What is the Energy Rating Label?

The Energy Rating Label, or ERL, is a mandatory comparative energy label that provides consumers with product energy performance information at point-of-sale on a range of appliances. Attached to each appliance, the ERL allows comparison between similar appliance models through a star rating of between one and ten stars (the greater the number of stars, the higher the efficiency) and the annual energy consumption.

The ERL is known as a comparative label as the star rating and energy use allow consumers to compare appliance models of a similar size and capacity and choose the most efficient model that suits their needs.

Energy rating labelling often works hand-in-hand with Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). MEPS establish minimum level of energy performance that products must meet or exceed before they can be sold to consumers. It improves the average efficiency of products available on the market by raising the performance of the least efficient products.

The Energy Rating Label Guide

View our simple guide to using the Energy Rating Label to choose energy efficient appliances: The Energy Rating Label Guide.

What appliances must have an Energy Rating Label?

A range of registered appliances are required to display an Energy Rating Label (ERL) in Australia and New Zealand under the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act 2012.

The following appliances must display an ERL at the point-of-sale:

  • Air Conditioners
  • Clothes Dryers
  • Clothes Washers
  • Computer Monitors
  • Dishwashers
  • Freezers
  • Refrigerators
  • Televisions

What information is on the Energy Rating Label?

The ERL provides the following information:

  • An energy efficiency star rating of between one and ten stars, increasing in half-star increments up to 6 stars and full stars thereafter up to 10 stars for certain super-efficient appliances

The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance. Efficient appliances use less electricity to achieve the same level of performance of similar models with the same size and capacity. Appliances that are labelled up to 6 stars are considered ‘efficient’ while those above 6 stars are defined as ‘super-efficient’.

  • The energy use of the appliance in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year when tested to the relevant standard.

The conditions of tests in the relevant standards replicate actual use as closely as possible. However, actual energy consumption will depend on how an appliance is used and how often it is used. Factors like climate can also have a big influence on energy consumption.

  • The appliance manufacturer and model information.
  • The appliance’s relevant test standard

Sample Energy Rating Labels

Samples of the Energy Rating Label are available for download as a resource for your school or research projects and publications. Select the product that you would like to obtain an Energy Rating Label for from the following list. To download, right click the image and select “Save As”.

The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program has also developed an Energy Rating Icon and Application Program Interface (API) to make it easier for retailers to display information about appliance energy efficiency.

If you require any further information about the use of the Energy Rating Label artwork in your publications, please contact energyrating@industry.gov.au.

Why energy rating labelling?

Improving product energy efficiency has significant environmental and economic benefits and energy rating labelling is one of the mechanisms that can help achieve this. Because labelling gives product energy performance information at point-of-sale, it can increase consumer awareness and demand for energy efficient appliances, and also encourage manufacturers to respond to that market demand.

Energy rating labels give consumers the objective information they need to factor energy efficiency into their product purchasing decisions – information that is often not declared voluntarily by manufacturers. Manufacturers of products covered by the labelling programme are required to supply and declare energy data as specified under the relevant Australia/New Zealand Standard, which then appears on the product’s label.

The aim of the energy rating labelling program is to:

  • Encourage consumers to select the appliance that uses the least energy and which meets their energy service needs.
  • Enable consumers to understand the approximate running costs of an appliance before buying and to minimise the total life cycle cost of the appliance where possible [Energy Use in the Australian Residential Sector 1986 – 2020 – Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2008].
  • Provide incentives for manufacturers and importers to improve the energy efficiency of the products they supply to the market.

Energy Rating Label History

Energy rating labelling for major appliances in Australia was first proposed in the late 1970s by the state governments in New South Wales and Victoria. When raised with the appliance industry in 1982, there was considerable resistance on two grounds:

  • Any program should be uniform nationally rather than risk different state approaches
  • It should be voluntary rather than mandatory

Although New South Wales and Victoria commenced mandatory labelling in the 1986, it was not until 1992 that a mandatory national labelling scheme was finally agreed, and legislation in the last state and territory was not passed until 2000. National Greenhouse and Minimum Standards (GEMS) legislation, replaced state regulations in Australia from 1 October 2012.

New Zealand introduced regulations for energy labelling in 2002 and entered into a joint program with Australia in 2005.

Australia has one of the oldest energy rating labelling programs in existence. Only the Canadian (1978) and the United States (1979/1980) schemes pre-date the Australian system.

Developments in appliance labelling in Australia and New Zealand

Found on some 7 million appliances sold each year, the Energy Rating Label was originally designed for consumers as a two dimensional sticker; to be displayed on the appliance in a showroom or on the shop floor.  The rise in popularity of on-line retailing however has changed the way consumers research products before deciding how and where to buy—many consumers no longer get to see the physical label in-store.

Energy Rating Label Review

From August 2013, the E3 Committee conducted a review of the Energy Rating Label. The review aimed to examine the ongoing effectiveness of the ERL and opportunities to enhance the ERL. A report was completed in March 2014 and found that the ERL continues to be an effective communication tool:

  • Ninety-seven per cent of consumers recognize the ERL
  • Seventy-two per cent of consumers correctly interpret an increase in the star rating as an increase in an appliance’s energy efficiency
  • Over sixty-two per cent of consumers use the ERL to research an appliance’s energy use or energy consumption
  • Eighty per cent of consumers compare the energy consumption information on the ERL with similar appliances when making their purchasing decision