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.