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: Vattenfall

Pilot project enables climate-smart lifestyle

Three years on from the end of One Tonne Life, this ground-breaking project, initiated by A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars, has inspired a growing number of people to choose products that help them lead a climate-smart lifestyle. One example of these active choices is the Jogensjö family, with dad Jon, mum Tina and son Nils, who are now enjoying a comfortable, low-carbon lifestyle in the house that was at the heart of the One Tonne Life project.

“We’ve always believed in respecting the environment in our day-to-day lives. But we’ve still been pleasantly surprised by how easy and comfortable a climate-smart life is if you combine your environmental commitment with the latest technology,” says Tina Jogensjö, who works as a creative producer at Unicef.

One Tonne Life gained a lot of media and public attention in 2010 and 2011. The project involved the cooperation of A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars, together with partners ICA and Siemens, to create a climate-smart life for the Lindell family (with dad Nils, mum Alicja and children Hannah and Jonathan). The test period saw the Lindells cut their emissions from their normal 7.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year per person to 1.5 tonnes.

“We were interested and followed the One Tonne Life project through the media. The 80 per cent reduction in the Lindell family’s carbon emissions showed that it’s possible to make a real difference given the right motivation, know-how and technology. We estimate that we generate around half the carbon dioxide of an average Swedish family, but without compromising on our quality of life,” says Tina Jogensjö.

Love at first sight
The Jogensjö family immediately fell in love with the house’s stylish design, space and its light interior. The family have been focussing on leading an energy-efficient lifestyle since leaving their apartment in central Stockholm for the 155 square metre One Tonne Life house, which was developed by A-hus and designed by Gert Wingårdh.

“We’re able to live a completely normal suburban life, but the bonus is that we live in Sweden’s most climate-smart house,” says Tina.

Vattenfall’s web-based EnergyWatch electricity metre and the company’s Smart Plug sockets provide the family with control over their electricity consumption. And surplus electricity generated by the house’s 95 square metres of solar panels on the facade and roof is sold to the family’s electricity provider.

“The house is already outstandingly energy-efficient. But being able to measure electricity consumption in real time gives us an additional incentive to find areas where we can save a bit more. For example, we’ve discovered that Jon, who’s the one usually nagging me and Nils, showers for far too long,” laughs Tina Jogensjö. “Luckily we’ve also got solar thermal collectors on the garage roof, which provide hot water.”

Family trips powered by home-generated solar electricity
The family have been testing out a Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which they charge on their driveway using Vattenfall’s specially designed charging station. Tina Jogensjö travels to work at Unicef in central Stockholm by electric bike, but the plug-in hybrid has made it easy to visit friends and family on weekends.

“Being able to drive a comfortable and spacious family car powered by solar electricity generated at home is very cool. The range of up to 50 kilometres means I can easily drive a 40 kilometres round trip to central Stockholm without the diesel engine kicking in. And plugging the car in at home is easier than driving to a petrol station,” says Tina.

“I like to try to go a little further in pure electric mode each time I drive the car. And it also means my driving style is a little more calm and efficient,” says Jon.

A-hus – a leader in climate-smart homes
For the project’s founders, A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars, the experience from One Tonne Life has provided further inspiration and motivation to develop new products. A-hus is a leader in developing climate-smart homes with a focus on design and comfort.

“Our houses are more energy-efficient than current energy standards, no matter if they have a modern or traditional design. One Tonne Life is helping us take the next steps in our development of energy-efficient homes and to increase knowledge about climate-smart living,” says Susanne Ström, Marketing Director at A-hus.

Vattenfall – smart solutions for lower energy costs
Based on initiatives such as the One Tonne Life project, Vattenfall has developed a range of new products and solutions for energy-efficient living and a sustainable lifestyle.

“It’s now easy for a lot of households to significantly cut their energy costs and environmental impact by actively monitoring their electricity consumption, using more energy-efficient appliances and changing behaviour. We’re helping the development of electrically powered transport by providing simple charging solutions for both the home and public infrastructure,” says Lars Ejeklint, Energy Expert at Vattenfall.

Volvo Cars – success for ground-breaking plug-in hybrid
The One Tonne Life “test family”, the Lindells, drove a Volvo C30 Electric, the second generation of which was developed together with Siemens, Volvo Cars’ long-term electric cars partner. The project demonstrated that driving an electric car could cut transport-based carbon emissions by 90 per cent.

The Jogensjö family’s test car, a Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which has been developed together with Vattenfall, was one of Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrids in 2013. Later in 2014 the all-new XC90 will also be launched with plug-in hybrid version available.

“Electric cars are a mode of transport that is part of a sustainable society. The plug-in hybrid’s smart combination of an efficient internal combustion engine and an electric motor is our most technically advanced driveline ever. This brings us closer to the goal of offering completely emissions-free driving in the future,” says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Volvo Cars.

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.

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!

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

Hi Hannah, what’s it like to live the One Tonne Life?

The Lindell family have now spent just over two months living their carbon-lean life. They have experienced some trials along the way and learned a lot. We catch up with Alicja, Nils, Hannah and Jonathan to find out what they think thus far. Hannah was recognised by the Minister for International Development Cooperation, has won a cheerleading competition and feels that so far it’s been pretty easy to live a climate-smart life.

What do you think about the fact that the graph showing your emissions has fluctuated so much since January?
“It feels OK. The graph climbed when we were in Åre but we’ve now started eating more climate-smart, and we can see that the curve is going down.”

Did you get a shock over the high emissions during your holiday in Åre?
“No, not really. It’s not all that difficult to appreciate that we’re going to have high emissions when we live in a hotel and eat at restaurants all week long.”

How do you feel when you get the results?
“I was on Facebook the day the 3-tonne figure was recorded, so that felt good. Now we’re moving ahead – and down.”

What’s been most fun?
“I thought it was cool when Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson came to our school and she said she recognised me from the newspapers!”

What was it like meeting her? What did you talk about?
“We sat in a group and chatted with her. She was there to listen to us and find out what we thought about sustainability and the environment. She’d already heard about One Tonne Life and felt it was a great project.”

You attended Slottssprinten, a world-cup competition for cross-country skiing around the Royal Palace of Stockholm. What was that like?
“I haven’t really been all that interested in skiing before, but everyone was there egging on and supporting the competitors. Vattenfall was the sponsor, that’s why we were there. We were standing beside Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Viktoria and Daniel were also there cheering. I won a competition where you had to shake your iPhone with a “cheering” app developed by Vattenfall. You can select a cowbell sound, for example, and the idea is to stand and shake your mobile phone so it makes the appropriate sound. It measures how much energy you use in the process. I posted the result 28 times on Facebook so my page was full. That’s why I won.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge this spring for reducing your emissions still further?
“Coming up with other issues that we have not yet thought about. So far we’ve done the three easy, big things: we’ve moved into a house, started driving an electric car and started eating a more climate-smart diet. The question now is what else we can do apart from these things.”

But surely eating climate-smart isn’t all that simple?
“Actually, I think it’s quite easy. Just avoid meat and eat lots of fish and chicken, which we do anyway. And of course eat root vegetables and always what’s in season.”

So no problem, then. What do you think your emissions will be at the end of the project?
“Well, the truth is that we’ve already dropped by four tonnes, so the rest might feel easy. But the fact is we have a long way to go yet, so I’m guessing 2 tonnes.”

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

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