The EU recently banned the sales of vacuum cleaners with motors exceeding 1600 watts. The theory is that the lower the wattage, the less energy it uses. See article here:

But it doesn’t stop there. According to a report published by Deloitte and commissioned by the European Commission, the EU’s executive body has set out plans to look at the energy usage of a range of items and whether they could be made more efficient.

What’s next, your hair dryer? Your toaster? And how long before the United States and the rest of the world follows suite?

But what’s interesting is if it takes twice as long to do the same job as the more powerful unit, are you really saving anything?

Take hair dryers, for example. In theory, a 500-watt dryer at 2 minutes would use the same energy as a 1000-watt unit at 1 minute. But, says Henry Lau, outreach officer at the Institute of Physics, it’s not that simple. You have to look at how efficient hairdryers actually are. “Part of the power is being used to power a heating element, you’ll get some energy wasted heating other parts of the hairdryer, not just the air.”

In other words, design matters more than power. There’s no simple relationship between motor power and energy use, says Prof Will Stewart, fellow at the Institute of Engineering and Technology. And a big motor used at low power will use about the same energy as a smaller one doing the same job.

According to an article on

  • There is no clear relationship between motor size and overall energy consumption
  • More efficient motors and better product design can be more important than power
  • Many products, such as hairdryers, use far more energy than is needed to do the job

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all of this is how far will our governments go, infringing on the personal rights of its citizens to enact their pet projects? We already have bans on incandescent light bulbs, smoking bans, seat belt laws, and bans on super-sized soft drinks. Even our right to free speech is being challenged at every turn. Free speech is only guaranteed when everyone agrees with you. And how often does that happen?

EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said the regulations are needed to tackle climate change.

However, Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said sapping the energy out of electrical appliances will only lead to people using them for longer.

“There is no example in history when any product technology has become more energy efficient and this has led to a decrease in energy usage, in fact the opposite happens.”

This article wasn’t supposed to be political, but sometimes you just have to say what you feel.

So how do you feel?