All images via One Tonne Life on flickr
You may remember six months ago we travelled to Sweden to meet the lucky Lindell family who had just moved in a beautiful new home in the suburbs of Stockholm. This wasn't any old designer house though, this was the first protoype of the Bright Living concept, a prefab specially built to help this family radically reduce their carbon footprint through architecture, technology and lifestyle changes. Having won a competition to take part in the One Tonne Life project the family enthusiastically agreed to follow the experts' advice and see if they could live a comfortable existence using only one tonne of carbon per person. Their time in the house is now up, so let's find out how they did.
The Bright Living One Tonne Life House
Rather impressively the results from the One Tonne Life project show that the Lindell family got very close to the ambitious target set for them by the big brands supporting the project: Volvo, A-Hus, Siemens and Swedish energy company Vattenfall.
We're told that the family comfortably reached a constant low of 2.5 tonnes per person, from a regular high of 7.3 tonnes, by using all the technology available to them in this energy smart house, with its solar panels, Siemens efficient appliances, energy meter and through using the Volvo electric car.
The Swedish Environment Minister visiting on the last day of the project
Interestingly, when the Lindells seriously challenged their normal lifestyle choices they found they could reduce their emissions quite a bit further. Through a strict diet of using one less room in the house, no TV, no shopping and only eating vegan food they managed to reduce their footprint to 1.5 tonnes per person. This is so close the one tonne target, so what stopped them from reaching it?
The One Tonne Life team explain:
Their "rucksack" of 900 kilograms stopped them from reaching the one tonne target. This "rucksack" consists of the CO² emissions that take place when various products are manufactured, such as the house, solar panels, car, furniture and clothes. However, they demonstrated that it is possible to get very close to one tonne, however it does involve a change in lifestyle and the information to make the right changes.
Watch the short video below to hear the Lindells talking about their experience on the One Tonne Life project and how it has changed their lives. There is also a longer video about the end of the project here and what the project sponsors have learned from this ground breaking collaboration.
Some interesting numbers and facts from the project have emerged. In the six months the Lindell family lived in the One Tonne Life house this is what they achieved:
- Transport emissions dropped more than 90%
- CO2 emissions produced in the home were halved
- Food carbon emissions were reduced 84% by going vegan
- Manufacturing of house and goods prevents a 'One Tonne Life'
It will be very interesting to see what these large brands do with their learnings from this important low carbon living experiment and how that effects both individual behaviours and government policies. As the climate researcher Christian Azar says of One Tonne Life:
"Concrete examples which show that people can live in a nice way, with a fairly good material standard of living, are important because it will lower the opposition to policy instruments that are needed. To the extent that this project can help, to make it seem less scary to do something about the climate problem, I think it can have a pretty important impact."
More on One Tonne Life Project
One Tonne Life: A Swedish Family's Green Lifestyle Experiment Begins
Swedish 'Thermos' House Offers Low-Emission Life
One Tonne Life: Interview with Project Architect Gert Wingårdh on His Energy Efficient Building (Video)
One Tonne Life: Test Driving the Volvo C30 Electric Family Car (Interview)