Antiques are officially Green!
13 September 2010
AN independent report has confirmed that antiques are environmentally
friendly with a piece of antique furniture likely to have a carbon
footprint 16 times lower than that of a newly manufactured item.
This is the finding of a study that compared the greenhouse gas
emissions associated with the manufacture and use of an antique
chest of drawers with its modern equivalent.
The exhaustive analysis was carried out by Carbon Clear, an independent
consultancy specialising in carbon management and carbon accounting,
who investigated every aspect of the manufacture and life of two
specific pieces a mahogany-veneered chest of c.1830 and
a modern piece of roughly equivalent value available from a reputable
high street retailer.
It had been assumed that it was more environmentally friendly
to buy furniture that was already in circulation, but the independent
study now confirms this.
The findings will give huge encouragement to the hundreds of
antique dealers who are backing the Antiques are Green campaign,
led by Nigel Worboys of Beaconsfield. "The research demonstrates
the importance of buying antiques over modern furniture for economic
and environmental reasons," he commented.
"Buying antiques reduces landfill, reduces carbon emissions
and reduces consumption of new goods from abroad. The antiques
trade is the oldest recycling business in the world and the ultimate
in terms of preserving our heritage for future generations. This
report provides further proof that antiques should be recognised
for their genuine green hallmark sustainable, re-usable
While details of the cutting and processing involved in the manufacture
of the modern chest of drawers in China were readily available,
certain assumptions had to be made about the origins of the antique
piece based on expert opinion.
The carbon emissions associated with the actual manufacture of
the antique piece were very low. Cabinetmakers' workshops in the
1830s were not generally powered and all work was done by hand
and in daylight. Timber cutting was also done by hand but the
report factored in 70 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions
coefficient, already calculated at Bath University for current
wood cutting and processing.
A similarly conservative approach was taken to the life of the
antiques chest, where it was assumed to have been sold and restored
twice, even though many pieces would have required little or no
restoration. Even with this conservative approach, it was found
that the absolute emissions associated with the old chest, including
restoration, storage and transport, were significantly lower.
The lifespan of the antique piece was assumed to be 195 years,
though it could be much longer. Once this was taken into account,
its average emissions per year were shown to be 16 times less
than those for the modern chest. The lifespan of the new chest
was estimated at 15 years based on expert opinion.
The Carbon Clear report was commissioned by the antiques trade
as represented by Antiques Trade Gazette, Antiques are Green,
International Antiques & Collectors Fairs, The British Antique
Dealers' Association, LAPADA The Association of Art &
Antiques Dealers, The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers
and Online Galleries.
here to see full report >>
For full details of the Antiques are Green movement go
Source: Antiques Trade Gazette, Issue 1957 - 18th September 2010.