The sale of energy-wasting ovens and cooking hobs will be banned across the European Union after the latest set of rules to make household appliances more efficient takes effect on Friday, (20 February).
The European Commission said on Wednesday (18 February) that getting rid of inefficient appliances would cut consumer energy bills by around 50 euros ($57) per year, while the savings from the rules across the bloc would run into billions.
The policy, known as ecodesign, is intended to reduce fuel imports and CO2 emissions.
Industry bodies representing European appliance makers, such as Bosch Siemens Haushaltsgeraete and Philips, were involved in consultations and have welcomed the new rules, which will apply to new ovens and hobs.
But critics have portrayed ecodesign as another example of Brussels bureaucracy. Last year, rules limiting the power of new vacuum cleaners were whipped up into a media frenzy dubbed Hoovergate.
According to the ecodesign directive, which from Friday will cover hobs, ovens and cooking hoods, no model will be allowed on the market if it does not fall below a set energy efficiency limit, delivered through measures such as insulation and better door design.
The Commission said the difference for consumers in terms of performance would be “invisible”.
The law allows shops to clear stock, although energy efficiency campaigners warn customers against being seduced by discounted appliances that will lead to higher fuel bills.
“These rules mean that design standards will go up, and low quality Asian imports that cannot stand the heat will have to leave the kitchen,” Stamatis Sivitos, campaigner for the lobby group Coolproducts Campaign, said.
Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation, said:
“With these new measures in place, an ever wider range of kitchen appliances will curb energy usage. With better performing ovens our roast will taste the same while spilling less energy. Pushing companies to bring energy saving appliances onto the market is good for our economy and for consumers.”
To reduce the environmental impact of products from the design phase onwards, the EU adopted a Framework Directive setting eco-design requirements for energy-using products (EuP) in 2005.
The aim of the directive is that manufactures of the energy-using products should, at the design stage, be obliged to reduce the energy consumption and other environmental impacts of products.
>> Read our LinksDossier: Eco-design requirements for energy-using products (EuP)
The first 19 energy-using product groups for which the EU executive wants energy-efficiency standards to be established - including heating equipment, lighting, domestic appliances and electric motors - was selected during a transitional phase after the adoption of the directive in July 2005.
In July 2008, the Commission proposed extending the scope of eco-design rules to cover products which have an indirect impact on energy consumption during use, such as window frames and water taps. The recast directive was adopted in 2009.
Currently the scope covers more than 40 product groups, including boilers, lightbulbs and fridges that are responsible for 40% of the EU greenhouse gas emissions.
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