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EU Wants Kettles and Hand Dryers to Cut Energy Consumption

November 8, 2016

The European Commission has identified six types of electrical products where it wants to see lower energy consumption in order to help meet Europe’s climate goals, among them kettles and hand dryers, Vice President Frans Timmermans said on Tuesday.

Plans for so-called eco-design legislation will be announced later this year after which the European Commission 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.

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However, 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 organization BEUC in Brussels.

The Paris agreement aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions by shifting away from fossil fuels to limit global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial times.

The EU Is Headed for a Rough Patch

Apart from kettles and hand dryers, new energy saving rules are expected to be drawn up for lifts, solar panels, building automation and control systems and refrigerated transport containers.

“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,” Timmermans added.

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 euros a year.