The EU is cutting electricity use equivalent to Sweden and Austria’s annual usage. In total, after previous ecodesign regulations, the savings will be greater than Italy’s total consumption by 2020.

The European Union (EU) agreed to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 earlier this year. They stated: “The challenge is to spark a new industrial revolution that will deliver a low-energy economy, whilst making the energy we consume more secure.” In another move to spark this new industrial revolution, the European Commission added 4 new eco-design standards this week to the 5 they had previously set.

The four new eco-design measures will save as much electricity as Sweden and Austria use annually. Combined with the previous five measures, the electricity savings will be more than the total annual usage of Italy!

European Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, says: “This package is a milestone on the road to achieving our energy efficiency, climate change and economic recovery objectives. It will save impressive amounts of electricity, CO2 emissions and electricity costs, while creating jobs and boosting the deployment of highly innovative technologies.”

The eco-design measures are for ubiquitous household appliances and some industrial machinery — televisions, refrigerators and freezers, industrial motors, and circulators. The previous standards were set for “standby”, simple set-top boxes, lamps, ballasts, and external power supplies.

This puts into practice the Eco-design Directive that was adopted by the European Union in 2005. This directive stipulated that energy efficiency needed to come at the design stage of a product more. “‘Eco-design’ means that there will be a greater focus on lifetime energy use and other environmental aspects during the conception and design phases, before it is manufactured and brought to market.”

The approximate expected energy savings for the four new standards are as follows: industrial motors — 135 TWh per year by 2020; circulators — 25 TWh per year by 2020; televisions, freezers and refrigerators — 30 TWh per year by 2020.

The EU is making a move forward regarding energy efficiency in consumerism and industrial technology this year. These are practical steps that could be adopted elsewhere in the world as well.

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