Here’s how CO2 is calculated in One Tonne Life
The aim of One Tonne Life is to illustrate what a lifestyle with emissions limited to one tonne of CO2 per person per year would look like today. The method of calculating the emissions was developed by a group at the Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg led by Fredrik Hedenus, who conducts research in the energy and environmental fields.
In calculating greenhouse emissions we incorporate both direct emissions, for instance from the fuels the family use, and emissions that the various companies generate when they produce the goods and services consumed by the family. In addition, account is also taken of the emissions generated during construction of the house, calculated on the basis of the building’s entire lifespan, and emissions from production of the car and solar panels are also calculated in the same way.
Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas – methane and nitrous oxide are other important greenhouse gases. That is why they too are included in the calculations, impacting primarily on emissions from food. In addition to private consumption, emissions are also generated from public consumption such as by hospitals, the military and road infrastructure. These account for about 2 tonnes of CO2 per person per year in Sweden, and this naturally also applies to the Lindell family. However, these are not emissions that the family can directly influence, so these figures will remain static at this level throughout the course of the project. These 2 tonnes will not either impact the Lindell family’s initial emissions of 7.29 tonnes per person per year and will not be included in the everyday measurements.
After the Lindell family settle into the One Tonne Life we will start measuring the household’s emissions on a week by week basis. Anna Björk at Chalmers will collate the family’s total emissions and our energy coach Lars Ejeklint will then comment on the figures.
Want to find out more about how the calculations are performed? Read the full report by Fredrik Hedenus entitled One Tonne Life Method Report to find out how exactly Chalmers sets about its task.