Greener solvents – Project Overview

Greener Solvents Project

Providing resources on greener solvent approaches in art and artefact conservation.

Project Overview

Research Platform




Project overview

Greener solvents survey

For Sustainability in Conservation’s Greener Solvents Project we have created this survey to gauge the current use of solvents worldwide. Deadline 1st of June 2024

The main aim is to examine organic solvent use in practice and to evaluate their environmental and personal impacts. A further aim is to ensure a pertinent focus for our continuing research into greener solvents with our industrial and academic partners, so that we can provide information as useful as possible to conservators/restorers. Your completion and further sharing of the survey is therefore much needed and appreciated.

Conceived by SiC this project was inspired by the need for correct information regarding greener solvent approaches for conservators and the identification of further research needs. Since a solvent’s ‘greenness’ is relative to another and specific to application, this project is called ‘greener solvents’ to highlight the comparativeness of an assessment.

Appropriate solvent implementation requires specialist knowledge and is dependent on discipline. In their correct use it is necessary to consider how solvents can affect a variety of factors, including human health, the environment and, not least, the artwork. Given the complexities involved, incorporating greener solvent approaches in practice can appear a challenging objective.

Through the creation of an introductory handbook, online research platform and conference provision, the overall objective of this project is to create an accessible resource for current information and promote further research on greener solvent use in conservation.


Highlighted is the necessity for further research for the introduction of replacement solvents where these are required. The digital platform will house open access research, information, and exchange – providing a focused opportunity for publishing sustainability-related research. It will thus help ensure the correctly considered application of appropriate replacement (where necessary) solvents to conservation.


The aim of this handbook is to start removing the hurdles to greener solvent approaches step-by-step. With certain traditionally employed solvents already presenting a relatively greener solution, and other solvents warranting replacement immediately, how to both assess and apply a greener solvent approach is provided in the introductory handbook. By combining background information with some practical guidelines it can help conservators eradicate their use of the worst solvent offenders with regards to safety, health and environment ratings.


The planned secondary phase of the project will provide a yearly conference with proceeding publications, alongside potentially further content and dissemination methods.

Would you like to continue our efforts? Help us create this important resource by becoming a sponsor!