Vacuum cleaners have been subject to Energy Labelling and Ecodesign regulations since September 2014. Market analysis showed significant energy savings were possible by setting limits on power consumption and from more efficient product design.
EU-wide electricity consumption from vacuum cleaners was estimated at 18 TWh in 2005; the European Commission's preparatory studies for the vacuum cleaner Ecodesign regulation estimated this was projected to rise to 34 TWh by 2020 if no action was taken, as trends showed higher power motors continued to enter the market.
However, this product group represents a real success story in how Ecodesign and Energy Labelling have transformed the market. Since regulations came in, the industry has responded with superior product design, showing that the ability to pick up dust is unaffected by lower power consumption. This has also resulted in quieter vacuum cleaners entering the market and becoming the norm.
The Energy Label for Vacuum Cleaners
Energy efficiency information for vacuum cleaners is shown on the label as follows:
- Energy Rating on a scale of A-G, based on the annual energy consumption
- The annual energy consumption, in kWh per annum
- Dust re-emission class (A-G scale)
- Carpet cleaning efficiency (A-G scale)
- Hard floor cleaning efficiency (A-G scale)
- Noise level
From 1st September 2017, a new label will come in, scaled from A+++ to D, to account for more efficient models available.
Ecodesign Regulations for Vacuum Cleaners
From 1st September 2014 ('Tier 1'), Ecodesign regulations stipulate:
- A cap on power consumption at 1600W
- Annual energy consumption below 62 kWh per year
- Minimum efficiency of dust pick-up on carpet and hard floors
For vacuum cleaners entering the market from 1st September 2017, 'Tier 2' limits will apply:
- A cap on power consumption at 900W
- Annual power consumption below 43 kWh/year (equivalent to the middle of the D band)
- Minimum carpet dust pick-up class of E
- Minimum hard-floor dust pick up class of F*
- Minimum dust re-emission class of F
And for the first time, durability requirements will apply:
- Motors must demonstrate that they can last for 500 hours operational time and vacuum hoses must last for at least 40,000 oscillations.
*the hard-floor cleaning index must achieve a minimum value of 0.98, which is near the top of the F class.
Data from GFK showed just how strongly industry has responded in designing more efficient products. In May 2015, vacuum cleaners on the market were already achieving an average input power of 917 watts and using 34.5 kWh per year.
Which? guide to vacuum cleaners, and understanding the energy label
Topten.eu policy recommendations on vacuum cleaners
Coolproducts pages on vacuum cleaners, including 2017 position paper on durability requirements.