EU technological efficiency focus now extends to vacuum cleaners

By Nell Walker
Thanks to a new EU regulation, the production of inefficient vacuum cleaners will soon be banned. Once supplies have depleted, vacuum manufactures must...

Thanks to a new EU regulation, the production of inefficient vacuum cleaners will soon be banned.

Once supplies have depleted, vacuum manufactures must cease production of devices which create more sound and heat than suction. Vacuums using more than 900 watts and emitting over 80 decibels will be banned under the new law.

Experts are adamant that low-power appliances can clean as well as higher-wattage ones, and it has been suggested that Europe could save up to 20 TWh of electricity by 2020.

Dr. Frederik Dahlmann, an Assistant Professor of Global Energy and researcher of the low carbon economy at Warwick Business School, offered the following expert comment on such policies:

"The debate over product standards and energy efficiency policies has been a long-standing battle between campaigners for and against new measures to phase out or ban inefficient equipment. Whether it is light bulbs or hoovers, some people object to politicians imposing tougher standards by stating consumer choice or increased bureaucracy. 

"What people forget is that energy efficiency measures for our consumer goods and products, but also our homes and cars, are really the flipside to many other energy debates, for example, on the building of new power stations or the sourcing of fossil fuels.

"Reducing our energy consumption while ensuring that we get as much (if not more) output or utility from our equipment, homes and cars is the most economic and environmentally-friendly way to avoid many other energy issues and debates.

"Yes, in an ideal world companies would automatically only offer the most efficient equipment and consumers made their purchases on that basis. But despite adding labels to improve our understanding of which products are more energy efficient, consumers often end up more confused or ignore this completely.

"Banning inefficient equipment is a blunt and seemingly intrusive tool, but the wider benefits for society are significant. Consumers should ask for the most effective and efficient hoovers, not those with the highest wattage, so that companies voluntarily only offer what is ultimately in everyone’s interest."


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