Reducing energy consumption is vital to environmentally conscious Europeans and efforts to reduce the amount of energy consumed across the continent continue each year. In 2014 the vacuum cleaner energy label was introduced and new rules have been added since then for the purpose of conserving energy.
Energy Conservation Is Key
The EU Commission has stated that more energy-efficient vacuum cleaners will save as much as 20 TWh of electricity each year by 2020. Although individual household savings are small, collectively, the savings are expected to total the annual household consumption of the entire country of Belgium.
The regulations surrounding the vacuum cleaner energy label place a limit on the maximum motor power a vacuum cleaner can have. Beginning in 2014 the power was limited to 1,600W down from the previous limit of 2,200W on older vacuum cleaners, and from 2017 reduced to 900W (discussed below). The consensus among users is that the lower powered vacuum cleaners still seem to be strong enough to effectively clean floors, carpets and upholstery.
A-G Rating System
Along with regulating the power of vacuum cleaners, the new regulations assign A-G ratings on four elements of vacuum cleaners including energy use, fine dust pick-up on the carpet and hard flooring and filtration efficiency. In regards to energy use, the most efficient vacuum cleaners have an A rating and the least efficient have a G rating. It’s also worth noting that A-rated vacuum cleaners pick up the finest dust on carpets and floors while leaving the least dust behind. The higher rated models of vacuum cleaners keep dust and allergens trapped once they are sucked up into the vacuum while the lower rated models tend to leak dust particles back into the air. One other factor the label includes is the noise volume of vacuum cleaners measured in decibels.
Power, Noise and Durability Requirements
In 2017, additional regulations were imposed on the vacuum cleaner energy label affecting both power and noise. The maximum power level was reduced to 900W and the maximum noise level was set at 80 decibels (dB). Along with the reduced power and noise requirements, vacuum cleaners now have to pass two durability tests of both the hose and the motor. The tests measure how well vacuum cleaner motors stand up to repeated use and how resistant the hoses are to breaking. New ratings that now range from A+++ have been added to the regulations as well.
Results Remain Strong
So far, there is no firm evidence suggesting that the regulations imposed with vacuum cleaner energy labels have caused inferior cleaning results. The hundreds of energy-saving vacuum cleaners that have been tested appear to be able to clean as well as the older, more powerful models. Some tests even showed an improvement in cleaning performance since the introduction of the vacuum cleaner energy labels.
Smaller, less-powerful vacuum cleaners can not only clean well, but they make considerably less noise while in operation. The quieter vacuum cleaners are not less effective because the noise reduction is achieved by good internal sound insulation. In addition, the new durability requirements that are part of the regulations mean that the newer vacuum cleaners with the energy label are lasting longer which is a plus for consumers. Overall, the vacuum cleaner energy labels appear to be having a positive impact across Europe.