Technical support for environmental footprinting, material efficiency in product policy and the European platform on LCA
Durability assessment of vacuum cleaners - Study
The report aims to contribute to the review process of the specific ecodesign requirements on the durability of the hose and the operational motor lifetime of the vacuum cleaner (VC) product group. For this purpose a comprehensive method for the environmental and economic assessment of extending the lifetime of VCs has been developed and applied, based on the former indexes developed within the ‘REAPro’ method (Ardente and Mathieux, 2014). The starting point of the analysis was the performing of a Life Cycle Assessment of an exemplary VC, complemented with the analysis of the literature. The... functional unit was a bagged canister VC with an operating time of 10 years. A sensitivity analysis has been implemented considering potential changes in the manufacturing, repair, maintenance and energy consumption. Successively, the potential extensions of the lifetime of the VC have been analysed through the application of Durability indexes. The report showed that extending the lifetime of VCs generally implies benefits, from both environmental and economic perspectives, for the large majority of scenarios considered. In general, these benefits already exist for small extensions of lifetime, and they become significant if the lifetime is extended further. These results could be used to promote the design of more durable products, e.g. via more ambitious policy measures. The report also highlighted the relevance of repairability of VCs from both environmental and economic points of view. Repairability could be promoted for instance through a proper ‘design for repairing’ of products but also the availability of information and tools for the repair and/or replacement of some components. Finally, the importance of the role of consumers has been confirmed, in terms of proper use of VCs during their operation phase and the proper maintenance/repair operations (e.g. to grant the energy efficiency of the product throughout the lifetime).
- Corporate author(s): Institute for Environment and Sustainability (Joint Research Centre)
- Personal author(s): Bobba, Silvia; Mathieux, Fabrice; Ardente, Fulvio Themes: Energy, Industrial policy
- Subject: durable goods, energy efficiency, energy saving, environmental impact, household electrical appliance, non-durable goods, product life, research report, technical specification