News item | 2014-05-14 | 09:00 AM

A climate smart life for real

Do you remember One Tonne Life, the project where a family tried to live on as little energy as possible over a 6-month period? The house involved in that project has been bought by a Swedish family who want to live a climate smart life for real

It's been three years since the One Tonne Life project proved that it's possible to reduce a family's carbon footprint significantly without reducing their standard of living.

Now, Tina and Jon Jogensjö are living in the climate smart house in the west of Stockholm. They were tired of living in their cramped inner city flat with their son Nils and were also keen to live in a way which didn't deplete the earth's resources unnecessarily. The house was designed by well-known Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh and is fitted with solar panels and solar collectors which generate electricity and hot water. And the family can sell any excess electricity back to the grid.

The family has been given the opportunity to test a number of smart energy solutions through an initiative involving Vattenfall, Volvo and A-hus, which built the 155 square metre house.

"We know it's possible to live in a climate smart way without making life too complicated. This initiative has given us the chance to learn more about the house we live in and to test state-of-the-art technology, which could help us go even further," says Tina Jogensjö.

"We're quite good at thinking things through: we cycle or use public transport whenever we can, we turn off the lights and we try not to throw food away. Although I do sometimes shower for a bit longer than perhaps I should," admits Jon Jogensjö.

Monitoring energy consumption
The smart meter Energy Watch was one of the technical devices the family had the chance to test.

"It's great to be able to see how much electricity you're using on the screen. When you see what you're using broken down into cooking, TV, lighting etc., it automatically makes you think in a different way. There's an English expression, "you treasure what you measure". And that's certainly true of electricity and energy," says Tina Jogensjö.

Easy to charge
The Jogensjös have also been lent a Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid, a climate smart car which Vattenfall helped to develop. And Vattenfall has also installed the latest charging box for the family.

"I've wanted to drive a car like this for ages and it was better than I had expected. It's a magic feeling whizzing along, knowing that you're not emitting any exhaust fumes or carbon dioxide. And it's so easy to charge the car at home. Easier than filling up with petrol," says Tina, and Jon adds:

"When you've used the car for a while you start wanting to drive even more smartly to increase the distance as much as you can. It's a bit like a game. The best thing for me is the bubbles you see in the gauge when you brake and the battery is charging!"

Smart plugs
The house was also fitted with Vattenfall's smart plugs and thermostats which can be read and controlled from an app on a mobile phone.

"The thing is though that we make sure we turn things off after we have used them. As with all new technology, it takes a while before you work out how to use it in the best possible way. But I'd love to have a mobile app that would show me how much charge my car had and its electricity consumption," says Jon Jogensjö.

Tina and Jon Jogensjö currently estimate that the family's CO2 emissions are around 3.5 tonnes per person per year, i.e. around half those of an average Swedish family. And Tina hopes that others will be inspired to follow their example:

"With the right motivation, knowledge and technology you can get a long way without having to sacrifice modern comforts. It would be great if more people were inspired to live like we do, because it's so easy and it makes such a difference!"

One Tonne Life project website