- Date 1 Sep 2011
In the case of the eco-vacuum, Cambridge Consultants made an initial human factors study of vacuum cleaner users and assessed the current market leading vacuums to determine the performance and use of current technology. From this ethnographic analysis and the innovation process, radical new concepts were generated which when integrated, considerably reduce the energy usage of the vacuum cleaner.
The first concept enables the eco-vacuum to automatically vary its power usage depending on the job being done. Whether using the floor head or the hose attachment, with this concept the user gets the power they need when they need it. Secondly, the eco-vacuum intelligently reduces the power usage when no cleaning is happening, for example when paused for moving furniture.
The layout for the internal parts for the vacuum was assessed and optimised for best airflow and maximum efficiency. Crucially, the environmental gains were achieved without impacting on consumer expectations of vacuum cleaners. The eco-vacuum delivers the same cleaning performance as a conventional cleaner, is similar in size and weight to standard models, meets all regulatory requirements, and comes in at a price point comparable to premium models.
“Ecovation, as demonstrated by the eco-vacuum, has the potential to make a significant step change in reducing the eco-impact of almost any product,” commented Edward Brunner, Principal Engineer, Cambridge Consultants. “This first concept design is not just an example of what vacuums of the future may look like, but how all consumer products of the future will be designed.
“Cambridge Consultants applied the Ecovation process to vacuum cleaners in order to highlight the environmental savings that could be made without losing performance. Vacuum cleaners are a useful example of a product where consumers associate high power with high performance and, as a result, vacuum cleaners have rarely been looked at as ‘eco-products’. Our eco-vacuum concept clearly shows that this should no longer be the case.”
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