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Turn your home into an 'eco haven'

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-12 07:56

Turn your home into an 'eco haven'

A consumer browses at refrigerators at a Haier store in Qingdao, Shandong province. [Photo by Yu Fangping/For China Daily]

Energy-efficient home appliances have become an industry trend as consumers pursue greener lifestyles.

Innovation has triggered research and development into more environmentally-friendly air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and water heaters, as well as a host of other household products.

"Home appliance manufacturers have had to adjust to this new philosophy," said Liang Zhenpeng, an independent consumer electronics analyst. "This means an increase in R&D investment of energy-saving, low-carbon emission products.

"Only by doing this can they succeed against fierce competition," he added.

China's leading manufacturers such as Haier Group Corp have quickly picked up on this consumer craze.

The multinational electronics and home appliance giant has launched various energy-saving air conditioners.

Many are equipped with smart sensors, which detect body movements and temperature, and then adjust the settings automatically.

Haier's R290 "intelligent air conditioner" uses low-carbon R290 refrigerant fluid, which cuts down on dangerous gases that can destroy the ozone layer.

Already the company's Maglev air-conditioning system is used in government public buildings, commercial real estate developments, hotels and hospitals.

These units can substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions and energy costs, data released by Haier showed.

"The technologies used in these air conditioning units have the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption and improve air quality," said Liang Haishan, chief executive of Haier.

"We are looking forward to advancing our eco-innovation efforts to an even greater level," Liang added.

Data from Euromonitor, the global market research company based in London, showed Haier is the number one brand for air conditioners in the world with a market share of 23.6 percent in terms of sales last year.

Apart from air conditioners, Haier has also rolled out energy-saving refrigerators, washing machines and water heaters.

The group's latest refrigerators need 40 percent less electricity, while one of its water heater designs won an energy-saving award from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

In April, Haier and e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd linked up to launch a new project to look into a "home appliance green ecosystem".

By virtue of Haier's social networking platform, the company will collect data from customers about freezing and storing frozen foods.

It will then design high-tech refrigerators, which will utilize environmentally-friendly materials and fluorine-free refrigerant fluid.

Fiancial figures in the first quarter showed that Haier's operating income was 37.7 billion yuan ($5.54 billion), an increase of 69.7 percent compared to the same period in 2016. Net profit increased to 1.46 billion yuan during the same time frame.

The National Bureau of Statistics released data that showed domestic home appliance manufacturers reported profits of 119.69 billion yuan last year, a 20.4 percent increase compared to 2015.

Guangdong Midea Group, for example, has been working with upstream suppliers, such as leading steel material manufacturers, HBIS Group Chengsteel Co, to promote an array of "greener" products.

"We have sold 12 million sets of ECO series air conditioners, which will save more than 1.2 billion kwH (killowatt-hour) power consumption each year," said Wu Wenxin, president at Midea's air conditioning production department.

"This will help reduce the equivalent of 500,000 metric tons of coal, and could reduce carbon emissions by 1.21 million tons," he added.

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