Understanding Energy Ratings

The Energy Label

The Energy Rating label enables consumers to compare the energy efficiency of domestic appliances on a fair and equitable basis. It also provides incentive for manufacturers to improve the energy performance of appliances.

The Energy Rating Label was first introduced in 1986 in NSW and Victoria. It is now mandatory in all states and territories for refrigerators, freezer, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and air-conditioners (single phase only) to carry the label when they are offered for sale. Three phase airconditioners may carry an energy label if the suppliers chooses to apply for one.

The Energy Rating Label has two main features:

The Star Rating of an appliance is determined from the energy consumption and size of the product. These values are measured under Australian Standards which define test procedures for measuring energy consumption and minimum energy performance criteria. Appliances must meet these criteria before they can be granted an Energy Rating Label.

Energy rating labels

Facts and fiction about the label

Fiction: The energy label is a government seal of approval.

Fact: The energy label is a source of consumer information about the energy consumption of major electrical household appliances - all of the specified appliances types must carry a label. Although the scheme is operated by governments and appliances must meet certain minimum performance standards, the scheme does not provide any guarantee of appliance quality or durability.

Fiction: The energy label is a seal of energy efficiency.

Fact: The energy label is a tool to help consumers compare appliances with similar characteristics on the basis of energy consumption. Good and poor efficiency ratings are shown. All products carry an energy label.

Fiction: The energy label shows the actual amount of energy an appliance will consume once installed in a home.

Fact: The energy label is an estimate of the energy an appliance will consume in kilowatt-hours (kWh) under standard conditions. The conditions of tests in Australian Standards try to replicate actual use as closely as possible. However, actual energy consumption will depend on how an appliance is used and often it is used. Factors like climate can also have a big influence.

Fiction: The energy label is a safety label.

Fact: The energy label is a graphic representation of an appliance's energy efficiency relative to similar models. Safety requirements are defined under different regulations and reference separate Australian Standards.

Fiction: The energy label is a promotional rating determined by manufacturers.

Fact: The energy label is a source of information about each product that is measured by the manufacturer using standard testing procedures. All labels are registered under Government regulations and information provided is supported by detailed test reports. The program is jointly operated by governments, consumer groups and manufacturers.

Fact: The energy label is the only information label that can help consumers compare appliances and make an energy-wise choice.

* Information gathered from Energy Rating Australia http://www.energyrating.gov.au/. (Accessed September 26, 2008)

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