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Purdue University Study Finds Wooden Chairs Best for Environment

In recent years, the furniture industry has increasingly become involved with talk about environmentalism. Preserving and protecting the planet is more of a pressing issue now than ever. Purdue University’s Wood Research Laboratory is dedicated to researching sustainable biomaterials, ethical international wood trade, and historical preservation. They have published several manuals for furniture designers and business owners on how to be more efficient in helping the environment while building strong, sturdy products.


Wood Furniture Essential to Sustainable Living


Award-winning professor, Dr. Eva Haviarova, is particularly interested in doing work to find eco-friendly solutions for the use of wood materials and their residues for sustainable furniture construction. She pioneered a study in the Wood Research Lab that has many pertinent findings. The study scientifically concluded that wood chairs are by far the most eco-friendly chair option on the market.


Haviarova and her team set out to measure the environmental impact of furniture products. They performed a life cycle inventory of a hardwood chair which outlined the low amount of energy and resources that went into it when compared to furniture made of plastics or aluminum.


Wood Chairs Superior to Plastic and Aluminum, Lasting 20+ Years


However, the team’s life cycle assessment on wood, plastic, and aluminum chairs was where things really got interesting. It became very clear how important wood furniture is to sustainable living. Haviarova and her team compared the environmental impact of each type of single-material chair and their different manufacturing processes. In terms of usability lifespan, wood ranked superior as lasting at least 20 years. Meanwhile, aluminum came in second with 6.4 years and plastic ranked third with 4 years.



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 *Cyclic load: Amount of repeated strain and stress on a chair in a testing environment that led to degradation and deterioration


Wood Chairs Are Best for the Environment


In addition, Haviarova and her team evaluated each chair under many eco-categories related to global warming and fossil fuel depletion. Wood performed the best by far in all of them. Wood chairs were proven to be superior to chairs made of other materials.

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