The role of anthropometry in designing for sustainability

Gopal Nadadur, Matthew B. Parkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


An understanding of human factors and ergonomics facilitates the design of artefacts, tasks and environments that fulfil their users' physical and cognitive requirements. Research in these fields furthers the goal of efficiently accommodating the desired percentage of user populations through enhanced awareness and modelling of human variability. Design for sustainability (DfS) allows for these concepts to be leveraged in the broader context of designing to minimise negative impacts on the environment. This paper focuses on anthropometry and proposes three ways in which its consideration is relevant to DfS: reducing raw material consumption, increasing usage lifetimes and ethical human resource considerations. This is demonstrated through the application of anthropometry synthesis, virtual fitting, and sizing and adjustability allocation methods in the design of an industrial workstation seat for use in five distinct global populations. This work highlights the importance of and opportunities for using ergonomic design principles in DfS efforts.Practitioner Summary: This research demonstrates the relevance of some anthropometry-based ergonomics concepts to the field of design for sustainability. A global design case study leverages human variability considerations in furthering three sustainable design goals: reducing raw material consumption, increasing usage lifetimes and incorporating ethical human resource considerations in design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-439
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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