News: Are antiques greener than new furniture?
And if so, what is the difference between their carbon footprints? Carbon Clear Limited was commissioned by the antiques trade to compare the carbon efficiency of antique furniture against new.
Tuesday, 28th September 2010
The study focuses on comparing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacture, use and disposal of both antique and new furniture.
In the report two specific examples of chests of drawers are being compared, one constructed in England in 1830, weighing approximately 50 kg, and the other a modern piece both of the same quality. The items are similar pieces, both costing approximately the same to buy today, of a similar size and both serving the same purpose.
It is estimated that the 1830s chest of drawers is restored twice during and has a lifespan of 195 years. The modern piece on the other hand has only an estimated lifespan of 15 years.
In 2010 the antique’s piece accumulated CO2 emission impact is 140 kg CO2e. This includes the embodied emission of the wood, the transportation of raw materials as well as two restoration phases, with emission arising mainly from transportation of the item to the auctioneer, dealer’s shop and customer.
Manufacturing and purchasing the new chest of drawers in 2010 creates an emission impact of 170 kg CO2e – already greater than the antique’s during its 180 years. During their entire lifespan the antique piece has an annual carbon footprint of 0.72 kg CO2e, whereas the new piece accounts for 11.36 kg CO2e. This shows that a new chest of drawers will have a carbon impact sixteen times higher than a chest of drawers manufactured in the 1830s.