Impressive finish in One Tonne Life


Impressive finish in “One Tonne Life” – The Lindell family get down to 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year

Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren will today officially close the “One Tonne Life” project in Hässelby just outside Stockholm.

Over a period of six months, the Lindell family have lived climate-smart with their sights firmly set on reducing their emissions from the normal 7.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year to the minimal figure of just one tonne.

Following an impressive final sprint, the Lindells finished at 1.5 tonnes. This means the family has succeeded in cutting their emissions by almost 80 percent compared with their start back in January.

When Andreas Carlgren switches off Vattenfall’s smart Energy Watch monitoring system in the “One Tonne Life” house, this will mark the end of the groundbreaking trial by the Lindell family (father Nils, mother Alicja and children Hannah and Jonathan) to cut carbon dioxide emissions to one tonne per person per year. This corresponds to the level that will probably be necessary in order to avoid serious climate changes.

The family’s 80 percent drop shows that the government’s climate target of a 40 percent reduction in Swedish carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 is already within the reach of the average household using the best available know-how and technology.

“On our way down to 2.5 tonnes we didn’t have to make any major compromises in our everyday lifestyles. After that, however, things got tougher. Living at the 1.5 tonne level was an extreme experience for us,” comments Alicja Lindell.

“One Tonne Life” is a project in which A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars along with partners ICA and Siemens create the necessary preconditions for a climate-smart household.

Over a period of six months, the Lindells have switched from their normal 1970s villa and ten-year-old cars to a brand-new, climate-smart wooden house from A-hus and a battery-powered Volvo C30 Electric. Vattenfall has provided renewable electricity, new energy technology and energy coaching. ICA and Siemens are the project’s partners in the areas of food and household appliances.

Biggest reductions in transport and electricity consumption
Transport and electricity consumption are the areas where the family made the most progress.

Emissions from transport dropped by more than 90 percent, not least thanks to the fact that the family’s Volvo C30 Electric was recharged using electricity from hydro-power. The family’s house, built by A-hus, produces its own electricity and with supplementary renewable electricity from hydro-power, carbon dioxide emissions from purchased electricity are almost zero. All told, carbon dioxide emissions from the family’s home have been more than halved.

Food is the third area in which the family made immense progress. By not throwing away food and by choosing wisely, emissions were significantly reduced. By varying the choice of meat and eating more vegetables, anyone can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from food. Towards the end of the trial period, the Lindells ate only vegetarian dishes, and dairy produce was replaced with soya and oats-based alternatives.

Ambitious final sprint – but that “rucksack” weighed them down
In order to reduce their emissions still further, in the final 1.5-tonne week the family chose to reduce the size of their home by closing off one room and all its amenities.

“During that final sprint we avoided most of the food we usually eat. In addition there was no TV, no shopping and no going out to cafés or restaurants. But with a “rucksack” of 900 kilograms, it still isn’t possible to get all the way down to one tonne,” says Nils Lindell.

This “rucksack” consists of the carbon dioxide emissions that take place when various products are manufactured, such as the family’s house, solar panels, car, furniture and clothes.

“We were not able to influence emissions from the production. But we have been able to demonstrate that with the right know-how and motivation, it’s possible to get quite close to one tonne. Not only that, it’s been very enjoyable and a really educational adventure,” concludes Nils Lindell.