Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome
Starting on Monday, vacuum cleaners drawing more than 1600 watts can no longer be brought into Germany. The ban is part of a an EU-wide environmental protection measure.
By 2017, vacuums will be limited to 900 watts, which is half of what the average vacuum motor currently uses, at 1800 watts.
"The EU will now require that all vacuum cleaners clean well and at the same time avoid wasting electricity," Marlene Holzner, spokesperson for the EU commission on energy, said in a release.
It is predicted that by 2020, the new regulations will have saved 19 terawatt-hours per year, equivalent to the energy consumed by 5.5 million households.
Hoovers will now also be labelled with energy-efficiency ratings from A through G, much like other white goods sold in Germany already are.
Cecilia Meusel, who tests vacuum cleaners for Stiftung Warentest in Germany, said consumers needn't worry that household cleanliness will suffer.
"The deciding factor for suction is not energy usage, but the complete construction of the appliance," she told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
James Dyson, the British designer of innovative vacuums and other household appliances, agrees. "It's a myth that bigger is better," adding that none of his vacuum cleaners have motors above 1400 watts and that they work so well because of engineering, not energy consumption.
Existing stock, however, is still available for sale. The new rules simply ban the import of the more powerful vacuums. As long as the vacuums are already in Germany, they can be put onto retailers' shelves for purchase.