Asset Publisher Asset Publisher

Energy-efficient vacuum– Full cleaning power at 750 watts

Improved flow characteristics cut energy consumption by 40%

The challenge of sustainability:

Responsibility for people and the environment has been a key element of Kärcher's corporate culture ever since the company was founded. Alfred Kärcher and his wife Irene were guided by the realisation that sustained economic success is only possible if social concerns are taken into account. In addition to economic and social aspects, a third pillar of sustainable corporate development – environmental protection – has been a high priority for Kärcher since the 1970s. That is why Kärcher systematically implements measures to protect the environment at its production facilities around the globe, thereby keeping the consumption of resources and the burden on humans and nature as low as possible. Thus CO2 emissions have remained constant despite higher production volumes. This is due partly to a woodchip burning plant at the Oberes Bühlertal site, which saves approximately 1,000,000 kg of CO2 annually. In addition, two photovoltaic plants at the Winnenden factory save a further 20,000 kg of CO2 annually. In 1996, the environmental management system at the Winnenden factory became the first in the sector to be certified as complying with the global ISO 14001 standard. All Kärcher locations in Europe and the factories in Brazil and China now comply with this norm. In 2011, Kärcher joined the United Nations Global Compact network, undertaking voluntarily to comply with global social and ecological rules. Kärcher's focus on sustainability is also reflected in its product development. Machines in the eco!ogic series for private users have especially good environmental properties. In addition, the company awards its eco!efficiency label to machines and solutions that have convincingly high efficiency, user-friendliness and durability.

The starting situation:

When deciding which vacuum to buy, customers are heavily influenced by technical specifications. They often attach great importance to a high-wattage motor. This is not crucial, however. More important is the cleaning power that the machine generates. If the vacuum is properly designed, a much lower wattage is sufficient to achieve an outstanding cleaning performance. A 750-watt rating is perfectly adequate for vacuuming household dust from fitted carpets or smooth floor coverings such as those found in offices or hotels. Greater suction power improves the cleaning result only very slightly. In addition, it may increase the shear force on carpets with a deeper pile, requiring the opening of air vents, which ultimately impairs performance. A further advantage of the lower motor rating is that it can reduce noise pollution considerably, which benefits both the cleaning personnel and the environment. The machine can be used even in noise-sensitive environments such as hotels and hospitals, and when premises are open to the public.

The solution:

Along similar lines to the eco!ogic products that are designed for private users, the eco!efficiency label informs professional users about a product's especially sustainable features. They could be, for example, reduced energy consumption in operation with no reduction in cleaning performance. User friendliness, lower water consumption and noise emissions also play an important part, along with efficient use of detergents and optimisation of products in terms of durability, recyclability and reparability, along with a reliable supply of spare parts. Machines with the eco!efficiency label are designed to raise customers' awareness of eco-friendly characteristics in the long term and to make it clear to them that in most cases lower energy, water or detergent consumption can achieve a very good cleaning result. An example is the KärcherT 12/1 eco!efficiency vacuum cleaner, in the development of which great emphasis was placed on energy efficiency. It consumes 40% less energy than machines with a comparable cleaning performance and is very quiet in operation at just 56 dB(A).

The enduring strengths ofthe T 12/1 eco!efficiency model:

The especially energy-efficient T 12/1 eco!efficiency dry vacuum runs on just 750 watts. Due to improved flow characteristics, it consumes 40% less energy than machines with comparable cleaning power, to the benefit of the environment and the electricity bill. Another major advantage is its low noise level. Emitting just 56 dB(A), the new Kärcher vacuum is ideal for use in noise-sensitive areas and for cleaning during public opening hours. In selecting materials for the T 12/1 eco!efficiency, emphasis was placed on high quality – and hence durability – and on recyclability.
The environmental features of the T 12/1 eco!efficiency have already won it several awards. At the ISSA Interclean 2011 exhibition in Warsaw the vacuum won a Golden Broom award for innovation. At the 2011 trade fair Pulire in Italy, it won the Clean Green Afidamp Award, a prize that is awarded annually by Afidamp FAB, the association of Italian manufacturers of professional cleaning solutions, to products or services that epitomise sustainability and environmental protection.  

The inventors:

The Kärcher team

The company in brief:

Name: Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG
Head office: Winnenden, Germany
Founded in: 1935
Employees: 8,700
Solutions: Cleaning Technology, Water Treatment
Internationalism: 80 subsidiaries in 54 countries; represented in nearly every country in the world