by Malcolm Curtis
Swisster | October 18, 2010 | 11: 25
The Swiss federal government is encouraging consumers to buy energy-efficient
coffee machines as part of a broader conservation campaign aimed at cutting
electrical and fuel use in the run up to Energyday on October 30. Retailers are
touting special deals on power stingy appliances, while several utilities are offering
grants of up to 250 francs for the purchase of java machines that consume the
It may sound like a modest start but the federal energy department is seriously encouraging consumers to use the most efficient machines possible for their daily dose of java to cut power use. The department says automatic percolator and capsule machines rated A can use just a fraction of the electricity needed for lesser-rated machines.
They guzzle 25 percent less energy than B rated machines and 50 percent less than C- rated ones thanks to such features as automatic shut-off switches. The most efficient brands consume one watt or less or 0. 7 kilowatt-hours per month.
The government is accordingly encouraging consumers to use the A-rated machines as part of a public awareness campaign which offers a range of other energy savings tips through several guides in the run up to Energyday on October 30. Retail stores are participating in the campaign offering special deals on A-rated brands with rebates offered by some local utilities.
The Bern electricity provider EWB is offering a 200-franc grant for consumers who upgrade, while Zurich s EWZ is dispensing 100-franc bonuses. The energy department lists half a dozen other utilities with similar offers all of them in German-speaking Switzerland offering grants ranging from 100 to 250 francs.
The time to buy an energy-efficient coffee machine has never been so favorable, the department says in a 43-page brochure dedicated to energy conservation. More than 1.2 million copies of the brochures will be distributed to home owners across Switzerland this week.
It was only in October last year that the electronic appliance industry in Switzerland voluntarily agreed to introduce energy-efficiency stickers on coffee machine products. The national testing laboratory Electrosuisse has vetted more than 50 machines since then.
The energy department does not say how many of the machines fail to meet the A rating but only that other machines have difficulty finding buyers. While the focus is on coffee machines, the brochures touch on other household appliances also rated A to G for electricity consumption and the benefits of triple-glazed windows, good insulation, efficient heating systems and energy-efficient lighting.
The energy department is issuing 200,000 brochures with energy-saving ideas aimed at small and medium sized businesses, along with a special publication aimed at municipal cantonal and federal decision makers. The pitch to businesses highlights the opportunities for companies to not only help the environment but to save money over the long term on
items ranging from buildings and computers to heating lighting and transportation.
Ironically, although Switzerland has an A to E energy rating system for coffee machines, it does not currently have one for motor vehicles. The VCS association for transport and the environment does offer an environmental guide for small utility vehicles and minibuses up to 3.5 tons.
The government has set up an Energy day website that includes a bingo game offering a free coffee machine to winners every day this month. With versions in French, German and Italian (not yet available in English), the site provides a Google map with locations of Energyday activities to promote energy conservation around the country.