kettle eu high energy consumption

EU to ban high-energy appliances in drive to meet climate goals

Kettles and hand dryers are among a series of electrical goods that will need to lower their energy consumption under new rules proposed by the European Commission (EC) in order to help Europe meet its climate goals.

In addition to the aforementioned, new energy-saving rules are expected to be drawn up for lifts, solar panels, building automation and control systems and refrigerated transport containers.

In September, European Union (EU) ministers ratified the Paris Agreement, which was originally negotiated last year, which obliges member states to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to combat global warming. 

The plans for the so-called eco-design legislation will be announced later this year, after which the EC will negotiate with manufacturers and industry groups before the new products hit the market.

The eco-design policy has often been cited by those critical of the EU as an example of Brussels meddling in people’s daily lives, as there are fears that the Commission wants to ban some higher-powered versions of devices such as fast-boiling kettles.

However, EC Vice President Frans Timmermans said the legislation was necessary to reach the climate ambitions agreed between nearly 200 nations in Paris a year ago.

“If we want to make sure we do what we need to do after the Paris agreement we absolutely need eco-design to provide for those results,” Timmermans told a meeting at European consumer organisation BEUC in Brussels.

“What we are doing is evidence-based. We want to put the products on the list that have the highest energy yield. That is why kettles are on the list, because they are very high in terms of energy yields, and toasters are not on the list.”

BEUC estimates that through eco-design initiatives already in place, such as energy-saving light bulbs and more efficient tumble dryers, consumers are already making electricity savings worth about €330 (£294) a year.

The EC’s new legislation proposals follow a pre-existing trend in the electrical appliances sector towards lower energy usage.

For example, in December 2014 a study showed that the average Briton used less energy than five years previous despite the increase in the number of gadgets per household. 

The EU also banned high energy vacuum cleaners in 2014 with even lower energy requirements planned for next year. 

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