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Low-Carbon Living Challenge: The “One Tonne Life”

At home with the Lindel family in the Swedish capital Stockholm and it looks like a perfectly normal day. But this family has to be mindful of everything they do.

They’re looking to lower the average carbon levels produced by a typical family, cutting them from seven tonnes per person, down to one.

By living in this specially designed, energy efficient home for six months Alicja and Nils Lindell are taking part in a project called ‘One Tonne Life’.

“We thought it was very exciting and interesting, it’s the future and we all need to do something when it comes to the environment and the effects on the environment and we want to learn and inspire others.”

“And what made us curious was that these were solutions which we believed in. It wasn’t about leaving your normal life and living in a very different way but these were things that could work in a normal life. We wanted to take part and test it because we think this is the future – a credible future.”

Home builder A-hus and energy company Vattenfal are supporting the climate-smart lifestyle scheme. And automaker Volvo has provided an electric car, charged using the household’s electricity supply.

The house is equipped with solar panels and cells that produce enough energy for the house and a surplus that can be put back into the grid.

It also boosts energy efficient appliances, a recycling station and a shower-timer.

“We’re constantly lowering (carbon dioxide emissions) so at the moment we’re at 2.6 so that’s quite good actually. But the last kilowatts are the most difficult.”

To shrink the footprint even further will take discipline. The family will have to take shorter showers and change their eating habits.

Participant Jonathan Lindell says, “The most difficult has been not to eat so much meat.”

The Lindels fended off competition from more than 50 families for the opportunity to live a leaner carbon life. But they say they’re enjoying the challenge. And when it’s all over they might even make the house their home once it’s put on the market.

Bottom line: The Lindel family are attempting to live a low carbon life as part of an experiment to cut their carbon emissions from the annual average of seven tonnes per person to only one tonne.