Accelerating Sustainable Lifestyles in the City of Porvoo
Households of the City of Porvoo, in Finland, were invited already for the third time to participate in the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator arranged as a collaboration between D-mat Ltd., the City of Porvoo, and a group of local companies.
During the Accelerator, the participating eight households got to know their current material and carbon footprint, learn what type of actions they could take to reduce their footprints, and had the opportunity to try the actions during a one-month test period. To ease the experiments, the local companies offered the households different kinds of offers that support sustainable lifestyles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Accelerator was arranged fully remotely.
In the beginning, the average carbon footprint of the households was 8,6 tCO2e/person/year and material footprint 32,3 t/person/year. Both the material and carbon footprints were already below the average (1, 2)*. Once the households’ starting points were calculated and each household had chosen their actions for sustainable lifestyles with the 1.5-Degree Puzzle, they got to experiment with the actions in practice. As a result of the experimented actions, the carbon footprint of each household would decrease by 11 % on average, if the households would continue the test period lifestyle for a year. During the one-month test period, the single most drastic drop in a carbon footprint was 30 % from the starting point.
Most of the households experimented with actions such as taking shorter showers, buying second-hand instead of new, and replacing driving short distances with walking and cycling. The second-hand purchases included, for example, children’s sport equipment such as skis and ice skates. In the final meeting of the Accelerator, one household mentioned that participating in the workshop and doing together motivated them to complete actions that are easy to implement, but which for a reason or another always got postponed for later. For example, this same household had thought about lowering the indoor temperature for a long time, but only now during the Accelerator put the thought into action – and eventually didn’t even notice the change!
All in all, if the participating households would stick to their goals set for the 2030 plan, the average reduction in their carbon footprints would be 52 %. In comparison, if all households in the City of Porvoo decreased their carbon footprint the same amount as the participants during their test period (- 0,9 tonnes/person/year), it would correspond to 14 % of the city’s emission reduction target for 2007-2030 (3). Moreover, if all Porvoo citizens would make the same reduction as the participants planned to do on their 2030 roadmaps (- 4,4 tonnes/person/year), it would correspond to 70 % of the city’s emission reduction target for 2007-2030. Although the lifestyle carbon footprint and reduction targets of the city are not directly comparable, we can see that everyone’s actions matter.
* The material footprint of the average Finn is 40 t/person/year, and the carbon footprint 10,4 tCO2e/person/year.
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