The goal of sustainable development through the product innovation is a global challenge that Academia and Industries are addressing. The regulatory pressure and the growing demand of eco-friendly products by consumers are two of its main drivers, especially in the household appliances sector. For this aim, manufactures need to change the design approach in order to extend the boundaries of the benchmark analysis of possible innovations: (i) multi-objective criteria should be taken into account such as the environmental issues, costs, technical performances, etc., and (ii) a life cycle thinking has to be adopted to consider long terms benefits or impacts.
However, the literature highlights the lack of structured methods able to support the R&D activity according to these perspectives. For this aim, the present paper provides a systematic approach, which exploits lifecycle and innovation tools to effectively support designers in the development of sustainable solutions in a long term perspective. The proposed approach has been applied in real case study to increase the energy efficiency of a domestic refrigerator. In particular, the insulation module has been redesigned by comparing several alternatives in terms of environmental performances and costs over the product lifespan to effectively evaluate the consistency of the developed eco-innovations.