We are being urged to cut our carbon footprint by just a little (10% was the target of choice in 2010), and many have taken the challenge, concluding that such a teensy-weensy reduction can’t be so hard.
But what if you’re asked to slash your carbon use by 85% — that’s the reduction in consumption from today’s global average rate of seven tonnes of C02 per person per year, to one tonne per person per year? It’s where experts think we really need to be to seriously minimise the human impact on long-term climate change.
“Tough” doesn’t even describe it. But we may soon know if it can be done. An “ordinary” Swedish family, the Lindells, have moved into a purpose-built home in Sweden and have started using technology (much of it available to the public today) to try to attain that ambitious target. We could find out a lot about what we all need to do to make the savage cuts in output from their six months experience.
Car manufacturer Volvo is joining two other Swedish companies – house builder A-hus and energy supplier Vattenfall – in the project “One Tonne Life” to test whether a typical family can cut their carbon footprint by 85% by switching to more sustainable housing, transport and energy solutions.
The energy-efficient house features state-of-the-art (but current technology) insulation and ventilation systems, and solar photovoltaic energy generation for hot water, heating and electric appliances.
Energy supplier Vattenfall will measure the family’s electricity consumption in real time. The family, Nils Lindell, his wife Alicja and children Hannah, 16 , and Jonathan, will also have the use of Volvo’s not yet publicly available electric C30 car.
Chelmer University will track their energy usage to see how the new technology changes their habits and improves energy efficiency.
“With the right know-how, the right technology and a consistent attitude, we believe it is possible to approach the one-tonne target already today – and without making any major sacrifices to one’s regular lifestyle,” says Torbjorn Wahlborg, Managing Director of energy provider Vattenfall Nordic Region.
“Much of the technology and the solutions are already available to the public or will be very future. This is no science-fiction project.”
The house is in Hasselby Villastad in the western parts of Stockholm.