Climate-smart lifestyle

#MakatiCondo January 27, 2011

In a bid to promote a lifestyle that’s environment-friendly, four companies are helping one family to lead the “One Tonne Life” project – a demonstration of what it means to adopt a climate-smart lifestyle.

A-hus, Vattenfall, Volvo Cars and Siemens are offering technological advantages and solutions that the Lindell family is currently applying in their household – technologies that are already available or will become available in the very near future. In fact, the designer plans to sell this type of house by the end of this month.

A-hus President Peter Mossbrant said: “Our goal is to make low-energy wooden houses available to a broad market. More people should be able to live climate-smart – without compromising on comfort, function or design. We offer everything under one well-insulated roof.”

The plans for the villa were drawn up by architect Gert Wingårdh. He has made the white house more energy-efficient and given it a more interesting appearance with the characteristic protruding framework around each window, the wind-catcher in the entrance hall and the large integrated veranda alongside the living room. Together with the black roof and the south-facing solar panels, the house has a truly unique personality all on its own.

The “One Tonne Life” house has triple-layer walls with exceptional insulation capability and minimal air leakage. Other important features are improved insulation in the roof and foundations, as well as low energy windows and doors.

The wind-catcher in the entry hall prevents large airflows between the inside and the outside. This creates a comfortable climate inside the house and the energy consumption becomes lower. The protruding frames around the windows shade the interior when the sun is high in the summer sky, yet let in the winter sun’s energy when it is low on the horizon.

In order to ensure a supply of fresh air to the well-encapsulated house, there is a ventilation unit that sucks out spent poor-quality air and replaces it with fresh, tempered air delivered to the bedrooms, living room and other public areas. The heat in the spent air is recycled.

The building’s heating requirements are largely met by the incoming air, the occupants’ body heat and heat-generating household appliances. Supplementary underfloor heating is installed on the bottom floor. The solar cells on the roof and the south-facing facade generate electricity that provides additional heating or is used to recharge the electric car. Any electricity that is not consumed by the family is fed into the national grid.

The solar panels on the carport roof meet a large portion of the household’s heating and hot water requirements during April to October. When the sun is not shining and the accumulator tanks have no solar power stored, the Lindell family get renewable energy from Vattenfall.

Volvo C30 Electric

The family’s Volvo C30 Electric operates quietly and emits no carbon dioxide at all when it is recharged with renewable electricity. The electric car is part of Volvo Cars’ drive to promote electrification. It offers the very same comfort, interior space and safety as the standard version of the C30. The difference is that the Volvo Electric C30 is powered solely by electricity.

The “One Tonne Life” project gives Volvo Cars the opportunity to study how the electric car fits in with a modern family’s lifestyle.

“We will reap immense benefit from the project in our ongoing development of electric cars. It will give us clear information about what we need to deliver so buyers feel that a battery-powered car is attractive and cost-effective to drive and own,” said Lennart Stegland, manager of Volvo Cars’ Special Vehicles division.

The Volvo C30 Electric is powered by lithium-ion batteries that are recharged via a regular wall socket. A full charge takes about eight hours. The range on a full charge is up to150 kilometers.

“150 kilometers is much more than the average European commuter drives in one day. In “One Tonne Life” this range will cover most of the Lindell family’s transport requirements,” said Stegland.

Smart energy solutions

Climate-smart and energy-producing houses are an important piece of the puzzle in the development of intelligent electricity grids, which in turn are an important ingredient in a sustainable society.

Vattenfall has several projects dealing with the development of intelligent electricity grids and energy solutions for households that focus on electricity monitoring and energy efficiency enhancement. As a result, some homeowners can be both electricity consumers and small-scale electricity producers, for instance by utilizing solar cell technology.

In “One Tonne Life” Vattenfall is making a variety of contributions including Energy Watch – cutting-edge technology for measuring the family’s electricity consumption in real time. “We’re helping the Lindell family keep a watch on their electricity consumption and also helping the family members use their electricity in an efficient way,” said Torbjörn Wahlborg, president of Vattenfall Norden.

He added: “We are also working on a further development of the electricity grid so that a family whose home is fitted with solar cells is able to sell its surplus to us when their own production exceeds demand. At the same time, they get a secure supply of electricity from green sources such as windpower or hydropower when the sun is not shining.”

Eco-conscious choices

Food represents about one-quarter of a household’s climate footprint, and supermarket chain ICA sees considerable potential here for reducing carbon dioxide emissions through active choices.

“We have a wide range of eco-marked, ecologically produced and locally grown produce. By participating in “One Tonne Life” we hope to find new ways of involving and helping our customers make simple but significant choices both in the supermarket and in the kitchen at home,” said ICA environmental affairs manager Maria Smith.