Efficient appliances: Fighting climate change starts at home

Have you ever thought of the impact of your households appliances on your monthly energy budget and on the environment? Probably not as often as you should. The European Union, however, in an effort to fight climate change and ensure lower energy bills for consumers, has put appliances at the centre of its climate and energy policy.

Energy efficiency & Consumer empowerment

Over the past months, discussions over industrial innovation and its impact on Europe’s energy policy have intensified.

The Luxembourgish Presidency of the European Union, which will last from July to December 2015, reiterated the importance of promoting innovative technologies as they align both with the priorities on European competitiveness and on the recalibration of the European climate and energy policy. That includes the development of more energy-efficient household appliances.

The will to promote energy efficiency through innovation in order to benefit consumers was also reflected in the Energy Council conclusions on the implementation of the Energy Union adopted on June 8, 2015. The conclusions clearly call for investment and promotion of energy efficiency and innovative, low-carbon technologies which would increase security of supply for European consumers. On a regulatory level, the conclusions underline the importance of implementing existing energy efficiency legislation combined with stakeholder engagement in its review process.

Is the EU introducing new rules for appliances?

No, not really. Rather, it is reviewing existing ones. More specifically the European Commission, which is responsible for developing regulations, intends to review the Directives on Eco-design and Energy labelling in 2016 at the latest.

The EU-wide rules aim to ensure the decrease of CO2 emissions and life cycle cost of appliances for the consumers.

In addition, the European Commission’s Eco-design Working Plan for 2015-2017 is still being discussed and will likely be published in the fall. In turn, new rules for additional products are expected to be presented in 2016.

As a member of the Eco-Design Consultation Forum which was set up by the Commission, ISOPA not only has been closely following the regulation’s implementation but also emphasized the importance of innovation in materials in order to boost energy efficiency and lower CO2 emissions at consumer level.

How about the Parliament? Does it support energy efficient appliances?

Members of the European Parliament have been particularly vocal about the impact energy efficiency can have on mitigating the impact of climate change. At Parliament level however, energy efficiency is only addressed through the lens of the implementation of the Energy Union.

Nonetheless, there has been broad consensus that cost-effective regulation would enable Europe to boost its industrial competitiveness at global level. This is particularly true for efficient appliances we use every day at home. For this reason the review of the energy efficiency framework for products (Energy Labelling and Eco-design Directives) has been scheduled for 7 July 2015, in Strasbourg.

How are polyurethanes actually contributing to a better European Energy system?

Did you know polyurethane rigid foams are excellent insulators while being light and needing little space? For example, refrigerators and water kettles insulated with polyurethane foam leach minimal energy during their use, drastically reducing energy demand. Not to mention that at manufacturing level, the use of polyurethane, thanks to its inherent adherence and strength allows to reduce the thickness of the outer liners, further reducing resource depletion.

All in all, appliances insulated with polyurethane are designed to use less energy meaning that stricter energy standards can be met and the benefits passed onto the consumer. In addition, going forward, ISOPA members keep on focusing research and development to optimise the performance and designs of appliances. Great news for everyone wouldn’t you say?

Should you want additional information on the applications of polyurethanes engage with us on Twitter and visit our website!

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