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EU signs powerful energy directive

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The EU today signed an ambitious directive to cut greenhouse gas emissions from inefficient household appliances and other equipment. The Eco-Design for Energy Using Products Framework Directive will set efficiency standards for everyday household items, such as boilers, washing machines and computers, along with commercial equipment and component parts.

Environment minister Elliot Morley said: “Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide are needlessly produced every year by computers, digital set top boxes, chargers and many other products left on standby mode.

“The government will work closely with businesses, consumers and the commission to make this new directive a success in bringing forward cleaner and greener products, and to drive down emissions of greenhouse gases by setting ambitious targets for manufacturers.”

By 2010, about 180 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent output of around 50 power stations – could be prevented with new and energy-efficient appliances in Europe, according to the European Commission.

Although the focus of the directive is on setting mandatory standards, a clear intention of the directive is to encourage voluntary action by manufacturers to improve their products without the need for further regulatory action. The directive will therefore help boost innovation and trade in more sustainable products by setting out a clear forward-looking agenda for manufacturers by removing poor performing products from the market and by ensuring free trade across the 25 EU member states.

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