A vacuum is a popular household product that will consume electricity during use and also bags and filters over time. This design doesn’t exactly lend itself to being “Green”, but over the last several years there have been some key advancements in technology that have made some modern vacuums just that. Specifically there are 3 key areas that the manufacturers have done a great job on improving which will help cut down on waste as well as lower energy consumption. These 3 areas are important but there is much more work to be done. Fortunately, all the major brands are constantly using technology to further this cause.
1. Longer Life Of The Higher End Vacuums
When looking for a new vacuum cleaner the first thing to consider is how many years it will last you. This not only has implications on your budget but also has a direct impact on the environment. When a new machine is built there are many different processes that it goes through. There are all the raw materials that need to be extracted from down in the earth, later to be molded into metal and plastic. There is also the electricity used in production, the cardboard used in packing, and the oil used in transporting.
When it comes to longevity in the cleaning industry you most certainly get what you pay for. A more expensive brand like Miele is designed to last 15 to 20 years on average. In fact Miele emphasizes sustainability in all of their products, testing them to survive 20 years of typical use. They back their cleaners up with a 5 year warranty and for good reason…they know how much quality has gone into each one that rolls off the assembly line. While the initial investment is higher than a cheaper (or throwaway) brand you will save money over the life of the machine. With an upfront cost of around $800 and an expected lifespan of 20 years, you are averaging about $40 per year.
Another big advantage to buying a longer lasting vacuum is you are keeping the landfills free from debris for those 20 years. Instead of replacing it every few years you are investing in one that will last decades. Anything we can do to reduce waste in our landfills is a good thing. Some of the negative impacts of excessive garbage today include damage by heavy equipment, small scavenging animals being killed, foul odor, pollution to the surrounding soil, and an abundance of methane gas. Less garbage will result in fewer future landfills.
2. No Wash, No Replace Filters
The early vacuum cleaner would use bags to collect the dirt, requiring the frequent purchase of replacements. Then came the generation of bagless machines which had a collection chamber for any debris that was sucked into the machine. This was a step in the right direction but there was still the problem of having filters to replace (or clean) on a regular basis. You would either create waste by throwing old filters in the garbage or use excessive water to remove any embedded dirt from the filters to keep them operating like new.
All of this has changed quite recently with the introduction of a cutting edge technology from a company known for it. The Dyson Cinetic upright uses unique technology with their Cinetic tips that oscillate at such a high rate of speed that the dust is separated from the air and cannot gather anywhere inside. There is no need for pre-motor filters so you don’t have to use water to wash them or replace them, for the life of the vacuum. And since all Dysons are bagless there are no bags to purchase as well. Once you purchase it you are only using the electricity required to power it.
3. Better Cleaning Ability Means Less Use
This goes back to the point made about higher end machines in bullet number 1 above. The best vacuum cleaner brands today are highly efficient, with HEPA filtration that will remove 99% of the smallest allergens down to 0.3 microns in size. This is not only good for the indoor environment but it also means that your home is much cleaner today than at any time in history. Vacuums have evolved into highly efficient, total household cleaning machines.
Since the average vacuum uses around 1,000 watts of electricity per hour, if used for one hour per week that would be approximately 52,000 watts per year. However if the vacuum cleaner was even half as efficient and required twice as long to clean your home, then the watts used would double to over 100,000. It’s easy to see that any future advancements in the efficiency of these machines will mean even less electricity being consumed.
In conclusion, there definitely are things to think about when buying a new vacuum cleaner. No longer should you just go down to your local shopping mall and buy the cheapest model you can find. If you look into the 3 points mentioned here and learn about the different companies that produce them, you will be able to strike a good balance between something that works within your budget while still being a great choice for the environment.