New EU energy rules could save you money, or ruin your coffee
So it's 2015 and already the EU is meddling with stuff in our homes. Happy New Year! New EU directives on energy effficiency and climate change came into force yesterday, aimed at saving us money every year in energy costs and saving the planet at the same time. Put like that it doesn't sound so bad, so it probably depends on whether you are a coffee drinker or not...
There are a couple of types of new rules- now energy efficiency labels (the stickers that tell you if your potential new appliance is an A grade or a G grade) must now also be available online, which also sounds emminently sensible in these modern times of online shopping. The worst energy-offending products will also be banned from sale in the name of saving energy by forcing people to make slightly better energy-efficient choices.
But what is getting people's goat (already) is the effect on certain types of appliance that remain on most or all of the time. From now on, new networked devices like routers, hubs, modems, connected or smart televisions and printers should be able to switch automatically into a low power standby mode if no main task is performed. The European Commission claims that many gadgets are connected to the internet 24 hours a day, while homeowners are asleep or out of the house, costing an extra extravagance of around £32 a year.
And while perhaps even Europhobes can see the benefit of reducing energy usage while you're not actually using it, what about when those Eurocrats start messing with your coffee?
In an attempt to improve energy efficiency, filter coffee machines must now switch off after five minutes of percolating to prevent electricty waste. For espresso machines, the rules do not apply while they are grinding, frothing milk, steaming or brewing, but new machines will have to switch off automatically after 30 minutes and settings to keep cup warm will turn off after one hour. Domestic drip-filter coffee machines with insulated jugs – to keep the coffee warm- must switch off after five minutes.
Marylyn Haines Evans, public affairs chairwoman of the National Federation of Women's Institutes, said: "Nobody likes to waste energy, and at a time when energy bills are increasing, having appliances designed to be sparing with electricity is definitely a good thing for your household finances.Coffee is one of the many products threatened by climate change, so it's also good to know that when you're making a cup, you're doing your bit to cut down on carbon emissions too.”
"With a better designed appliance you can enjoy a coffee without the bitter taste of wasting energy or adding unnecessarily to the climate problem" she finished, pleased with her own witticism.
So what do you think? Is this actual well-meaningness aimed at saving money and the planet with a slight side effect on certain groups or is this just EU meddling of the highest order?