Dyson wins court battle against unfair EU vacuum energy labelling

Dyson has won its legal battle against the EU, with the European General Court annulling the regulation on the energy labelling of vacuum cleaners. Dyson successfully argued that current energy testing was anti-competitive and allowed some companies to develop defeat software to lower their energy ratings.

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The problems stem from the way that the EU defined testing for the energy label, allowing manufacturers to use empty vacuums, rather than full ones.

“Some manufacturers have actively exploited the regulation by using low motor power when in the test state, but then using technology to increase motor power automatically when the machine fills with dust – thus appearing more efficient,” said a Dyson spokesperson. “This defeat software allows them to circumvent the spirit of the regulation, which the European Court considers to be acceptable because it complies with the letter of the law.”

Vacuum cleaners that don’t use cyclonic technology and rely on bags and filters can get clogged with dust, resulting in less suction. By ramping up the power, these cleaners can maintain suction, but with an increased usage of electricity and, therefore, cost.

The graph below shows the difference this can make, with charts showing the difference in annual energy consumption between empty and loaded vacuum cleaners. As you can see, some models fall several performance grades down the scale when loaded with dust.

Dyson Vacuum Graph

With Dyson’s win, vacuum cleaner manufacturers will no longer be required to show energy labels. The EU should now look at devising fairer tests so that new, accurate energy labels can be produced.

It’s worth re-iterating that manufacturers still have to make vacuum cleaners that conform to eco standards set to reduce power consumption and promote efficiency, something Dyson has worked on ditching development of new plug-in cleaners for cordless models only, such as the excellent Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute.

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