Sustainability in Conservation (SiC) publishes a handbook on using green solvents in conservation

‘Greener Solvents Project Handbook: An Introductory Guide’ is available for free

04 Jan 2022
by Sustainability in Conservation

To accomodate an ever greater need for research and reliable information SiC’s Greener Solvents project was conceived as an international collaborative research project providing accessible resources for promoting and disseminating greener solvent research and supporting conservators in their safe and correct implementation of greener solvent approaches.

SiC now launched the first project deliverable: an expert-reviewed handbook, ‘Greener Solvents in Conservation: An Introductory Guide', edited by G.R. Fife, recently published by Archetype Publications (2021) and sponsored by Tru Vue.

Providing supporting information regarding the history of greener solvents and assessment methods for their definition (e.g. life cycle assessments/safety, health and environment ratings), the handbook clarifies the comparative nature of their identification, and gives insights into the potential and safe application of greener solvents (both traditional and modern) within the conservation field for both the practitioner and artwork.

Moreover, practical step-by-step guidelines are included to help conservators identify and eradicate in the first instance their use of the worst solvent offenders, and outlines the most straightforward ways to determine the alternatives (ideally already available in the studio) that may be implemented in their place. Given that for many conservators time and budgets are stretched, this can also provide a convincing approach for those who understandably wish to limit the introduction of frequent adaptations in their practice.

The handbook also provides insights into where novel replacement solvents are critically needed in conservation, information particularly beneficial regarding the allocation of valuable further research time and resources.

Made freely available on SiC’s website, this handbook is an important first step in the project’s goal to provide streamlined open-access information for conservators in implementing the use of greener solvent approaches, and help conservation transition into a more environmentally responsible field. 

The handbook, as well as more information about the ongoing project can be found on SiC’s website here. A hard copy book is also available from Archetype.