The energy requirement of cut flowers and consumer options to reduce it

Kees Vringer, Kornelis Blok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Like all consumer products, cut flowers require energy during their life cycle. The aim of this article is to examine how households can reduce their primary energy requirement for the decorative and gift functions provided so far by cut flowers without reducing their consumption level, also taking into account the financial cost. In 1990, an average Dutch household purchased 11 times one or more bouquets containing a total of about 250 flowers for Dfl. 170, which require together about 2.2 GJ, 1% of the total primary household energy requirement. The energy intensity of flowers is among the highest of all non-energy household purchases: on average 12.9 MJ/Dfl. The high energy requirement of cut flowers makes it interesting to take a closer at less energy-intensive alternatives, like replacing flowers as a gift with other presents, making more use of flowering indoor plants and selecting less energy-intensive flower (from abroad, other species, other seasons). The calculations suggest that if all the energy reduction options discussed here are applied to a substantial extent, the cumulative energy required for flowers purchased by an average Dutch household can be halved. More research is needed to investigate the acceptance of the proposed measures and the feasibility of a combination of measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-28
Number of pages26
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cut flowers
  • Domestic energy requirement
  • Embodied energy
  • Lifestyle


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