored to the IPVC academic community, recycled plastic has been identified as the
preferential material and a marine mammal was selected for the smartbottle shape, in the process of
developing a solution to replace the single-use plastic bottles.
sustainable design; smart campus; smartbottle; participatory design; design thinking;
RFID; internet of things; plastic waste reduction; customer-focused technology
1. Introduction
Sustainable development is expected to foster a more compassionate, fairer, and
broad-minded exploration of planetary resources, strongly committed to reinforcing the
respect for life on Earth for future generations, by respecting mankind and nature. This
embodies the basis of the AGENDA 2030 to reach the United Nations (UN) Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) [
]. To reach more sustainable development, Higher Education
Institutions (HEIs) must create integrated knowledge throughout research and investigation
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922.
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 2 of 19
activities focused on solving-problem projects designed to reach academic community
expectations [
]. Additionally, HEIs play a leading role in the educational training of
their public, therefore assuming a major intervention in Sustainable Development [
The Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC), in northern Portugal, is such an
institution that is fully committed to playing a central role in the implementation of policies
that contribute to a circular, low-carbon economy and sustainable socio-environmental
systems in close alignment with regional, national, cross-border, and global strategic
options, namely those defined in the UN SDGs.
Under the scope of sustainable development, IPVC is conducting a pilot project named
Refill_H2O, funded by EEA Grants Portugal, that aims to eliminate the use of plastic water
bottles on the IPVC Campus and therefore contributes to the UN SDGs #4 and #14, “Quality
Education” and “Life Below water, respectively, through the design and development of
an interactive smart and sustainable bottle that communicates with an intelligent water
refill station to promote ecologically correct attitudes among local users, such as students,
professors, researchers, and other academic staff, thus contributing to the reduction of
plastic consumption in bars, canteens, and residences within the IPVC premises. The final
objective of this project is to tackle plastic pollution in the Earth’s environment, which
adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitats, and humans, contributing to the achievement
of the UN SDG #14. Although all marine life is in decline due to ocean pollution, in the
next 30 to 50 years, a large proportion of marine animals could lose more than half of their
population due to hazardous substances in seawater.
By embracing the Refill_H2O project, the IPVC desires to take a lead as a sustain-
ability model of excellence [
], therefore bearing special responsibilities concerning
environmental sustainability and sustainable development, understood as the ability to
meet present needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their needs.
Additionally, Refill_H2O plans to encourage ecological behaviors in the academic commu-
nity contributing to a paradigm shift through new habits by favoring the eradication of
single-use plastic water bottles and respective waste and pollution. The project involved
staff, students, teachers, and researchers, demonstrating through real-life problem-solving
the meaning of sustainable design and customer-focused technology.
The in situ implementation of the Refill_H2O project reaches all of the IPVC premises,
including bars, canteens, and residences. In addition to raising ecological awareness and
change towards a sustainability mindset, the tangible system developed is composed
of a sustainable reusable smartbottle that interacts/communicates with a refill station
supplying filtered water. Both products (smart, sustainable bottle and water refill station)
were subject to a previous survey applied throughout the IPVC community based on
the methodological concept of Design Thinking towards the coexistence of social and
technological development options in systems that require human interaction, involving
the users in the design of the products they will afterward use [
]. The development of
both products progressed simultaneously since the implementation of interactive artifacts
poses technological challenges, namely concerning the identification of technologies for
wireless communication which must allow the interaction between the bottle and the
refill station.
This interaction is supported by the application of Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT), exploring the use of short-range ra-
diofrequency communications to allow greater interoperability between the smart and
sustainable bottle and the refill station. For that, the bottle design includes a radio frequency
identification (RFID) chip for easy integration with the refill station management system,
allowing an automatic recharge process without physical contact with the equipment.
Additionally, the refill station management system provides a set of indicators to allow
the assessment of quantifiable sustainability parameters, such as the estimated amount
of avoided plastic waste and energy savings resulting from the global reduction of waste,
the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and information on the environmental
footprint of each system user. The development of these products (smart, sustainable bottle
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 3 of 19
and water refill station) was only possible due to the interaction between the disciplines of
Design and Engineering, which could provide an integrated design solution contributing
to the evolution and improvement of the final products, by considering the specific needs
of users, as inspired by Brown’s Design Thinking models [
]; a scenario where ICT and
IoT technologies play a fundamental role, encouraging the autonomy of users, and peda-
gogically allowing them to recognize, identify and reduce the environmental footprint. In
addition, the association between sustainable design and technological innovation plays a
decisive role in the change of behavior towards sustainable practices, promoting ecoliter-
acy and systemic changes both inside and outside the IPVC premises. Design Thinking
allowed the use of problem-solving methods that respond to the needs of individuals in a
technological way [14].
This article addresses the design and implementation of a smartbottle that communi-
cates with an exclusive drinking water dispensing system, designed to enhance the final
users’ enthusiasm and motivation towards environmentally friendly approaches, consid-
ering nature resources and more planet-friendly materials as part of the design process,
to eliminate single-use water plastic bottles purchased in the IPVC premises, involving
almost 6000 students, 51,000 small plastic bottles (0.5 L) and 15,000 large plastic bottles
(1.5 L), translating into approximately 1215 kg of plastic waste averted. To stimulate the
sustainability mindset and ecological awareness, the water refill station was designed to
display information concerning individual water intake but also environmental sustain-
ability metrics and indicators, such as the estimated amount of averted plastic waste, the
energy-saving from overall waste reduction and the reduction of greenhouse gas emission,
and information on the user’s environmental footprint.
These elements are the reason why the communication aspect of the system was
developed. Besides motivating group interaction and integration through belonging to
the exclusive drinking water system, this system is designed to be pedagogical and to
encourage sustainability concerns and further action, beyond the boundaries of this specific
sustainable design project and beyond the walls of a higher education institution. A durable
design solution intended as a reminder of a common goal to reach zero waste, it includes the
shape of a marine mammal as a personification and reminder of the reason why reducing,
reusing, and recycling are important for individuals, communities, and the environment
while saving money, energy, and natural resources. As a result, three main contributions
have been put forward: (i) the proposal of a novel methodology based on the association
of Design Thinking and Participatory Design as the basis for Sustainable Design; (ii) the
design and development of an IoT-enabled smartbottle prototype; and (iii) the usability
evaluation of the proposed prototype.
In addition to the development and implementation of an innovative system based
on the long-term use of recycled materials and information technologies, the Refill_H20
challenge guarantees good quality of the stored water and involves the whole academic
community, including staff, teachers, and almost 6000 students, most of which are young
adults and more prone to mindset changes. The project offers a reflection topic, a subject for
discussion and careful consideration, and provides substantial information on sustainability
and change in mindset and attitudes. The elimination of disposable plastic bottles at the
gym and the increase of water intake as an essential habit to promote a healthy diet, and
the recognition of water as essential to life on the planet, affect all species.
In short, this research aims to respond to sustainability challenges at the academic
level, namely by promoting the elimination of single-use plastic bottles in bars, canteens,
and halls of residences within the IPVC premises, thus enabling achieving two major
objectives: (1) to meet UN SDG #14, which is related to the conservation and sustainable
use of the oceans, seas, and marine resources; and (2) by promoting change in the mindset
and attitudes in the academic community, therefore helping to meet the UN SDG #4,
aiming to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education to encourage sustainability
concerns and further action among the academic community. To this end, a survey amongst
the IPVC academic community has been performed to involve end-users in the design
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 4 of 19
process of the products they will afterward use. The results have been analyzed and used
for the specification of the IPVC Smartbottle Ecosystem, which comprises an interactive
smartbottle that communicates with an intelligent water refill station. The overall ecosystem
was designed and developed to promote ecologically proper attitudes amongst the IPVC
community, thus contributing to the reduction of plastic consumption in the academy. The
impact of using such a system on the academic community is still under monitoring.
This document is organized as follows: Section 2introduces background theoretical
concepts; Section 3presents the Materials and Methods, based on the Design Thinking
methodology by using the participatory design approach; Section 4presents the results
of the participatory design process and its related surveys, the prototyping stage, and
the technological approach; the discussion of results in Section 5identifies a transdisci-
plinary approach, joining different areas such as Product Design, Electronics, and Materials
Engineering; finally, the conclusions present the main achievements of the present research.
2. Background
2.1. Sustainability and Design Thinking
Over-exploitation of natural resources, massive consumerism, and the excess of ex-
isting products and respective waste and pollution have worldwide effects. Particularly
plastic pollution, being such a persistent material, has a long-term ecological, economic,
and eco-toxicological effect. Information and mindset changes are key for a sustainable
future. Ecoliteracy is one of the main agents of change in a feedback process between society
and industry, towards sustainable manufacturing, minimizing negative environmental
impacts while conserving energy, and natural resources over their whole life cycle, from
the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.
The expression ‘Sustainable Design’ refers to a rational, structured process to create
something new [
] to solve problems concerning sustainability [
]. The sustainable design
emerged in the 1960s along with the concept of sustainable development. At the time, the
visionary American architect and philosopher Richard Buckminster Fuller declared that
a comprehensive anticipatory design science should be adopted to create an operational
manual for spacecraft Earth in order to guide human development while preserving the
environment, optimizing the use of resources, and ensuring their fair distribution [
]. In
the 1970s, Victor Papanek developed these ideas in his book Design for the Real World [
which may be considered the steppingstone for the theory of sustainable design [19].
Currently, sustainable design is implicated in ecoliteracy and in the environmental and
social impacts this project will have on a restricted community and the world. Acting as a
philosophy, the sustainable design integrates an environmentally friendly approach and
considers nature resources and more planet-friendly materials as part of the design. Inviting
the system users to reuse more, recycle more, and reduce more, because reducing, reusing,
and recycling can help individuals, communities, and the environment, saving money,
energy, and natural resources. This holistic approach thus combines environmentally
responsible design and social responsibility [20].
About 80% of a product’s environmental impact is defined in the early design stages
of product development [
]. Designers are responsible for specifying the material compo-
sitions of products, how the raw materials are processed or formed (manufactured), and
how products are packaged, distributed, used (to some extent), and eventually disposed
of. Every decision made during the design of a product or product-service system will
have a direct social and environmental impact (negative or positive) on people and our
planet. Sustainable product design is situated in the context of the growing concern about
the degradation of ecosystems and the availability of resources for future generations [
Hence, design thinking principles, such as user focus, have led to the identification and
incorporation of relevant user needs and behaviors toward the development of product
sustainability. In the context of social innovation, the authors Brown and Wyatt [
] main-
tain that design thinking addresses the needs of the people who will consume a product or
service and the infrastructure that enables it. Design thinking is an adaptive and iterative
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 5 of 19
process that contrasts with a rigid set of methods. Instead, design thinking guides teams
through a recursive process, using various tools within an overall design philosophy [24].
To create sustainable value, the Refill_H20 project includes all target users, fostering a
wider ecological awareness, improving the overall ecoliteracy and enhancing a sustainabil-
ity mindset, especially among young design students. For this purpose, when enrolling
for the first time, the students can purchase a smartbottle, which will accompany the
student throughout their whole academic journey. The sense of belonging to a community
is broadened by the shape of the bottle, which personifies a large marine mammal, an Orca,
symbolizing the far reach of individual actions. Life on earth, in general, is threatened
by human action, waste, and pollution. One single animal was chosen to represent the
collective will to change that for a sustainable future [
]. In this project, design thinking
is regarded as a problem-solving approach for designers to integrate the specifications of
end-users and key stakeholders throughout the solution development process [24].
The development of an intelligent, reusable bottle, called the smart and sustainable
bottle, with innovative and sustainable characteristics, designed to communicate with a
technologically advanced refill station for the supply of filtered water, were both defined
after consultation with the academic community of IPVC, applying a survey inspired by
the methodological concept of Design Thinking, divided into stages as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Product-sustainable design model. Adapted from Brown [13].
The systemic model of circular design presented in Figure 1is structured in four inter-
connected layers representing sustainable product development. This model reinterprets
Brown’s 2009 thinking model [
], applied in a circular perspective in order to holistically
integrate circularity considerations, tools, and methodologies as central activities in the
development of new and efficient products, systems, or services. Design thinking is par-
ticularly useful in solving comprehensive sustainability-related problems, as it explores
the context of the problem before mapping the scope of innovation [
]. Design thinking
considers that problem defining depends on the system in which it emerges [
]. Therefore,
it takes a systems perspective that does not just focus on the obvious problem but also
correlates it to the surrounding system [28].
In this case, that is the reduction of single-use plastic, the user needs, and emerging
trends. Thus, it allows a holistic understanding of complex issues related to sustainability
and finding non-obvious root causes [
]. The Refill_H2O project process focused mostly on
creation and execution, project development, prototyping, and product testing. This process
was rather complete since it allowed the integration of different design methods, combining
different disciplines. They all contributed to the project’s progression according to the
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 6 of 19
needs at each stage. However, the results at any time can lead to revisiting the previous
stages, for example, to reformulate the problem or to involve new stakeholders [30].
Through this model, the designer is continually reflecting on evidentiary facts, prin-
ciples, and tacit knowledge. Subsequently, judgments take place throughout the whole
design process [
]. The designer assumes the role of the main linking agent connecting
different areas, such as Materials Engineering and Electronics, adding a semantic value to
enrich the user experience and benefit from the rapport between the system (bottle and
refilling station) and the user. Thus, a collaborative approach is proposed through design
thinking, involving the stakeholders in the design process [
]. This is beneficial mainly for
two reasons. Firstly, the underlying notion of participation makes it clear that all people
are affected by a specific sustainability issue, and subsequently by the resulting solution,
and should therefore be given a voice in the development process [
]. Secondly, design
thinking understands that heterogeneous perspectives and skills are valuable resources
and assumes that collaboration in multidisciplinary and cross-functional teams will lead to
better innovation outcomes [29,33].
Multidisciplinary Design was evidenced through the global, systemic approach con-
cerning design for sustainability since there were sustainability aspects to consider regard-
ing the design of the artifact itself [
]. This is because the design activity seeks not only to
understand and address the “what is it” of a situation, but also seeks “what it can be” or
“what it should be” in a given situation, in order to improve it—the design rationale [35].
2.2. Case Studies Similar to Refill_H20
This section highlights a set of relevant studies already developed concerning plastic
bottled water consumption reduction.
Water is susceptible to contamination. While filtration systems can be used to improve
the taste and quality of drinking water, they do not offer complete protection against
bacterial growth, which becomes even more critical with larger volumes. In recent years
there has been a growing output of single-use plastic water bottles and the replacement
of more expensive glass bottles by the industry. The direct result is the accumulation of
plastic waste, causing an environmental challenge. The research in this field is directed at
reducing the amount of discarded plastic. In Portugal, the Pingo Doce supermarket chain
has implemented an exclusive service of Filling Fountains dispensing filtered water, using
purpose-made reusable bottles. A partnership with ECO, this innovative, sustainable, and
affordable service is available in 1, 5, 3, and 6 L format. The campaign considers that the
ECO reusable bottles contribute to the preservation of the planet since plastic waste is one
of the main pollutants in our oceans. Since 2018, ECO eliminated more than 200 tons of
single-use plastic water bottles [36].
The Woosh company, in Miami, FL, USA, provides smart filling stations and water
meeting the highest quality standards. Although the water is paid for, it is supposedly
cheaper than buying a plastic water bottle, thus favoring user adherence and reducing the
amount of plastic waste. It presents a wide variety of typologies such as indoor, outdoor,
mobile, and multi-tap, focusing on water treatment and bottle-rinsing technologies [
]. De-
veloping the traditional roman public water fountains in Rome, Italy, the Water Houses [
is a project by ACEA Group to combine sustainability and innovation. The high-tech
water sources also allow recharging smartphones via USB and offer public information
through digital screens. For free, the users can get both plain and sparkling drinking water.
Focusing on sustainability, hygiene, and sanitization, in Hong Kong, China, the company
Urban Spring [
] aims to reduce the consumption of plastic containers, namely carboys
and PET bottles by offering water filling stations with a simple user-friendly interface.
Permanent or portable, for indoor areas, the filling stations are equipped with a water
filter and sensor to assure the water quality and temperature, although it depends on the
bring-your-own-bottle culture.
After this brief presentation of different case studies, a SWOT analysis was performed,
as shown in Table 1, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, to
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 7 of 19
analyze scenarios (or environments), to identify their implementations, the design process,
differences, and similarities concerning the Refill_H2 O System.
Table 1. Case studies SWOT analysis.
Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
- Bottle with UV filter
that protects and
preserves water quality
and properties
- Great positive
environmental impact
- Innovative and
sustainable way of selling
drinking water
- Consumers tend to
leave the bottle at home
- Water is paid and
there is only one way
to refill
- Sells tap water
- Provides filtered
- New way of selling
- Drastic reduction of
plastic consumption
- New forms of
- The purification
system (sediment filter,
activated carbon filter
and UV lamp) removes
important components
from water
- USB charging station
- Digital screens and
- Regular and carbonated
- Free of charge
- Discarded water
easily falls to the
ground creating puddle
of water and dirt
- Interferes with the
view in touristic sites
- More water supply
- Tourists and citizens
satisfied, since no cost
- Drastic reduction of
plastic consumption
- Large volume,
interfering with the
installation site
- Costly structure
- Innovative sustainable
way of consuming water
- Large positive
environmental impact
- Simplified information
- Digital screen
- Free company water
- No information in the
structure explaining the
- There should be a
dispenser of ecological
- More water supply
- Provides filtered water
- Drastic reduction of
plastic waste
- There is no drinking
fountain; users tend to
leave bottles at home
- Innovative way of
consuming water
- Multiple options (hot,
cold, regular, carbonated)
- Great positive
environmental impact
- Range of mobile refill
- Digital screen
- Using safety sensors and
protocols, stations ensure
safe water delivery and
automatic shutdown (and
alert) when water quality is
- Consumers tend to
leave the bottle at home
- Water is paid for and
employs tap water
- Provides filtered
- New way of selling
- Drastic reduction in
plastic consumption
- It is mostly a new
form of business
- Public may not adhere
because they are
paying more for the
same company water
- Great positive
environmental impact
- Regular and carbonated
- Digital screen
- Interactive smartbottle
communicates with
refill station
- Accessible to all users
- Consumers tend to
leave the bottle at home
- Water is paid for, and
tap water is used
- There is only one
filling amount
- Provides quality
filtered water to users
- Drastic reduction of
plastic consumption
- Instill healthy habits
of reducing the
ecological footprint,
especially among
young consumers
- Despite the reduced
price, the public may
not adhere because
they are paying for tap
- The purification
system (sediment filter,
activated carbon filter
and UV lamp) removes
important water
- Changing operational
peak periods and
profiles, school breaks
Adapted from research work on public water dispensers in urban contexts [40].
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 8 of 19
The examples previously introduced show that sustainability and innovation can be
natively combined to enable a cooperative and participative project development strategy,
thus promoting the development of technological products without compromising the
environmental impact of the implemented solution. Hence, the significance of this work is
relevant, since it combines design, technology, and sustainability in a complete ecosystem.
Next, the adopted methodology to perform the implementation of the Refill_H20 project
is presented.
3. Materials and Methods
The proposed model was characterized by a standardized and clear methodology,
collaborating not only to teach the design process but particularly towards team cooperation.
The initial research defined a systematization of the project supported by a particular
methodology, which generated several solutions subsequently evaluated, improved, and
developed in a heuristic sequence with a view to meeting the objectives.
Through a multidisciplinary methodology, the designer, in addition to the final de-
velopment of the product, prioritized the development stages and focused on the target
audience and their needs. Simultaneously, the engineer, with a more pragmatic elaboration
and directed to the technical result of the final product, determined the problem solutions,
results and effectiveness, and the prototype elaboration based on the product design by
the designer, taking a different approach in each stage. However, it is essential to empha-
size that both designers and engineers go through the same steps, following nevertheless
distinct approaches, revealing the search for innovation in research, in the construction of
models, testing, redesigning and in the constant search for new solutions. Multidisciplinary
teamwork was essential to reach the solutions that responded to the complexity of the task.
As a pedagogical project, the teaching method was to hand over a relatively indepen-
dent project to the students, oriented by a group of teachers. The project took place in a
public HEI, involving teachers and students from different undergraduate courses and
disciplines, in a multidisciplinary collaborative project targeting the reduction of plastic
bottle waste.
As a problem-solving method, the Design Thinking process is based on the ideal-
ization of a solution focusing on the user through an integrative nonlinear approach, in
a fundamentally exploratory research method. The process is considered together with
the framework conditions, and the problem analysis and solution are systematically and
holistically considered in the form of a multistage process [41].
Factors such as time, communication, or complexity compose the context whose
interpretation in the design process is a dynamic process, argumentative, cyclical, recyclable,
and therefore sustainable. Thinking about proposals in this way is to delve into, idealizing,
experimenting, analyzing, and reevaluating products. Supported by a technical engineering
concept, the design method proposed in this project is a creative process that recognizes
technical issues in addition to ideas and human issues, answering people’s needs.
The methodological process requires operation in open development, through ad-
vances and setbacks and variations in the current reality. The pragmatic application of
this method in engineering becomes a Creative Engineering Design Process incorporating
practical characteristics related to the technical execution [
]. In turn, the use of Design
Thinking also aims to stimulate creative thinking, improve practices, and project visual
thinking [
]. The application of this method allows establishing rules of execution, thus
collaborating in better planning and implementation of ideas.
From a methodological point of view, the Refill_H2O project involved an exhaustive
survey at the scale of the IPVC (schools, bars, canteens, and halls of residence), to identify
water intake habits of the resident population (students, teachers, and staff) concerning
plastic water bottles.
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 9 of 19
4. Results
To understand target users, the project considered their actual behaviors, desires,
and expectations, as well as their experienced reality. This included a survey application.
The survey was determinant for the final product, since it provided the answers to the
research questions, informing and enriching the design process. In the survey, the resident
population was invited to identify a set of physical, aesthetic, and functional requirements
that would become the design specifications for the smartbottle. Divided into three sections,
the Consumer, the Bottle, and the Service, the survey collected data to be used as input
for the smartbottle design and service quality. The first stage of the participatory design
process consisted of immersion, as shown in Figure 2below.
Figure 2. Adopted methodology with Participatory Design included.
4.1. Survey Results
The first group of questions focused on daily water consumption, preferred locations
for regular water collection, and the number of bottles purchased weekly at the institution.
The second section focused on the bottle, concerning the key characteristics, such as volume,
material, and other relevant factors. The third group of questions is focused on the service,
on whether a technological factor associated with the refill station would be appealing if
the bottle and the station should be connected by an application, what data was considered
relevant to display, the price the user would be willing to pay, payment methods, type of
water, if the product was considered useful to reduce the plastic pollution, and if the user
would consider using it.
From a pool of 536 respondents, it was possible to identify the gender, age, education
level, and occupation, predominantly (80%) students. About 90% of respondents drink
water frequently, and more than 90% agree it is useful to monitor their daily water intake. A
total of 412 respondents declared using reusable bottles. It was also identified that 96.1% of
the respondents prefer a reusable bottle instead of a single-use plastic bottle. Aspects, such
as functionality, materials, and cost, were considered the most significant for a smartbottle.
The preferred materials were stainless steel, recycled plastic, bamboo, and glass. The
distinguishing qualities identified were easy-to-wash, absence of smell or taste in the water,
easy to carry, and thermal insulation.
The second stage involved the analysis of survey data, answering three fundamental
questions: “What is it?”, “When to use it?”, “How to apply it?” [
], schematizing and
interpreting answers and graphs, crossing all the information collected and deducing
relevant considerations to be applied during the design process. A brainstorming session
allowed for organizing the collected information, raising new pertinent questions.
Based on the survey results, the material was one of the main issues to address in the
reusable bottle design, originating three main keywords: extrusion process, blowing pro-
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 10 of 19
cess, and injection process, concerning recycled plastic. Another main issue was technology,
since the application of electronic devices, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID),
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Near Field Communication (NFC) stood out as the most
suitable to interface the smartbottle and the refill station. Finally, some important features
considered were “visually enjoyable bottle”, “easy to wash”, “inodorous”, “easy to carry”,
“750 mL” and “low cost”. After immersion and analysis, following the interpretation and
organization of the survey results, the following steps were ideation and prototyping.
The ideation stage was the moment of total freedom where all proposals and elements
were openly considered, with the production of sketches. Several bottles were proposed
for selection of the most viable in terms of production, cost, and design. At a conceptual
level, sea animals were chosen to represent the wide-scale problem of sea pollution, namely
the orca, the seagull, and the sea turtle, and the students produced different sketches for
selection, considering the structure of each animal and their respective potential to act as a
reminder of the ultimate goal of avoiding plastic waste: to save lives.
4.2. Prototyping Results
The result of the sketch selection was a bottle with the shape of an orca. The shape of
the bottle was thus based on the physical, morphological traits of this specific mammal,
whose immune system is weakened by toxic chemicals, affecting their reproductive capac-
ity [
]. Also, during birth or during the nursing period, parents may transmit pollutants,
causing the species to gradually decline.
The purpose of the prototyping stage would be to select the best design in terms of
ergonomics, functionality, selected materials, mechanical characteristics, and approach to
sustainability issues. The goal of prototyping is not to create a working model. It is to give
form to an idea, learn about its strengths and weaknesses, and identify new directions for
the next generation of more detailed and refined prototypes. According to Vianna et al. [
the prototyping process starts with the formulation of questions that must be answered
concerning the idealized solutions.
Three different prototypes were budgeted with the proposed materials. Prototype A
was a recyclable plastic bottle, highlighting the contrasting colors of the Orcas. Prototype B
was a stainless-steel bottle and recyclable plastic stopper, while Prototype C was entirely
made of stainless steel as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Smartbottle prototypes (ac).
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 11 of 19
The curvilinear shape creates an ergonomic handle, facilitating the use and transporta-
tion of the bottle. The reliefs on prototypes B and C add friction to the product curves. The
bottom projection adds stability to the bottle when placed on a surface and provides the
location for the chip that will communicate with the refill station. The following issues
were considered concerning the final result of the prototyping process:
Since the bottle is asymmetric, aluminum production would require a 5-axis
CNC machine.
The aluminum solution requires an aluminum casting process with 2 molds (two casts
for the body + two casts for the lid).
Regarding the recyclable plastic bottle, the chosen material was ABS, as it is the most
accessible for the execution of a first prototype,
The prototype was materialized in 3D printing with ABS material in an industrial
printer as shown in Figure 4below.
Figure 4. (a,b) Prototyping.
4.3. Communication Technology
Several technologies were considered, such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification),
NFC (Near Field Communication), and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). RFID is an identifica-
tion technology that uses radiofrequency to communicate data and allows a transponder
14 to be read without the need for a direct visual field, through objects made from the most
diverse materials, such as wood, plastic, paper, among others. The RFID tag consists of
a small object (tag) that can be placed on a person, an animal, or a product [
] having
utility in identification, location, and tracking applications. The use of this technology in
IoT applications, together with the use of wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies,
opens up new possibilities not only in the development of new interactive artifacts, but
also in their integration into intelligent services [44]. The use of this technology may have
security implications in the specific context of campus [
], however, the advantages of this
technology include low cost and reduced tag size, which allows for high scalability and
simple tag integration during the production of the interactive artifact [46].
NFC (Near Field Communication): technology aimed at contact communication, pro-
gressing from a RFID and Smart Card technologies. This low-range technology operates
on a 13.56 MHz frequency, with data transfer up to 424 kbits and with communication
initiation when two NFC devices approach. It is physically compatible with RFID tags.
This communication technology has been widely used in wearables [
] and traceabil-
ity applications [
] given the common integration of NFC readers when designing new
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 12 of 19
smartphones, which enhances the use of technology in the development of new IoT prod-
ucts and applications. However, its operating cost is considerably higher than that of
RFID technology.
Bluetooth Low Energy, a technology designed with the purpose of improving the
performance of energy consumption of mobile devices [
], such as cell phones, smart
watches, and other devices, that are normally used for communications in personal area
networks. According to BLUETOOTH SIG15, this is short-range wireless communication
technology, with very low energy consumption (ULP–Ultra Low Power), a protocol stack
that is lightweight and allows incorporation with existing Bluetooth technology. The main
advantages of this technology lie in its low consumption and a communication distance
of up to 100 m. However, it is an active communications technology, i.e., it requires a
battery, and the tag size is imposed by the type of antenna used [
]. Another disadvantage
concerns the final cost of the tag, which is considerably higher than preceding technologies,
i.e., RFID and NFC.
As a result, RFID technology was chosen in the smartbottle design, for communications
between the smartbottle and the refill station, given the considerably better benefit-cost
ratio compared to NFC and BLE technologies, and considering the main advantages of
RFID technology, namely low operating cost, small size, and high scalability combined with
simple integration during production. All prototypes were designed to include an RFID
tag at the bottom for interface with the smart water refill station. Concerning dimensions,
the bottle height is 282 mm and 77 mm in width, with a 500 mL capacity. The bottle was
structured in two sections, both inspired by the physical and morphological traits of the
Orca. The stoppers were inspired by the orca’s tail and designed for easy opening.
4.4. System Architecture
Figure 5depicts the operational architecture used within the Refill_H2O application,
presenting two use case examples, that represent the interaction between the smartbottle
and the refill station. To use the physical water dispenser station, the user must provide
authentication via Student ID Card, by placing the card in the RFID tag or via smartbottle,
which enables the system to compare the RFID data with the system Smart Water Refill
Station embedded database. The RFID reader transmits the user ID, alongside the amount of
dispensed water to the Fiware App Server, using the WAN network, allowing a permanent
connection between all components, and enabling data management and processing.
Figure 5. Refill_H2O System Architecture.
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 13 of 19
The proposed operational architecture includes five main components:
1. Smartbottle (interactive artifact);
the deployed IoT Edge devices (Smart Water Refill Station) that communicate with
the Smartbottle through RFID technology and the student identification card for user
the IPVC Wide Area network, that is, the ICT infrastructure that will perform backhaul
the IPVC authentication server (which can be accessed in an “as-a-service” approach);
5. and the FIWARE Application Server, which handles all communication between IoT
edge devices, data storage, and client application through a context broker.
To use the refill station, the user must provide valid authentication by placing the
smartbottle [
] (p. 21) in the station or inserting an ID card with native RFID technology
and placing a conventional water bottle in the station of recharge. The client application
is based on responsive web technologies with visual analysis tools and panel-based tech-
nologies such as Grafana, presenting a powerful interface to display useful information
in a clear and friendly way. The user interface includes three main functional areas: (i) a
dashboard that will display relevant metrics (number of recharges per time period, the
estimated average amount of water consumption, the estimated amount of plastic waste
avoided, energy savings from overall waste reduction, and reduction of greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions); (ii) specific key performance indicators (KPI’s) and information on
users’ environmental footprint; an authentication area allows user authentication, allowing
the application to change accordingly; and (iii) a user and system administration area to
support back-end operations in relation to user coordination and system administration
tasks. This will allow the refill station to be used without the bottle.
The smartbottle integrates with the water refill station, enabling the following features:
automatic filling process without physical contact with the equipment;
the estimated average amount of water consumption through the client App;
number of recharges per period of time for water intake and hydration monitoring;
the estimated amount of plastic waste avoided (considering different metrics: temporal,
cumulative, individual, or referring to faculties, classes, etc.);
energy savings due to the general reduction of waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
and information about the users’ environmental footprint.
When using a smartbottle, the refill station dispenses water up to the bottle’s maximum
capacity or until the ID card disconnects from the RFID reader. Upon disconnection, the
refill station will trigger an event that will store all data in a lightweight, serverless, zero-
configuration database engine with no configuration or administration requirements. The
intelligent water refill station has a user interface application for a real-time demonstration
of different metrics and indicators related to the contribution to waste reduction, reduction
of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and other relevant information. Figure 6shows the
refill station with all the main elements identified, namely the refilling zone, the user
interface display, the ATM terminal for payments, and the RFID reader.
Gamification is used to promote user motivation and engagement [
] by applying
game features to a non-game context. This will allow an open competition between schools,
selecting who contributes the most to reducing GHG, or who has healthier behaviors
regarding water consumption, and the subsequent advantage is the promotion of a cleaner,
more sustainable campus.
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 14 of 19
Figure 6. Refill Station with identification of main elements.
4.5. Usability Test Results
The prototype shown in Figure 3a,b was submitted to usability testing near 102 users to
identify and solve problems in order to improve the product’s usability. The test evaluated
different tasks involved in the smartbottle use, such as picking up, drinking, carrying, and
refilling. Prototyping and testing results allowed an understanding of user performance
and relationship with the smartbottle and refill station [51].
As a result, 45% of the respondents consider the general impression of product usability
as excellent, and 92% consider the size of the prototype adequate, drawing the conclusion
that the product would not need resizing adjustments. Given that the main objective of the
project is to reduce and prevent users of the IPVC campus from buying conventional plastic
bottles, the question was whether after experiencing this product, they would eventually
change to plastic bottles. The usability test results show that 91.2% (93 users) would
abandon traditional plastic in favor of the smartbottle.
Concerning the materials used in the bottle, it was possible to verify that the presen-
tation of the prototype with 3D modeling graphic elements impacted the final decision
of the users. A total of 93.1% (95 respondents) agreed it was the most suitable, while 7
respondents did not agree with this evaluation. There was satisfaction and surprise with
the Orca representation and the hygienic and thermal characteristics of the bottle, which
were considered more important than elegance or visual and chromatic similarity to the
represented animal. 49% of the respondents (50 users) preferred the aluminum bottle.
One of the preponderant features of the initial survey was easy washing. According
to the respondents, most of the bottles currently in the market are difficult to wash due
to narrow bottlenecks; hence, a larger bottleneck was considered in the product design to
allow easy cleaning while keeping good ergonomic functionality (nose not touching the
bottleneck while drinking). 87.3% (89 respondents) considered that this product facilitates
the cleaning process as it allows cleaning instruments (such as bottle brushes). Bottle
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 15 of 19
transportation and handling were one of the key requirements for the respondent users, as
shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Usability questionnaire results concerning requirements.
Requirements Percentage Answer
Difficult to carry 94.1% (96 respondents) Considered the prototype easy to carry
Difficult to handle 99% (101 respondents) Considered the prototype easy to handle
Size of bottleneck 90.2% (92 respondents)
Considered the bottleneck size of the prototype convenient;
however, 9.8% (10 users) prefer smaller bottlenecks due to the risk
of the nose touching the bottleneck
Regarding appearance, 98% (100 respondents) agreed that the bottle has an attractive
design. It was thus possible to conclude that in ergonomic and visual terms, the bottle will
not need changes in morphology. Concerning appearance, the following Table 3synthesizes
the questionnaire results:
Table 3. Usability questionnaire results concerning aspect.
Question Percentage Answer
Are the colors on the bottle appealing? 90.2% (92 respondents)
Agree with the visual aspects applied to the product,
regardless of the used material
Is the stopper easy to use? 93.1% (95 respondents) Considered it was easy to use
Do you think this product meets your needs?
96.1% (98 respondents) Considered the product meets their everyday needs
The participation of target users in the design validation process of a new product
proved to be advantageous as it allows designers to reflect on perceived weaknesses,
thus allowing the improvement of the product in a direction that will enhance purchase
probabilities, subsequently allowing users to change consumption habits, avoiding single-
use plastic water bottles and the corresponding plastic waste dissemination, and deleterious
effects on the planet, namely on marine life.
5. Discussion
The concept of sustainability has been widely discussed in recent decades in all areas
of society and has become an increasingly constant presence in our daily lives [
]. HEIs
play a decisive role not only in the training of future generations of decision-makers and
professionals, providing them with the specific knowledge necessary to understand the
interactions between human beings and the environment [
] but also by promoting a
smarter and more sustainable campus designed to favoring wellbeing, health and safety,
waste reduction, moderating water and energy consumption, promoting local and regional
community participation, and developing new curricular environmental activities. All
these actions are part of HEIs’ effort toward sustainable development [
]. Here it
is important to clarify that the so-called sustainable design has been a tool applied to
reinforce HEIs’ sustainability by providing new solutions to solve old problems, similar to
this particular case, the over-use of plastic in bars, canteens, and halls of residence [
Since sustainable design is a recent area of research, and there are still many functional,
methodological, and information gaps to be filled, namely by promoting a change in the
“business as usual” scenarios, where many interests are at play, and the controversy has
always been a part of the process [
], there is still a long way to run regarding
the mentalities and habits of the average citizen since sustainability requires behavior
change [
]. Thus, it is urgent and essential that at an educational level, schools and
universities may equip citizens, future professionals, and future decision-makers with the
necessary tools for change [
]. By applying sustainable design tools, the Refill_H2O
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 16 of 19
project, addressed in this work not only has involved the students and teachers in the search
for a new integrated system designed to replace single-use plastic bottles but has touched
the whole academic fabric with hands-on collaboration, participation in decision-making
processes, and real learning by having an experience with a real final system of objects with
a specific shape and function, but also a common purpose and meaning with the ultimate
goal of creating a more sustainable school environment [4,5,8,9,21,23].
Moreover, the sustainable design stands for the construction of meanings in a real-
life problem context, like the excessive plastic consumption in the academy’s daily life,
allowing the construction of solutions that combine concepts related to the design, new
IoT technologies, and environment protection, transcending, therefore, the classroom and
the walls of the academic premises [
]. By developing new integrated so-
lutions focused on reaching the higher sustainability principle of plastic waste reduction,
the researchers worked toward their goals, incorporating new knowledge as they moved
along [
]. As a consequence of this research focused on a very specific sustainabil-
ity topic concerning plastic waste reduction, the results exceeded the expectations, and the
engineering and design binomial was taken to a different level, where the developed objects
meet requirements related to shape function, durability, usability, and sustainability, lique-
fying the approach of formal design and developed receiving relevant contributions from
new technologies relevant to improve the final product’s performance [
]. The sustain-
able design experience contributed to solidifying the theoretical and practical contents of
the product design by integrating new technological concepts provided by disciplines that
allowed to put into action all intervening parts that acted as agents rather than spectators,
assimilating and integrating the wide range of aspects pertaining to sustainability, design,
and change [
]. The transdisciplinary approach dissolved boundaries between con-
ventional disciplines, such as Product Design, Electronics and Materials Engineering, and
organized the product development around real-world problems [
] concerning a major
sustainability issue: plastic waste reduction.
In order to undertake the referred transdisciplinary approach, methodology became
a determining factor to answer the needs that emerged during this research process [
which has strengthened and enriched this investigation. Thus, it was possible to optimize
the project, improving it in specific stages and different aspects, thus reaching a greater
potential for innovation. The interplay between creativity and engineering explains the
expression of Creative Engineering relating to creative improvement and interpretation [
This alliance allowed the technology resulting from the sum of these areas to involve
different fundamental agents for innovation in the quest for sustainability [
]. Focusing
on sustainability, the strategic perspective stimulated by the Refill_H2O project is to raise
awareness and motivate future actions for innovative and sustainable products, thus
contributing to the sustainability of human life on the planet, which goes far beyond the
development of a Smartbottle Ecosystem in a HEI [
]. The inclusion of ICT and IoT
technologies demonstrates the meaning of the information society and responds to the
aptitude of post-Millennial generations towards everyday interaction with technology.
The interactive Smartbottle that communicates with an intelligent refilling station was
an essential element for the enthusiasm in the reception of the system and attribution of
meaning. The meaning of user-oriented sustainable design has thus become clearer by
integrating these novel valences in the pursuit of sustainable solutions. Gamification is
also a valuable aspect in providing the user with a memorable experience, one that is
worth repeating [
]. If the user action is pleasant and rewarding, there are much better
chances that the action will be repeated, encouraging product use, adherence, and loyalty,
in an ongoing emotional relationship that boosts the Smartbottle Ecosystem use in IPVC
academic environment, promoting, therefore, sustainability implementation by replacing
single-use plastic bottles [51].
The survey in the academic community allowed the identification of a set of physical,
aesthetic, and functional characteristics to inform the specifications of the product. Fur-
thermore, it was possible to prove that innovation through sustainable design and new
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 17 of 19
technologies is useful and may promote systemic changes in the behavior of individuals
and their communities [
]. This experience demonstrates how sustainable design may
impact life, as a fundamental transformer of society, by deploying social propositions and
influencing attitudes and minds in search of sustainable behaviors [
]. Materializing the
axiom that human needs do not include environmental degradation, sustainable design
has the power of raising public awareness, and from an ethical perspective, improving the
world [19].
Since it is a novel approach, the sustainable design must refine new technical skills
and critical mass to address the multiple problems arising from the imperative of sustain-
ability [
]. Knowledge and preparation, as well as the conceptual and creative modes, are
supported and reinforced by a participatory design method, adopting new research meth-
ods merging different fields of knowledge, always bearing in mind the need to rigorously,
honestly, and factually address the problems to tackle unsustainability. To encourage the
encounter of these two worlds (technical and creative/theoretical and practical/ academic
and industrial), the sustainable design must incorporate sustainability values and stan-
dards in the current lexicon of everyone involved in the academic environment (students,
professors, staff, and decision-makers) [810].
6. Conclusions
The implemented research addresses the design and implementation of an interactive
smartbottle that communicates with a smart water refill station, designed to enhance the
final users’ enthusiasm and motivation towards environmentally friendly approaches,
considering nature resources and more planet-friendly materials as part of the design
process, and thus enabling the elimination of single-use water plastic bottles in a Higher
Education Institution, promoting, therefore, the sustainability in the academic environment.
To stimulate the sustainability mindset and ecological awareness, the smart water dispens-
ing station was designed to display information concerning individual water intake but
also environmental sustainability metrics and indicators, such as the estimated amount of
averted plastic waste, the energy-saving from overall waste reduction and the reduction
of greenhouse gas emission, and information on the user’s environmental footprint. As
a result of this investigation, three main contributions have been delivered: (i) a novel
methodology based on the association of Design Thinking and Participatory Design as the
basis of Sustainable Design; (ii) the design and development of an IoT-enabled smartbottle
prototype; and (iii) usability evaluation of the proposed prototype.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization: A.F.C., A.C. and S.I.L.; methodology: A.F.C., A.C. and
S.I.L.; investigation: A.F.C., J.M. and S.I.L.; writing—original draft preparation, A.F.C., J.M., A.C. and
S.I.L.; writing—review and editing: A.F.C., A.C. and S.I.L.; supervision: A.F.C. and S.I.L.; project
administration: A.C. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
This research was funded by the Program Environment, Climate Change, and Low Carbon
Economy, and was created following the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding between
Portugal, and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway under the EEA and Norway Grants 2014–2021, for the
program areas of Environment and Ecosystems (PA11), and Climate Change Mitigation and Adap-
tation (PA13) under the scope of the project 10_SGS#1_REFILL_H20”. A.C. co-authored this work
within the scope of the project proMetheus, Research Unit on Materials, Energy, and Environment for
Sustainability, FCT Ref. UID/05975/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MCTES.
Um agradecimento especial ao Programa Ambiente, Alterações Climáticas e
Economia de Baixo Carbono, criado na sequência da assinatura do Memorando de Entendimento en-
tre Portugal, Noruega, Islândia e Liechtenstein, tendo em vista a aplicação em Portugal do Mecanismo
Financeiro do Espaço Económico Europeu (MFEEE) 2014–2021 nas áreas programáticas Ambiente
e Ecossistemas (PA11), e Mitigação e Adaptaçãoàs Alterações Climáticas (PA13), pela atribuição
do financiamento 10_SGS#1_REFILL_H20, selecionado no âmbito do Aviso Small Grants Scheme
#1–Projetos para a prevenção e sensibilização para a redução do lixo marinho. Este Projeto contribui
para a execução do Objetivo n.
1 do ‘Programa Ambiente’: “Aumentar a aplicação dos princípios da
Economia Circular em sectores específicos”, e do Output 1.3 do Programa, através de promoção da
Sustainability 2022,14, 5922 18 of 19
Economia Circular pela “Redução de plásticos nos Oceanos, de origem em atividades terrestres”, em
conformidade com o Anexo I do Acordo de Programa assinado a 27 de maio de 2019.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... In addition, a collective university experience is created with the focus on human citizens provided by the three elements of a smart campus comprising: (a) the influence by campus citizens, (b) networking of operations and businesses, and (c) emphasis on infrastructure and services development [11]. Moreover, higher education institutions (HEIs) provide technological solutions for a dynamic ecosystem created from students and academics in a digital community [79]. The smart solutions created include sensing, adaptation, inferring, and community contentment [59]. ...
... Smart campus is an emerging development in IoT technology [83] which provides the overall influence on campus citizens, including the development of digital systems to enhance services in a university [59]. In addition, a dynamic ecosystem is created by campus citizens in a digital community [79] forming a robust communications network [84]. Moreover, a community of human-centered and user-driven value creation to improve the total university experience is created [11], facilitated by a Wi-Fi hotspot-based mobile application to construct friendship networks [85]. ...
... Zero waste is about the reduction of waste in smart campus to improve the state of the natural environment addressed through waste management and green campus. Waste management systems developed included the following three prototypes: firstly, the smart waste bin for effective waste collection [108]; secondly, the Smartbottle Ecosystem developed as a means to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles to mitigate waste where the bottle communicates with a smart refilling station through IoT and ICT for refill [79]; and finally, the third is a smart waste management system for university campus operated by 5G to mitigate health and environmental problems. It is based on the premise of recycling materials reducing emissions from landfills and industrial sites to rectify environmental issues of water/air pollution and littering [54]. ...
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Smart campus is an emerging concept enabled by digital transformation opportunities in higher education. Smart campuses are often perceived as miniature replicas of smart cities and serve as living labs for smart technology research, development, and adoption, along with their traditional teaching, learning and research functions. There is currently a limited understanding of how the smart campus is conceptualized and practiced. This paper addresses this gap by using a systematic literature review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach. The study uses four major domains of the smart campus, i.e., society, economy, environment, and governance, to classify existing research. These domains are each aligned to the central smart campus concepts of digital technology and big data. The analysis found little evidence of a comprehensive real-world application of the smart campus towards addressing all four domains. This highlights the infancy of the current conceptualization and practice. The findings contribute to the development of a new conceptual foundation and research directions for the smart campus notion and informs its practice through a conceptual framework. The findings reported in this paper offer a firm basis for comprehensive smart campus conceptualization, and also provide directions for future research and development of smart campuses.
... (4) a smartbottle ecosystem based on the association of DT and participatory design as the basis for sustainable design at the Polytechnical Institute of Viana do Castelo, Portugal [67]; (5) the application of the Living Labs concept in the management of a coastal area of Constanta (Romania) using the DT approach [64]; and (6) a systematic integration of user's considerations in the design and testing of the sustainable product-service systems of sustainable Living Labs, using the integration of the co-creation method of urban DT [63]. ...
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This Special Issue sets out to further the ongoing discourse around the need for changes in design education [...]
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Public higher education institutions have a particular moral responsibility in increasing the awareness, knowledge, skills and values required to create a fair and sustainable future. Through sustainable design, the Project Refill_H20 aims to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in the 6 schools of the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC), respective bars, canteens and halls of residence A survey of the academic community will identify the set of physical, aesthetic and functional features to create the product specifications for the Smartbottle and Water Refill Station. ICT and IoT technologies will encourage autonomy, pedagogically helping users to acknowledge, identify and reduce their environmental footprint. Applying the principles of circular economy, this academic project promotes the reduction of plastic consumption, production and waste. Contributing towards a paradigm shift, sustainable design canvasses conditions to reduce plastic in the oceans, improving the environment and the quality of life on Earth.
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Higher education institutions are passing through a fast digital transformation process that has the potential to enable frictionless, touchless, and more intuitive experiences in academia. Moreover, students are now digital natives and demand from higher education institutions new digital services for all academic purposes. In this article, we introduce the design methodology used for the architecture specification of the IPVC Smart & Sustainable Campus (IPVC-S2C), a FIWARE-based platform with edge-enabled intelligence. The current research also surveys and characterizes low-cost IoT edge hardware capable of performing distributed machine learning. Lastly, a proof of concept focus on Indoor Air Quality monitoring on the campus is presented and the forthcoming research is outlined.
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The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a recurrent view of the physical technological environment, in the light of which it is expected that everyday artifacts are connected, enhancing the availability and ubiquity of “smart” services. Higher education institutions can be seen as a privileged ecosystem for the development of intelligent and smart solutions, due to its dynamic and everyday changing environment, which includes not only physical infrastructures, digital services, but also people, i.e., students, researchers, lecturers, and staff. This work introduces an Application-oriented Architecture-AoA that has been designed to streamline the design and development of “smart” solutions inside the campus, by focusing on the Application side and reshaping the concept of “service” to a piece of “functionality” with a clear and objective purpose, rather than the classic and conventional approach, more focused on the development or technical sides. The proposed approach provides the mechanism to have multiple applications interacting and sharing data and functionalities, ensuring coexistence between new and legacy systems that are in use on the campus, removing the major drawbacks that basic monolithic applications typically require. The generic AoA model is described and the procedure to create a new application is systematized. Lastly, three case studies (RnMonitor, Refill_H2O, and BiRa) are presented end elaborated using the AoA procedure designed to create a new application.
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With growing interest in healthcare, wearable healthcare devices have been developed and researched. In particular, near-field communication (NFC) based wearable devices have been actively studied for device miniaturization. Herein, this article proposes a low-cost and convenient healthcare system, which can monitor heart rate and temperature using a wireless/battery-free sensor and the customized smartphone application. The authors designed and fabricated a customized healthcare device based on the NFC system, and developed a smartphone application for real-time data acquisition and processing. In order to achieve compact size without performance degradation, a dual-layered layout is applied to the device. The authors demonstrate that the device can operate as attached on various body sites such as wrist, fingertip, temple, and neck due to outstanding flexibility of device and adhesive strength between the device and the skin. In addition, the data processing flow and processing result are presented for offering heart rate and skin temperature. Therefore, this work provides an affordable and practical pathway for the popularization of wireless wearable healthcare system. Moreover, the proposed platform can easily delivery the measured health information to experts for contactless/personal health consultation.
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Plastic production worldwide exceeds 300 million tons per year. About 3% of that production represents 8 million tons of plastic annually reaching rivers, seas and oceans. Plastic water bottles are a major example of everyday waste that directly impacts the economic and ecological sustainability. Based on literature review, this work presents a problem definition, objectives and methodological process to be implemented by a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers and managers for the future design of a sustainable smartbottle. The main goal is the reduction of plastic pollution from the IPVC academic community. The proposed methodology includes participatory design concepts to increase the engagement of end-users and to refine the smartbottle design, based on four core criteria: functionality (volume, ergonomics), interoperability (communication technologies), sustainability (materials), and cost. The hybrid methodology is intended to foster design solutions focusing on target users and their needs. Engineers will also collaborate on the problem solving process towards the production of different prototypes. An interactive process from an early stage may potentially drive the practice of design alongside other scientific areas, canvassing theoretical knowledge and practical ability. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the project is at an embryonic stage and as such the results may not be assured, and future results may in fact impact the proposed methodological process.
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Radio frequency identification (RFID) and wireless sensors networks (WSNs) are two fundamental pillars that enable the Internet of Things (IoT). RFID systems are able to identify and track devices, whilst WSNs cooperate to gather and provide information from interconnected sensors. This involves challenges, for example, in transforming RFID systems with identification capabilities into sensing and computational platforms, as well as considering them as architectures of wirelessly connected sensing tags. This, together with the latest advances in WSNs and with the integration of both technologies, has resulted in the opportunity to develop novel IoT applications. This paper presents a review of these two technologies and the obstacles and challenges that need to be overcome. Some of these challenges are the efficiency of the energy harvesting, communication interference, fault tolerance, higher capacities to handling data processing, cost feasibility, and an appropriate integration of these factors. Additionally, two emerging trends in IoT are reviewed: the combination of RFID and WSNs in order to exploit their advantages and complement their limitations, and wearable sensors, which enable new promising IoT applications.
This study aims to develop a measuring tool which can address two independent research areas in the literature: Sustainability in higher education and service quality in higher education. Both subjects are studied independently in the literature, showing a need for an integrated approach that bridges these areas. For achieving this purpose, a new scale was developed based on a questionnaire applied to two universities in Turkey. The scale aimed to measure the perceptions of the students regarding the quality of sustainable campus services. The questionnaire consisted of 22 questions on several aspects of campus services which are related to sustainability. A total of 234 samples were used for Exploratory Factor Analysis for determining the underlying structures in the data set. The scale was validated with satisfactory Kaiser-Meyer Olkin and Bartlett's test results. Five dimensions were extracted, which represent sustainable service quality. After validation, the scale was applied to two universities located in geographically and socio-economically different regions of Turkey. The term chosen for the proposed combined scale is Sustainable Service Quality (SusServQual). With additional data, t-tests were applied to 308 students aiming to compare the two universities based on perceived quality scores. The results show that the university located in the socio-economically more developed region performed better regarding the overall satisfaction score and four of the five dimensions. The scores were also weighted utilizing a modified method of Analytical Hierarchy Process. Instead of crisp numbers which forces the decision maker to think in mathematical terms while comparing criteria, linguistic terms, each of which corresponds to a fuzzy number were used. Thus, a more accurate evaluation was obtained where the decision maker's subjectivity and ambiguity of the situation are important.
The energy efficiency interventions and rehabilitation actions regarding university campuses are characterized by an emblematic impact, representing significant examples of good practices that a given community could adopt, even at the city level. Starting from the idea that campuses may be regarded as small scale models of cities, a quantitative method for estimating to which extent the adoption of a given set of interventions by a municipality could contribute to make such city close to a nearly zero energy profile is proposed. To accomplish this task, the study considers the low carbon transition path of the campus of the University of Palermo and applies a simple method that, implementing an idea firstly developed by Yoshida et al. (2017), provides a rapid and effective graphical representation of the level of the success reached by the campus in terms of accomplishment of the nearly zero energy targets. The analysis of the transferability of such method to cities has shown that it can also be easily adopted by a city's administration and can be used for assessing the effectiveness of actions typically belonging to a city's energy policy, such as the public procurement and the waste management, apart from the actions regarding the public transportation system and the energy efficiency of the public building stock.