Measurements for an energy label formerly required an empty vacuum cleaner bag. Dyson, a manufacturer of bagless vacuum cleaners, filed and won a lawsuit against it at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg (Dyson ruling – Case T-544/13 RENV). The EU Commission had two months to file an appeal against this ruling in order to preserve the EU regulation. They have failed to do so, and now the ruling is legally binding.
As a result, EU Regulation (EU) 665/2013 is null and void. This presents great changes and difficulties for vacuum cleaner manufacturers, because even vacuum cleaners that have already been manufactured may no longer bear a label. Vacuum cleaners that are already in retail stores also need to have their energy label removed or covered. Otherwise, there is the threat of warnings from private bodies in accordance with the German Unfair Competition Act (UWG) or fines by the responsible market surveillance authorities according to the Energy Consumption Information Regulation (EnVKV). Only labels that are not visible, e.g. inserts inside a packaging, may remain during the shopping situation.
The VDE Institute assists manufacturers with obtaining energy labels via the appropriate tests. Energy labels are not only important for manufacturers and retailers. Consumers also use the graphic with the colorful bars as a guide when shopping. Protecting the environment and lowering energy costs is reason enough for many to purchase a vacuum cleaner with excellent energy efficiency. "Energy efficiency is no longer clearly indicated, which is something that we deeply regret.", says Sven Öhrke, member of management at the VDE Institute. Because of this, the technical experts at the VDE Institute work in many different standardization bodies and assist with their knowledge from practical testing experience in order to develop reliable and consumer-oriented testing procedures again.
However, the energy label is not the only important factor in purchasing a vacuum cleaner. Usability and electrical safety particularly play an important role in the purchase decision. "We continue to offer vacuum cleaner manufacturers a comprehensive portfolio of services so that they can present other reasons for purchasing their products, regardless of the energy label.", says Öhrke. "Our VDE mark represents the highest degree of safety, and the VDE Quality Tested Label gives consumers information about a particular vacuum cleaner’s special characteristics at a glance."
The European Commission is currently reviewing whether short-term changes to the energy label regulation for vacuum cleaners can be made. If so, then a new energy label could be released within a year. If no changes are made to the directive, then it will take at least two more years until a new energy label for vacuum cleaners is introduced.