Published on July 8th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Record-making climate-lean life with Volvo
The “One Tonne Life” project in Hässelby near Stockholm shows that living a climate-optimised lifestyle is also good for one’s private economy. During the six months that the Lindell family lived their climate-smart lifestyle, they not only succeeded in reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by almost 80 percent – they also cut their monthly costs by almost 2,900 kronor compared with their “old” lifestyle.
“One Tonne Life” is a project in which A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars together with their industry partners ICA and Siemens created the preconditions necessary for a climate-smart household.
Over a period of six months, the Lindell family (father Nils, mother Alicja and children Hannah and Jonathan) exchanged their 1970s house and their two 10-year old cars for a newly built climate-optimised wooden villa from A-hus and a battery-powered Volvo C30 Electric. Vattenfall provided renewable electricity, advanced energy technology and energy coaching. ICA and Siemens supplied products and expertise in the areas of food and household appliances. Following an impressive final sprint, the Lindells finished at 1.5 tonnes. This means the family succeeded in reducing their emissions by almost 80 percent compared with their start back in January. At the same time, the family cut their total monthly costs by over seven percent, from 38,571 kronor to 35,692 kronor. The “One Tonne Life” lifestyle thus gave the Lindells almost 2,900 kronor more in their wallets every month.This shows that it is not only already feasible for a household with the best know-how and technology to meet the Swedish government’s climate target of a 40 percent carbon dioxide emission reduction by 2020 – it is also a profitable choice if like the Lindells the family own an old house and relatively old cars.
Lower living costs and car expenses
The custom-designed, newly built “One Tonne Life” villa is admittedly about one million kronor more expensive than the average older property in the Stockholm area, but this is more than compensated by the reduced energy costs of the energy-efficient villa from A-hus. What is more, this house even produces its own electricity via built-in solar cells. All told, living expenses including electricity dropped by about 2,000 kronor a month.
Owing to the high cost of the technology and the batteries in the family’s Volvo C30 Electric, the leasing contract accounts for most of the family’s car-related costs. The running costs, on the other hand, are exceptionally low. The cost of fuel, for instance, is just 20 kronor per 100 km. The price of the family’s C30 Electric was calculated at about 100,000 kronor above that of the standard model. This is in line with the prognosis for technology and battery prices once the electric car becomes available to a wider public. During the course of their “One Tonne Life” the family gradually reduced their climate impact from food, although food costs remained roughly the same as before the project. The food the family bought and ate was more varied, and healthier too. What is more, their proportion of ecologically cultivated food increased.
“Our climate-smart life became cheaper thanks to a number of factors – some expected and some rather surprising. For instance, it turned out that our state-of-the-art refrigerator from Siemens not only pays for itself in the form of lower energy costs but also because it keeps food fresh for longer so there is less wastage. This saving alone can total more than fifty Euros a month,” says Nils Lindell.
Subsidies speed up spearhead technology
The economic analysis carried out by ICA-banken also includes a calculation of the family’s costs in a newly built house of the same size as the “One Tonne Life” villa, but fitted with today’s “normal” equipment and energy standard. In this scenario, the family drive a car with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in the company’s current range: a diesel-powered Volvo C30 DRIVe. In this calculation both living and motoring costs are even lower than in the “One Tonne Life” household. This result indicates that the spearhead technology fitted to the house and car still command a higher initial price-tag, thus limiting its competitiveness. Quickly overcoming that threshold could speed up the pace of CO2 emission reduction. One documented effective method is state subsidies during an introductory period to quickly make the technology more affordable to more households. With increased demand, the cost of the new technology will drop as production volumes rise and more suppliers compete on the market.