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Breaking barriers: APPLiA's campaign to bring efficient appliances in every home

Campaigns 19 Mar 2024

1 in 10 Europeans cannot properly warm their homes in the winter. 1 in 5 cannot properly cool their home in the summer. Many of them use energy-consuming appliances which contribute to increase energy bills, further aggravating financial problems. Efficient appliances are powerful, proven mitigation solutions. However, today there are still profound inequities in accessing these sustainable technologies, leaving millions of people vulnerable. Without urgent action, inequitable gaps in appliance access will persist, undermining a just energy transition.  

With this in mind, APPLiA launched an industry-wide campaign to raise awareness about the issue of energy poverty in Europe and the mitigation potential of energy efficient appliances to counter it and enable the transition to a climate neutral Europe. 

Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director General: "Adapting to a warming world requires appliances. However, many households do not have access to the appliances they need because they cannot afford them. Expanding access to efficient appliances must be an essential component of any climate-resilient development approach. To get there, we urge next EU leaders to support the development of the necessary infrastructure and incentives to favour the uptake of modern, sustainable technologies for all."

Until low-income households will not be able to afford advanced, sustainable appliances, society will not become climate neutral.  

Today, 42% of Europeans do not own a dishwasher. While it may be a deliberate choice for some households not to own one, for many others instead, the investment at front is too high to afford. In both cases, this comes with significant losses in terms of water and energy savings with an impact on the wallet and the environment. If all Europeans would own a dishwasher, it would save 83% of water and 61% of energy, compared to washing dishes by hand. This is the equivalent of 2,5 million Olympic swimming pools and twice the electricity consumption of Portugal. 

Appliance efficiency offers a proven, cost-effective means of reducing emissions, improving resilience, and catalysing sustainable development. Improved efficiency can lead to greater climate resilience by enhancing affordability, thereby bringing appliances within reach of more people. 

On its end, industry has mobilised to create new opportunities for the most vulnerable. Social rental initiatives such as the Papillon Project by APPLiA member BSH - Home Appliances and social enterprise Saamo are an example of the commitment of the sector to make sustainable technologies accessible to all while fostering circularity. To scale these efforts, Europe needs to democratise access to all appliances that can reduce and optimise energy consumption in real time, as well as the most performing classes of products according to the European Energy Labelling and the Energy Efficiency legislations. 

Long-lasting social support measures should enable low-income households to durably use less energy, by transitioning to more energy-efficient appliances. However, due to different budgetary capacities, social policies vary a lot across Member States which calls for the establishment of a common ground at EU-level. 

Our recommendations to the next EU leaders:
  1. An EU list of common criteria to define which energy-efficient appliances should be made affordable to all households, using the EU Energy Label as a guiding tool.
  2. An EU screening of existing social support measures across Member States that facilitate access to energy-efficient technologies, with particular attention to tax breaks, conditional purchasing subsidies for consumers and social allowances, among others.
  3. Periodic coordination between the European Commission and the Member States on the deployment and effectiveness of such measures.
  4. EU funding contribution for the energy transition of households.
  5. A European framework of consumer incentives for the energy transition through rewards on the energy consumption bill and fine-tuning of existing environmental taxes and subsidies.
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