European legislation aimed at meeting targets for energy efficiency came into effect on 1 September 2014, when a new law banning vacuum cleaners rated above 1,600 watts was implemented.
The European Commission states that the rules will contribute to saving 19 terawatt-hours every year by 2020. This is the equivalent of the electricity produced by four power plants for 5.5m homes.
The rules have proven controversial, with British firm Dyson blasting the legislation and saying it is misguided.
Law should lead to more energy efficient vacuum cleaners
Opponents of the move have also said that new low-powered vacuum cleaners will mean bad news for those allergic to dust. A claim which has been rebuked by Mark English, Head of Media, EU Commissions Office in London.
Speaking on the issue he told the Guardian: “The new rules […] will not mean vacuum cleaners picking up less dust or extended vacuuming time.
“The whole point is that better eco-design for domestic appliances can reduce energy consumption without damaging performance.”
Dyson: Legislation is misguided
Although Dyson has not been affected by the EU’s new law, as their vacuums do not exceed 1,400 watts, the company’s founder James Dyson claims the legislation is misguided.
Dyson had asked for vacuum cleaners to be tested with dust in them, as well as have the environmental impact of vacuum bags and filters be taken into account for energy ratings. However, a selection of European vacuum manufacturers, which rely on vacuum bags and large motors, outvoted him.
“The other manufacturers held it at 1,600 watts and it will go down to 900 watts in 2017, be we were the only manufacturer campaigning for small motors, because high power doesn’t equate to efficient cleaning,” he said.
Standby costs British households £227m every year
When it comes to saving energy, British consumers still have a lot to learn, as research carried out by uSwitch has shown that households waste £227m yearly by leaving their electrical appliances on standby.
According to a survey, 81% of consumers are aware that electrical goods need to be switched off at the mains, but24% say they forget or can’t be bothered.