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, 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.

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 televisions and refrigerators).

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.

How are the star ratings calculated?

The star rating of an appliance is determined from the energy consumption and size of the product. If you think of an air conditioner, for example, a model’s efficiency is the amount of cooling capacity (output) per unit of energy it consumes (input). Algorithms allocate the lowest performing products one star performance in most instances and better performing products are awarded more stars. Detailed information can be found on the product page for that appliance.

The appliance’s relevant test standard, for example Australian and New Zealand Standards, define these algorithms and 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.

The Energy Rating Label has been in existence for over 25 years, and, as manufacturers work hard to improve appliance efficiency, continuous improvements in appliance performance has caused star ratings to cluster at the top of the range. Changing the label design was a way of showing the introduction of a tougher standard for calculating star ratings which prevents clustering and encourages manufacturers to keep improving the energy efficiency of appliances. The star ratings of all appliances are reviewed from time to time and the star rating formulae are changed as appliance efficiency improves.

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