The One Tonne Life project has ended and the content on this web page is static and is not updated any more. The project was unique and pioneering, making the conclusions and all information connected to the project just as interesting and up-to-date today as when it was run. Read more about the project and get inspired! (March 2017)

One Tonne Life

Author: Redaktionen

Thanks and good luck, Lindells!

The family Lindell has now returned to their former life. We want to thank them for all time and commitment during the past six months in order to reach 1 tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. will be left online so that is possible to browse the content published during the project time.

One Tonne Life is a project in which A-hus, Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation joined forces with industry partners ICA and Siemens to create a climate-smart household.

Over a period of six months, the Lindell test family lived a climate-smart lifestyle with the aim of reducing their carbon dioxide emissions from 7.3 tonnes per year, which is roughly the average in Sweden, to a minimalistic one tonne. After an impressive final sprint, the Lindells crossed the finishing line at 1.5 tonnes.

The Lindells exchanged their 1970s home and their almost 10-year-old cars for a newly built, climate-smart wooden house from A-hus and a battery-powered Volvo C30 electric. Vattenfall provided renewable electricity, new energy technology and energy coaching. ICA and Siemens were industry partners for food and household appliances respectively. Method development and calculation of the family’s carbon dioxide footprint took place in partnership with the Chalmers University of Technology and the City of Stockholm’s environment and Health Administration.

Transportation and electricity consumption were the areas in which 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 with electricity sourced from hydropower. The family’s home from A-hus produced its own electricity and with renewable energy from hydropower, carbon dioxide emissions from purchased electricity were virtually zero.

Carbon dioxide emissions from accommodation were more than halved – and food is the third area in which the family made considerable progress. By not throwing away food and by making wise choices, the Lindells made a significant cut in their carbon dioxide footprint. Varying one’s choice of meat and eating more vegetables are easy ways for anyone to reduce food-based carbon dioxide emissions.

Viewed per category, the Lindells managed to reduce their CO2 emissions from transport by almost 95 percent, from food by 80 percent, from accommodation by 60 percent and in other areas by 50 percent. All told this means their CO2 footprint shrank by 75 percent.

Read more
Final report – detailed figures and comments from the family and the companies involved (PDF)
Calculation –  live climate-smart and save money each month (PDF)

The photo is taken June 13th after the official closing of the One Tonne Life project. In the middle Alicja, Hannah, Nils and Jonathan Lindell, surrounded by several of the persons who have been involved in project administration, media contacts, film and photography during the projekt. In the background the solar panel facade of the One Tonne Life house.

Webisode #12 “Home Again”

Webisode #11 “The Final Day”

Impressive finish in One Tonne Life

Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren shut off the Energy Watch system today which marked the official closing of the One Tonne Life project. Together with Annika Ramsköld, Vattenfall and the Lindell family.

Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren has today officially closed 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 have succeeded in cutting their emissions by almost 80 percent compared with their start back in January.

When Andreas Carlgren switched off Vattenfall’s smart Energy Watch monitoring system in the “One Tonne Life” house, this marked 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 Car Corporation 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.

The Lindell family talking to Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren in the One Tonne Life house.

Webisode #10 “The Last Tonne”

Follow the Lindell family!

During the One Tone Life project we document what happens in the life of the Lindell family on video. Here are all the webisodes (short episodes) that has been released so far. And as a bonus, the trailer for One Tonne Life. Enjoy!

The demo house in Gothenburg is not only efficient, it is also smart

ayControl app saves energy by controlling the house via iPhone and iPad

Reducing CO2 emissions definitely does not mean a reduction of comfort. In many cases it is the use of the newest technologies that makes more energy-efficient living possible. The One Tonne Life demonstration house in Gothenburg is a so-called Smart Home. This basically means, that it’s technical devices – such as lights, heating, etc. – are controlled by an intelligent electrical installation.

Besides using normals switches the demo house also can be easily controlled with the iPad or iPhone. The iPad app is called “ayControl KNX” and it brings both, comfort and also energy savings. For example, you sit downstairs and through the app you see which lights are lit on the top floor. You can extinguish them conveniently sitting on the couch. It’s as simple as pressing the off button in ayControl – directly on the iPad.

Modern Smart Homes can bring even more CO2 savings e.g. Lights can be programmed to only shine if the rooms are used and the blinds can be pulled up automatically to let in the sunlight if desired.

Read more
More Info about ayControl and Smart Homes

Cycling for lower emissions – part 1

The Lindells are keeping up the pressure. One way of cutting emissions still further is to cycle instead of taking public transport or the electric car. We offer here a few tips on cycles, both classic styles and innovative, more experimental, models, for added inspiration!

Naked and lightweight (above)
Sweden’s Skeppshult is renowned for its robust, traditionally designed cycles. With its Steel model, the company has upped the ante and created a cleaner, more naked and lightweight cycle with nothing more than the bare essentials. Here with a leather saddle and Brooks handlebar grips. Price: from 10,995 kronor

Classic foldable
The combination of cycle and public transport is not always easy since bikes are seldom welcome on buses and commuter trains in Sweden. You can solve the problem with a folding bike, here from Britain’s Brompton. Price: from 8,400 kronor

Cargo bikes
In cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, it is common to see two-wheeled cargo bikes carrying the weekly shopping or children. One sign that this trend is making its way to Sweden too is the fact that Dutch manufacturer De Fietsfabrik has opened a showroom in Stockholm. Price: from 22,900 kronor

Cargo with attitude
Bullitt, designed by Denmark’s Larry vs Harry, is what is known as a “longtail”, that is to say an extended cycle with a cargo area in front of the handlebars. Bullitt is available in 13 eye-catching colours and the frame is decorated with portraits of icons such as Che Guevara, Elvis and Einstein. Price: about 17,500 kronor

The family bike
Danish-designed trioBike is a carrier bike that quickly transforms into a “conventional” cycle and a pushchair that can for instance be used as a child’s pram. With two bikes and one pushchair one parent can take the kids to day-care while the other can pick them up at the end of the day. Price: 13,400 kronor (cycle), 12,700 kronor (pushchair)

Happy New Model Year

It’s true. However strange it may sound, production is currently under way for model year 2013. Product development and production of cars are very complex issues. Not only do the cars have to function properly and offer good value for money, they also have to fit into the model range and enter the market at exactly the right time. That is why we here at Volvo (along with most other manufacturers) have a specific date for the new model year at the factory. We fix a date to avoid mixing together components and details that do not belong together. In Volvo’s case the model year changes in week 20. For car enthusiasts with a particular interest in the environment, there are several points of interest. Not least that Volvo has 19 new variants classified as environmentally optimised or “green” cars as per the table below.

What is entirely new is the T4F engine in the larger cars. The T4F is the synthesis of several years of product development and it is a powerful yet energy-efficient ethanol engine. What is more, DRIVe is back in the V70 and S80. Now with a start-stop function. Naturally the C30 Electric is also included this model year, with series production starting this summer.

All these models give the car owner 5 years of road tax exemption. What is more, some municipalities offer free parking for green cars. Buyers have to check this with their local authorities.

Finally I would like to mention that Volvo’s City Safety system is now standard on all S60, V60, V70, S70, XC60 and XC70 models. Naturally also on the green versions of these cars. City Safety is a system that monitors vehicles ahead in traffic queues and automatically brakes if the driver fails to do so. Read more about the new models on Volvo’s website:

Next week I will write about how things went at the first official drive in the V60 plug-in hybrid in Berlin at Michelin Bibendum.

David Weiner, Volvo

Just how good are electric cars from the climate viewpoint?

Use of the electric car, allied to the fact that the family are avoiding air travel, has helped cut transport-related emissions by a total of 93 % compared with before project start. The reason for this big decrease is that the car runs on renewable electricity, so emissions are very low. However, if everyone was to buy an electric car, would it be reasonable to claim that all the electric cars were running on hydropower?

Some people say that if we increase electricity consumption a little in Sweden, that will require us to buy in a little more coal-powered electricity from Denmark. Even if Sweden exports electricity, the effect will be the same. If we use more electricity and export less, this would mean that the Danes would have to rely more on coal-fired power stations instead of hydropower that they could otherwise have purchased from Sweden. This means that coal is a marginal power source. And if you recharge your electric car with coal power, from the climate viewpoint it is pretty much the same as running a petrol car.

There are several things that are rather tricky in this perspective. One is that the EU has a trading system for emissions rights whereby the permitted level of emissions from the electricity and industrial sectors in the EU is a political decision. Therefore, if we use a little more electricity in Sweden, this does not mean that emissions increase but that someone else in the EU will either have to reduce their electricity consumption or invest in coal-less power production. This means that net emissions from the electric car will in practice be zero, although the emissions rights will be somewhat more expensive in the EU. However, one might counter that we can also let petrol-powered cars be part of the EU’s trading system, in which case the contribution from yet another petrol car would in practice also be zero.

A trading system is a control mechanism for ensuring that emissions reductions take place where they are cheapest to implement. However, it is nonetheless important to be able to evaluate technologies in advance. So the question returns to whether or not electric cars are better than petrol cars bearing in mind today’s electricity production. It is true that if we increase electricity consumption in Sweden by a little, then a little more coal power will be used this year. But an electric car has a life-span of around ten to fifteen years. Will coal remain a marginal power source throughout that time? What is more, if we were to go for electric cars in Sweden, new power stations would have to be built. What will be decisive is which new energy sources will be driven by the introduction of electric cars. Additional coal power, or renewable energy sources? This issue will be decided not so much by electric car customers but more by political decisions about which control mechanisms there are for the electricity generating sector.

The climate impact of electric cars therefore cannot be evaluated solely on the basis of the car, but must instead be viewed in a larger context. If a political decision is taken not to redirect electricity production, the electric car will not be a good climate alternative. But if resources are invested in redirecting power production, electric cars may well become a good solution for the future transport system.

Another two points to make about electric cars. One is that we would actually only need about 6 % more electricity production in Sweden to replace all passenger cars with electric cars. The second is production of the cars themselves. We estimate that the Lindell family’s car generates 100 kg CO2/person per year, which in itself is not a whole lot. But that figure can be a lot less if the electricity generating system were changed. In other words in a future in which power for electric cars is only a minor climate-related problem, actual manufacture of the cars will also only be a minor climate-related problem.

Fredrik Hedenus, Chalmers

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