EU Consumers Snap Up High Powered Vacuum Cleaners as ‘Dirty Floor’ Regulation Approaches

There are major issues with joblessness in the European Union — 33% of Portuguese youth, and 50% of Spanish youth are unemployed. But as The Wall Street Journal points out, “the Continent can rest easy now that the European Union is tackling the menace of high-powered vacuum cleaners.” That’s right: Europe is cracking down on high-powered vacuums, and the floors of Europe are going to pay.

Colloquially known as the “dirty floor mandate,” Regulation 666/2013, which was adopted by the European Commission last year, bans both the manufacture and import of high powered vacuums — defined as any vacuum whose power output exceeds 1,600 watts. By 2017, the limit will be altered to 900 watts. The measure will go into effect this September, and consumers are finally realizing that this might be their last chance to legally get ahold of a powerful vacuum.

Consumer groups, consumers, and watchdog groups are questioning the point of the regulation, which seems to do little in the way of energy saving. The 11 page report submitted by the EU regarding Regulation 666/2013 had little in way of cost-benefit analysis. It also seems to ignore a basic point: instead of using less energy with high-powered vacuums, consumers are going to end up spending the same amount of energy because they need to use lower-energy vacuums for longer lengths of time.

On the other hand, Jon Worth, a regular speaker on EU and tech politics, sees worth in the policy. What others call technocratic, he seems as a mandated push toward better-designed vacuums that use less energy.

“I am very happy the Commission is doing this – energy efficiency is good, it needs law to make it happen, so initiatives like this are excellent,” wrote Worth on his blog.

For the next few weeks, consumers in the EU will snap up the vacuums they can, either for use now or for resale later. After the regulation goes into effect, any consumer looking for a good vacuum will either be rewarded with, as Worth describes, more energy-efficient vacuums, or perhaps they will just have dirty floors.

“EU regulations certainly differ from how we handle things here in the United States,” says Rob Nelson, VP of Sales at Rebound USA. “On the pro side, the consumer will actual save money with a lower wattage vacuum cleaner.”

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