The Energy Rating Label was first introduced in 1986 in NSW and Victoria. It is now mandatory in all Australian states and territories for televisions, fridges and freezers, washers and dryers, dishwashers and air-conditioners to carry the label when they are offered for sale.
The Energy Rating Labeling Scheme assists consumers with assessing the energy efficiency of household appliances at the point of purchase. It enables the consumer to determine the product that best suits their needs and budget not only on the initial cost but the cost to use the appliance also.
When offered for sale, these appliances must display a label that shows the star rating and other useful information about energy consumption. The label gives the appliances a star rating between one and ten stars. The greater the number of stars the higher the efficiency. Not only do the star-ratings allow consumers to compare the energy efficiency between the appliances, it also provides an incentive for manufacturers to improve the energy performance of their products.
The Energy Rating Label has two main features that provide consumers with the following information:
- The star rating gives a comparative assessment of the model’s energy efficiency.
- The comparative energy consumption (usually kilowatt hours/year) provides an estimate of the annual energy consumption of the appliance based on the typical use of the appliance in the home. Air Conditioners show the power consumption of the appliance (i.e. kW or kWh/hour).
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.
New homes and additions to existing homes can also be star-rated to determine their efficiency using house rating software. The current 5 star standard required by the Building Code of Australia will increase to a minimum six star for all new homes from 1 May 2012.