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

Tag: Lars Ejeklint

Heat fiends in the bathroom

Many of us have spent good money on heat fiends in the bathroom. They sure improve our comfort level, but everything comes at a price. And that price can be unnecessarily high if we don’t keep a watchful eye on what’s going on. Here are two real heat fiends that cause us to clutch at our wallets in despair when the electricity bill pops through the mailbox.

Electrically heated towel rails. You get wonderfully warm, soft and dry towels – at a cost of more than 1,000 kronor a year if you don’t watch out. Switch off the heated rails when your towels are dry and you’ll halve your costs.

Electric underfloor heating in the bathroom. Cosy and pampering like nothing else. Many people also take the opportunity to turn up the bathroom thermostat, perhaps to 23 degrees C which is wonderful after you step out of the shower early in the morning. 4,000 kronor a year is a normal cost in terms of electricity for 10 m2 of electrically heated floor. So there’s money to be saved by trying to keep to 20 degrees C and making sure the bathroom door is always shut, to prevent that expensive heat from escaping and heating up the rest of the house, thus unnecessarily increasing your electricity consumption. One simple tip is to switch off the underfloor heating once you’ve completed your toilette in the morning.

Lars Ejeklint, Vattenfall

Sun, wind and water

“Sun, wind and water – the best things in life” sang Swedish star Ted Gärdestad many years ago. The Lindell family’s electricity is produced from the sun and water. When the time came for them to choose which type of electricity they would use when the sun’s rays were not up to the job, the choice was between wind and water. Alicja wanted the family to go for wind, while Nils wanted electricity from water. In true family spirit they chose to start off with hydro-power and to switch to wind-power when the time comes to renegotiate their electricity contract.

Everyone is allowed to specify their preferred source of electricity – wind, water or nuclear power. Or a mixture of all three.

When I’m asked what I would choose, I always preface my answer with a brief description of how electricity is produced in different parts of the world and in Sweden. 68% of the world’s electricity comes from fossil fuels, 13% comes from nuclear power and 19% from renewable energy sources. In Sweden, which has an abundance of hydro-power, half comes from renewable energy sources and half from nuclear power plants and combined power & heating stations (district heating plants with electricity production or industries with electricity production). Two percent of Swedish electricity comes from wind-power.

And then I generally ask a question of my own: how important is it to you?

There are many ways to assess our energy sources. From the purely engineering viewpoint one way is to conduct a lifecycle analysis, that is to say calculate the environmental footprint from the cradle to the grave. Another is to just look at the environmental impact while the power stations are in operation. The environmental impact from electricity production differs between different power sources. Electricity production in Sweden has very low emissions of CO2 compared with the world average since we do not use fossil fuels.

Follow the example of the Lindells, choose how you want your electricity to be produced!

The photograph is from the Akkats hydro-power station outside Jokkmokk.

Lars Ejeklint, Vattenfall

Give your white goods some love

We tend to forget about all things that function well. But if you give your white goods the love they deserve, you’ll be doing both your wallet and the environment a big favour. What’s this all about, you might well ask?

Take for example the Lindell family. They have cutting-edge white goods that are superbly efficient, the very best in the Siemens range, but what good will they do if they do not get the care they deserve? When it comes to the fridge and freezer, the term “care” means

– Checking the temperature, -18°C and 5°C in the freezer and fridge respectively
– Vacuum-cleaning twice a year under and behind the units
– Regularly checking and wiping dry all the seals

I asked the family to check the temperatures inside the freezer and refrigerator. In order to get an accurate reading from the fridge, you have to place a thermometer in a glass of water and let it remain overnight. In the Lindell family’s fridge, the temperature was zero degrees. That’s an unnecessary waste of energy without in any way benefiting the food inside. In the freezer the temperature was -20°C. Every degree increases electricity consumption by 5%. Two degrees means 10% waste of electricity. In terms of the number of kWh one might be tempted to think this is of marginal difference since these are after all high-efficiency white goods. But the principle of “every little counts” is as important here as it is anywhere else.

So give your white goods the love they deserve, take care of them and they’ll serve you loyally year after year, repaying you by being kind to your wallet and our environment.

Lars Ejeklint, Vattenfall

Dry your hands the energy-smart and eco-smart way

Jonathan asked how best to dry his hands at home in an eco- and energy-smart way. He got his answer on Tuesday. What’s the best way in a public toilet?

Many public toilets have replaced paper towels with electrically-powered hand dryers. The arguments for and against vary depending on the industry presenting the arguments. Energy, cost and spread of bacteria are all arguments that have been used.

There are different types of electric hand dryer. In one model the hands are dried in a current of air at more than 600 km/h. How much electricity does it use to dry one’s hands with this type of dryer?

The answer is very little indeed: the electricity consumed costs about 0.05 kronor/drying session, which is a mere fraction of the cost of paper towels.

So what do we want when we visit public toilets? According to one survey carried out on behalf of the European Tissue Symposium, 63 percent prefer paper towels, 28 percent hot-air dryers, while the rest want cloth towels.

What then is the answer? If we think in terms of carbon dioxide and energy, the clear winner is the hot-air dryer!

Lars Ejeklint, Vattenfall

Don’t cross the brook to look for water

We adults consist of 65% water, and we have to drink a couple of litres a day to feel good. We can do without food for several days, but not water. Water is tasty and it’s a great thirst-quencher.

But why does the average family carry home almost 100 kg of water every year from the shops and supermarkets? We buy a whole lot of bottled water, 200 million litres a year, in the form of still, carbonated and flavoured water. Isn’t that really a case of crossing the brook to look for water when in fact our country has plentiful supplies of absolutely excellent water?

Packaging and transporting water imposes an unnecessary burden on our environment and our wallets. We pay good money for water of the very same quality that we get from our kitchen taps. Here are three examples:
• 50 kronor a litre is what we pay for water in the local corner shop
• 4 kronor a litre is what we pay if we carbonate our own tap-water at home
• 0.02 kronor/litre is what we pay for our tap-water without carbonating it

Why on earth didn’t I come up with the brilliant idea of packaging something that costs less than 20 kronor for 1000 litres and then selling it on for 50,000 kronor?

If we really want to drink carbonated water, we can do what the Lindells do and fit an extra tap in the kitchen. This produces regular tap-water with bubbles. The family members can drink carbonated water with a clean conscience, because all they need to do is to buy a new carbon dioxide cylinder every now and again. No bottles that need to be transported home from the shops, and then back to the recycling station. That’s good both for the environment and the wallet.

Lars Ejeklint, Vattenfall

Will Sweden win the dishwashing championship?

Researchers have compared dishwashing practices in Sweden, Italy, Germany and Britain and concluded that we Europeans have widely differing dishwashing habits and that, irrespective of country, we all tend to take work away from our dishwashers. Our bad washing-up habits waste money and impact the environment.

The Italians are worst, unnecessarily wasting 5600 litres and 100 kWh of electricity every single year. We Swedes are not all that good either, flushing 3100 litres of water down the sink and using up 60 kWh of electricity for no reason at all. In comparison with the Lindell family’s Siemens dishwasher, the average Italian wastage corresponds to four and a half months of dishwasher use. The corresponding wastage figure for Sweden is almost three months of dishwashing.

So what’s the big reason?
And it gets worse, according to the study. Between two and four out of every ten plates never gets to the dishwasher but is instead washed by hand, and we only half-fill our dishwashers.

Fill the machines to the top and stop hand-washing – that way you’ll reduce water consumption by about 50% and electricity consumption by 28%, according to the researchers in Bonn.

Wash wisely – by machine.

Lars Ejeklint, Vattenfall

Latest videos from the project

See all videos on Youtube

Latest photos from the project

Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on twitter