Farnham Repair Café’s “Repair Café Carbon Calculator” is previewed at the UK’s first Repair Café Conference today

March 12. 2020.  Farnham, Surrey, UK. The UK’s first Repair Café Conference – held today and organised by The Centre for Sustainable Design [CfSD] at University for the Creative Arts (UCA) – sees a preview of a first, an online “Repair Café Carbon Calculator”, and a demonstration of 3D printing for spare parts as used by Farnham Repair Café (FRC).

This is the first time the calculator https://repaircafes.carboncalculator.sp-consulting.online/index.php/es-calc/ has been previewed in public ahead of its official launch on 31st March. Also on 31st March, a new FRC website will be launched at https://frc.cfsd.org.uk/

The conference – https://cfsd.org.uk/events/repair-cafes-conference  –  at UCA, Falkner Road, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7DS – discusses new research on global repair café and visitors’ behaviour, new innovations, and sharing best practice on issues related to running repair cafes and the repair of electronics, textiles, mechanicals, furniture and bicycles.

Delegates include representatives from repair cafés, local authorities, green organisations and academia.

The calculator rapidly calculates, via any given weight or number of repaired products, how much CO2 is potentially saved. It takes into account variables including average transport emissions to and from the repair café, spare parts use, rebound consumption and the savings made by reducing the total sum of greenhouse gases that would have been released by manufacturing new products, had these products not been successfully repaired by repair cafés in the UK.

It will be available from 31st March for use by repair cafés and any other organisations and individuals anywhere in the world, free of charge.

The calculator is the result of collaboration between FRC trustee and volunteer Steve Privett and UCA’s Professor Martin Charter, Director, CfSD and Chair of the Board of Trustees of FRC. The project has been funded by UCA as a result of an award from Research England.

Professor Martin Charter

Professor Martin Charter

In the beginning…

“There wasn’t a specific ‘eureka, who was keen to make it accessible by anyone with an internet connection. The idea evolved from there into the calculator we see today. At its core is a sound methodology based on information and data from Farnham Repair Café and other repair cafés in the UK.”

The information and data were used by Privett in his dissertation on “Potential impact of UK Repair Cafés on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions” for his masters degree in sustainable development at the University of Surrey, where he gained a distinction in his masters degree thesis.

Says Professor Charter, “Research on the social impacts of repair café has been highlighted in the media and on social media, but very little about their potential ability to mitigate CO2 emissions has been published. The calculator should help change that and give more accurate estimations of CO2 saved.

“It’s also an excellent example of how the circular economy – repairing products, example – can reduce the impact of climate change by helping to reduce CO2 emissions.”

Privett comments, “Prior to the preview on 12th March, the methodology that the calculator is based on has seen international interest from repair cafés, academics, research students and repair organisations.”

3D printing

About the 3D printing demonstration at the conference, Privett says, “3D printing has the ability to revolutionise how repair cafés can further lower CO2 emissions and landfill by being able to repair a wider range of goods, thereby reducing the need to ‘buy new’. Products repaired at FRC using 3D printing have included an antique style lamp, mechanical toys, torches and  custom appliance fittings, and promotional keyrings have been produced for FRC.”

A user of FRC, local resident Desi Lyon, says, “Waste of resources is a huge global problem and we no longer bring our children up in a culture of looking after things and repairing them. Not only does Farnham Repair Café offer knowledgeable and helpful engineers and other experts to fix broken items, but its very existence makes me hopeful that communities and individuals can have the power to change national policies and effect change.”

FRC is open on every second Saturday of the month between 10am – 1pm, when it provides advice on, and repair of, many kinds of products, from vacuum cleaners, headphones and lights, to hats, jackets, pushchairs and bicycles.  Address: FRC, The Spire Church, South Street, Farnham, GU9 7QU.

Founded in 2015, FRC, a UK-registered repair café charity, is a collaborative project between UCA, CfSD at UCA, Farnham Town Council and The Spire Church in Farnham UK.  It is part of the global Repair Café movement of over 2000, led by The Repair Café International Foundation – founded in the Netherlands in 2011; the number of repair cafés in the UK has doubled over the last year to more than 125.

Says Professor Charter, “Our repairers are highly skilled and do a brilliant job. To date we have organised 58 sessions and had 3,000 visitors to Farnham Repair Café since launch. There have been almost 1300 repairs at a 65 percent repair rate with over 3.7 tonnes being diverted from landfill, and we have reduced CO2 by 32.4 tonnes, and seen over £91,000 saved by repairing instead of buying new.”

More about FRC: https://cfsd.org.uk/events/farnham_repair_cafe/ and CfSD: https://cfsd.org.uk

For more information  contact Martin Charter mcharter@uca.ac.uk

…ends…

 

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