Will U.S. Appliances Go Green?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on August 29, 2008

I spent some time today checking out home appliances at the “white goods” pavilions at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. The main thing that struck me, other than the fact that European major appliances are a lot smaller than their U.S. counterparts, reflecting smaller living spaces,is that the top marketing point for nearly everything is low power consumption. For dishwashers and clothes washers, low water use is also a big selling point.

In Europe, and Germany in particular, green is hot. In the http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=15#U.S., there’s a lot of green rhetoric, but for the most part it is yet to manifest itself in major purchase decisions other than cars. Economics clearly play a role in the greening of Europe; electricity in Germany costs about 20 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, about three times the average U.S. price. But there is also a large political and ethical component to the passion for green products, and the willingness of consumers to pay more for less energy consumption.

Green consciousness is rising in the U.S., but even with rapid price increases, energy remains relatively cheap. I suspect it’s going to take regulatory action to push American to reduce their passion for energy consumption.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Reader Comments

John Cross

September 1, 2008 12:05 AM

The EPA has already made great strides, encouraging Americans to buy appliances with their Energy Star(tm) stickers. Even though most appliances only use about 30% less energy, it is harboring eco-responsibility among Americans, known globally for their wastefulness and bigger-is-better mindset. Anything that can help encourage American consumers to make smart, economical decisions about the simple things is going to help in the long run, despite the fact that we are still bounds behind Europe in energy conservation.

Steve Wildstrom

September 1, 2008 09:45 AM

@John Cross--While the Energy Star standards have helped, it is worth noting that European appliances are still far more efficient--and that in Europe, efficiency is a major marketing point, not an afterthought.

Post a comment

 

About

BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

Categories

 

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!