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: Volvo

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!

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

Eco-labelling for cars: is there such a thing?

Can a car have an eco-label? How do I wash my car in an environmentally responsible way? Are there any environmentally certified tyres?

These are examples of questions that we receive every day. The fact is that eco-labels make things a little simpler when the time comes for customers to do their shopping. For example, Sweden’s “Svanen” is an eco-label that can be found on many products – everything from fuel (the gas used to propel vehicles) and newsprint to tyres, car washes and so on. You can find out more from There you can read, for instance, that eco-labelled car washes actually exist. This means they meet tough demands concerning water consumption and that the chemicals used have the least possible negative impact on the environment. What is more, these demands also include a quality requirement. It is a poor choice from the environmental viewpoint if you have to wash your car twice, so by choosing an eco-labelled car wash you get both a cleaner car and a cleaner conscience.

When it comes to tyres, HA oils are forbidden in all tyres as of about a year ago. What is more, there is an eco-label for tyres too. Thus far only one tyre model has received this eco-label but more are on the way. For tyres it is important to bear in mind that tread depth must be sufficient, and for a tyre to function safely Volvo recommends a minimum of 3 mm. There are also many tyre models with low rolling resistance; this helps cut fuel consumption without lengthening the stopping distance. Remember also to frequently check tyre pressures. Incorrect tyre inflation has more of an impact on fuel consumption than you might believe. What is more, there is an eco-pressure level which is somewhat higher than the standard tyre inflation and which helps cut fuel consumption still further.

Finally, is there an eco-label for the car as a whole? The answer is both yes and no. There is no eco-label for the entire car, but several of Volvo’s models have interiors that have been certified and approved by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association. It is not an eco-label in the traditional sense of the term, but it is an excellent guideline for good in-car air quality. This requires much more than just a good air filter in the ventilation system – a whole range of things have been done to these cars to achieve this high interior standard, including:

• IAQS – (Interior Air Quality System) fitted as standard on all new Volvo models since 2003. This system automatically shuts off incoming air and activates the recirculation system when it registers high levels of carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen oxide in the incoming air. The air inside the car is thus actually cleaner than the air outside.
• The passenger compartment filter prevents particles and pollen from entering the car.
• Interior materials are tested for contact allergies. These materials meet the same strict requirements as for jewellery with regard to nickel seepage, among other things.
• Plastics are chosen that release as little vapour as possible.
• The cabin fan starts automatically when the car is unlocked so as to ventilate as much of the shut-in air as possible when the outside temperature is 10 degrees or more.
• Finally, all materials and designs are chosen to ensure that the car is as easy to clean as possible. This helps minimise the amount of dust inside the passenger compartment.

Volvo is the only car manufacturer to have this environmental declaration system, and it is used on all the company’s more recent models.

In addition, there is of course the state-legislated definition of environmentally optimised or “green” cars but this is not an eco-label as such but rather a regulation that exempts such cars from road tax for five years. Anyone wanting to find out more about this can visit the Swedish Tax Authority’s website and look at the link about “green” cars

David Weiner, Volvo

Webisode #8 “Trip to Gothenburg”

You get what you buy!

When I buy macaroni at my local ICA supermarket, I expect the package to contain just that – macaroni. Which it always does. Furthermore, if I buy “Krav” eco-labelled macaroni I don’t expect to find that it contains traces of pesticides. There’s nothing particularly strange about any of this.

So how about when it comes to electricity? This is something one can argue about without end, and it’s into this hornet’s nest that I’m now stepping. The fundamental question to ask is whether electricity is special or not as a product. Electricity should naturally be regarded as a product just like any other. That is why regulations governing the guarantee of origin of electricity were brought in on December 1, 2010 (2010:601).  Put simply, this means that the company producing the electricity has the right to issue a certificate of origin for all electricity produced using a particular type of source. This certificate can be sold on but must be annulled once it reaches the end-customer so that it is not counted several times over. The aim of this entire legislative package is to support the use of energy from renewable sources. In the EU there is a directive on this issue which in Sweden was dealt with in government bill 2009/10:128 “Implementation of the Directive on Renewable Energy”. For anyone particularly interested in legislation, statistical data and legal texts, I recommend that you read this document in its entirety. For everyone else, what it all boils down to is that you get what you buy. Just as with the macaroni that I started off talking about.

That’s why it’s particularly important to see to it that you have a good agreement for your electricity. That is how you can be sure you are getting electricity with a small CO2 footprint and that you can make a significant contribution to cutting your CO2 emissions. For instance, Vattenfall’s electricity from hydro-power produces 6 g of CO2/kWh. If you recharge your Volvo C30 Electric with electricity from hydro-power, this corresponds to less than 1 g of CO2/km. The green-car limit is 120 g of CO2/km and the Swedish average for 2010 was 152.3 g of CO2/km (source: JATO)

You are probably familiar with the issues of marginal electricity, electricity from Danish coal-fired power stations and so on. These issues are very complex and should naturally be taken into account. But not by the customer. Marginal electricity is something that should be dealt with by the decision-makers and the power industry.

As the customer, you always get what you buy. That’s the law.

David Weiner, Volvo

What can you do with 0.15 kWh of electricity?

I live in south-east Göteborg and commute to Volvo’s Torslanda plant every day. That makes a round trip of 40 km a day. A Volvo C30 Electric consumes 15 kWh of electricity per 100 km in mixed driving conditions, so if I had a C30 Electric I would use about 6 kWh of electricity per day (for the 40 km daily commute). For the same distance, a C30 DRIVe would use 3.8 litres of diesel per 100 km, which means 15 kWh of energy. In other words, more than twice as much energy. This is because an electric motor is far more efficient than an internal combustion engine.

But the question was what we can do with 0.15 kWh of electricity. Drive a Volvo C30 Electric a distance of 1 km, for instance. But it is of course possible to use that power for other things too. The table below offers a few examples by way of comparison.

There are naturally considerable variations between different household machines. This can be seen, for instance, in the Siemens products with which the house is equipped – they are particularly energy-efficient. What is important to demonstrate when we now start using electricity to power our cars, is that the energy that we use in the house is also used for the car. So by how much will our electricity bill increase when the car runs on electricity? If the car is driven 15,000 km/year, it will consume about 2250 kWh. This corresponds to an increase of 10% in the average Swedish villa (22,000 kWh according to the Swedish Energy Agency).

The following table presents an interesting comparison between different fuels. 1 km in the Volvo C30 Electric consumes 0.15 kWh. This corresponds in terms of energy content to:

However, internal combustion engines have a much lower efficiency rating, so to cover 1 km they will require more than twice as much of each fuel, depending on the type of engine fitted. The exact figures for Volvo’s car range can be found at

David Weiner, Volvo

What is Commute Greener?

The Lindells use the Commute Greener app to log how they commute to school and work. Commute Greener is a kind of pedometer for carbon dioxide emissions that can be used to help change our behavioural patterns as regards emissions. Magnus Kuschel is development manager.

What is Commute Greener?
“Think of a pedometer, but now we’re talking about a carbon dioxide counter. Just as the pedometer helped us get on our feet and move and gain insight into how much we ought to walk, so too does Commute Greener help us establish the carbon dioxide concept at the everyday levels we deal with in our daily habits, down to the individual gram and kilogram.”

How does it work?
“Using the Internet or a mobile phone, you answer five simple questions that determine your personal carbon dioxide footprint for transport purposes. We focus on weekday travel during the regular week. Weekday travel represents one-third or more. When we can alter our daily bad habits, we can save a whole lot during an entire lifetime. Everyone can be idealistic and cancel a flight to Thailand, but the real difficulty is to modify one’s everyday habits. When you’ve answered the questions you get a “base line” that you then strive to beat. You can set your personal reduction target and then try week after week to reach that goal. We look at it in three stages: 1) Set your target! 2) Ensure that you reach it. 3) Share your experiences via Facebook and other social media.”

Runkeeper is an app where you log your training. It became very popular in Sweden in 2010. Every time you walk or run or cycle you log the activity and then share your training news on the Net. Are there any such links to health and training with Commute Greener?
“Commute Greener is very similar. The difference is that Runkeeper is easier to start up since everyone already has a firm grasp of the concepts of time and speed. Here we must first establish carbon dioxide as an everyday concept so that it becomes meaningful to the user when he or she notes emissions of 200 g rather than 1.5 kg – the figures have to mean something to the individual. In our next version, due out in another few weeks, we are including a health link via a health index with green heart symbols that add up every week if you are active. A doctor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital has validated the model, which reduces the risk of a heart attack if it is followed. Today many people stress all the way to the gym instead of cycling to work a couple of times a week. By cycling, we save time and have more quality time over for other activities. What is more, cycling is a healthier pulse-enhancing activity than punishing yourself in unrealistic sessions at the gym after sitting still day after day.”

Who is behind the system?
“The basic idea and funding come from the Volvo Group, but Commute Greener is an open innovation system, which means that we encourage many others to be involved. The project includes climate researchers and other companies. A significant part of the operation focuses on getting companies and organisations interested so that their employees can compete in-house.”

Read more
Commute Greener
Commute Greener on YouTube

Hi there, Johan Konnberg!

Johan Konnberg is the family’s coach and he will help them get under way with their electric car, a Volvo C30 Electric. He is responsible for the development of hybrid and electric cars at Volvo and he believes there will be a noticeable difference in the cars we see on the roads within the next five years, with a lot of electric cars in regular traffic.

Does it feel like the family got off to a good start with the car?
“Definitely. They’ve had a great kick-off, they’re really keen. After I showed them the car it only took a couple of hours before Alicja was out driving and later blogging about it!”

Have you always been interested in electric cars?
“I’ve worked with everything from strategy and product planning to engineering at Volvo, for almost 30 years now. For the past three years I’ve been responsible for the development of hybrids and electric cars. I applied for that department and I work primarily with business models. Purely emotively, hybrids and electric cars are definitely going to see a major upswing and I think that’s just great.”

When did development of the C30 Electric get under way?
“It began in 2009 – and we started from the ground up. There have been a variety of concept cars that Volvo has developed in previous years, running to a greater or lesser extent on electricity. We chose to tailor an already existing platform to an electric driveline and decided on the C30 since it is a typical commuter’s car. It is also our smallest and lightest model.”

What sort of performance does it offer?
“We have an electric motor that produces 110 horsepower mated to a reduction gear that reduces the 15,000-20,000 revs of the electric motor by a factor of ten so that the road wheels spin at a more suitable speed. There is also a large battery pack totalling 24 kWh installed in a “T”-shaped unit low down in the car, in the propshaft tunnel and where the fuel tank would normally be fitted. This gives a low centre of gravity, which is good for driveability and means that the batteries are well within the safety zone, protected from damage in the event of a collision. During our development work, it was important for us not to compromise on other important aspects such as safety, space, driveability and comfort. For the sake of comfort the car has a heater powered by ethanol, because it is otherwise difficult to produce heat in an electric car’s passenger compartment – an electric motor has a 90 percent efficiency rating so it does not produce much surplus heat for the passengers. If we took heat via the batteries, that would compromise the car’s operating range.”

How fast is the car?
“Top speed has been limited to 130 km/h. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h has been fixed at 10.5 seconds. When the batteries are fully charged, the electrons are fast, when the batteries are almost drained they are slow. If we didn’t fix the car’s acceleration at a specific rate, the result would be that the car would accelerate differently depending on battery charge status, and this would make progress unpredictable.”

How far can the car drive?
“The C30 has a theoretical range of 150 kilometres. But that’s in the laboratory. In practical on-road driving a more realistic figure is 100 to 120 km. The ultimate range depends on how you drive and a whole lot of other parameters, for instance whether the audio system and seat heaters are on, since they compete with the drive motor for battery power. Outside temperature also has an impact.”

How is the Volvo C30 Electric in competition with other electric cars?
“We believe it shapes up very well in competition with other electric cars. Everyone who has driven it exclaims “But this is a real car!” And that’s exactly what it is – you should feel at home with it, it shouldn’t feel different in any way, not as regards the way you drive and the feedback it gives you while driving. You shouldn’t have to compromise on anything. Add all this together and you’ve got a winner.”

When will we see this model in the showrooms?
“We’ll start to deliver cars for leasing after the 2011 summer vacation period. By the start of 2012, 250 cars will be on the roads in a number of locations in Sweden, and here we will be able to offer unique workshop servicing expertise to look after these cars. We’re talking about Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Helsingborg, Östersund, Umeå and Skellefteå. We are focusing primarily on companies, institutions and politicians who are interested in leasing a car for 3 years. After that we want the cars back here for evaluation. Among other things, we want to find out what happens with the batteries after three years. The cars will also become available on certain markets in Europe, and they will be demonstrated in the USA and Asia.”

What does the future look like for electric cars?
“I believe they’re here to stay. Battery technology is now so far advanced that it is possible to cover 120 to 150 kilometres in an electric car.”

When will electric cars become a common sight on Swedish roads?
“That depends a whole lot on the government, if they feel this is a good idea and provide subsidies for the electric car just like they did with the state green-car subsidy. On some European markets, buyers get a grant of 40,000 to 60,000 kronor for electric cars, and this makes them viable since they have such low operating costs. Within a 5-year period, you’re going to notice the presence of electric cars on the roads.”

How much progress have other countries made?
“Different countries have made different degrees of progress. President Obama wants to make the USA independent of imported oil so there is massive dollar investment in this technology in America. The USA has therefore come a good way in this respect. France relies totally on nuclear power for its electricity and wants to push its car industry in the direction of electric cars. Nothing is happening on other markets.

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