Low-Impact One Tonne Living in Sweden

The average American will produce something like 20 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year; however, in Sweden the average amount is something like six-eight tons (or tonnes) per year.  So when several companies join forces to put a four-person Swedish family on one-ton-per-year lifestyle, perhaps there might be something for us to learn from the experiment.  That experiment is the One Tonne Life project.

The Lindell family was selected from a competition with more than 50 families.  They’re going to show folks in Sweden — and maybe even the rest of the world — how to use less than 80 kg of CO2 per week.

One component of the project involves a new, wooden house in Hässelby.  It was built by A-hus and designed by Gert Wingårdh. Gregory La Vardera, a New Jersey-based architect running a study of Swedish housing on his blog, told Jetson Green in an email that Mr. Wingårdh is somewhat of a celebrity in Sweden – “this project is like if we got Frank Gehry to design a demo house.

Indeed, he’s created a beautiful home with window cubes, energy-efficient windows, roof- and facade-integrated thin-film solar panels, a recycling station, whole-house energy monitoring, LED lights, low-flow fixtures, and walls covered with clean, white, wood panels.

Lindells also use a sporty Volvo C30 EV that’s charged with power captured from solar panels set in a sawtooth configuration on the carport.  But it’s not all about the house or the car or the technology.

The One Tonne Life is as much about decisions as it is about the things that will enable this four-person family to live a carbon-smart year.  Everything from food choices to the mode of transportation will figure in to the CO2 calculation, so it’ll be interesting to follow the numbers the rest of the year.

Credits: One Tonne Life; tip from Gregory La Vardera.

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  • Justin L


  • http://twitter.com/EcoHomeStore Eco Home Store

    Ahh, I would love to know what they are having to give up. Because isn’t that where most of us draw the line in the sand?

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      Yeah, I think you have a point. It seems the idea here is to demonstrate how to live comfortably — without giving up a lot — while still having a lean carbon existence. We’ll see how that works out.

  • http://www.bruteforcecollaborative.com/bfc/blog/ brute force collaborative

    the work of wingårdh is a heck of a lot more accessible than gehry. also interesting is that wingårdh took this on to expand his firm’s knowledge and experience with low-carbon concepts.

    it’d be interesting to see companies in the states do something like this – who would they pick? what would it look like?

  • http://twitter.com/econocasa Roberto Amores

    If posible to live there, I will do the laundry….

  • http://www.yellowbluedesigns.com Jessica Janes

    What a great place.  Maybe they will do this in North America?  

    It will be interesting to learn more about what dietary and lifestyle changes they make in order to minimize their carbon footprint.  I would think hanging out at home is a good start.

  • Petra Cederhed, A-hus

    Hi there,

    I am happy to hear that you like our house and project. We ended the project in june and came up with interesting results. The Lindells finished at 1.5 tonnes CO2 per person and year. This means the family have succeeded in cutting their emissions by almost 80 percent compared with their start back in January. At the same time, the family cut their total monthly costs by over seven percent, from 38,571 kronor to 35,692 kronor. The “One Tonne Life” lifestyle thus gave the Lindells almost 2,900 kronor more in their wallets every month.

    The Lindells is eager to share what they learned. If you are interested in what you can do (even without our house and the electric car) you can read their book on http://np.netpublicator.com/netpublication/n68378658

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