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The Energy Rating Label

The Energy Rating Label has been around for over 30 years, so you – as a consumer – can compare the energy efficiency and running costs of appliances before you buy. The star rating on the label helps you compare energy efficiency – in relation to other models – while the energy consumption figure (kWh) in the red box shows you how much electricity the product actually uses.

The label lets you look beyond the price tag in the shop. You can use it to choose a product that is more energy efficient and uses less electricity… saving money and reducing CO2 emissions in the long-run. Not using the label – or not using it properly – when you shop could be a costly mistake for both you and the environment, so get the energy efficiency facts first and make a decision you won’t regret.

Explore this page to learn about energy efficiency and why it matters to you, as well as the four steps to using the Energy Rating Label correctly to choose a product that will save energy, reduce emissions – and your electricity bills in the long run.

  • Step 1: Choose the right capacity or size appliance for your needs
  • Step 2: Compare star ratings
  • Step 3: Compare energy consumption
  • Step 4: Calculate running costs

Step 1: Choose the right capacity or size appliance for your needs

Choose the capacity (or size) of the product before you use the star rating to compare products. The stars on the Energy Rating Label are calculated using the capacity of the product – so more stars means more efficient, when compared to products of the same size.

More stars means more efficient – but only when compared to products of the same size.

Why do products have to be the same size?

Comparing the star rating on products of the same size or capacity means you can be confident you’re comparing apples-with-apples – and making an informed choice. However, if you accidently use the star rating to compare products that are not the same size, you could end up making a decision to buy a product that will cost you more to run and be responsible for more emissions.

For example, if you’re looking to buy an air conditioner, washing machine, dryer or fridge the physical size on the outside of many models looks very similar – however the capacity could be very different. If you don’t check the capacity and just look at the star rating on the Energy Rating Label – and pick the one with the most stars – you could end up paying hundreds more on electricity bills for years to come.

Step 2: Compare energy efficiency with the star rating

So you’ve chosen the size or capacity product that works for you – now you can consider the star rating on each model of that size on your shortlist.

The star rating is about energy efficiency, when compared to models of the same size or capacity – which is why you always need to choose capacity first. More stars means more efficient – so if you want to save energy, emissions and money in the long run – choose the model that suits your needs and has the most stars.

On some products, even just one star difference on the Energy Rating Label could save – or cost – you hundreds of dollars in running costs over the coming years. It really pays to consider this before making your decision on which one to buy – and to understand how to calculate your running costs.

The star rating – an important product feature!

Think of energy efficiency and the star rating on the Energy Rating Label as another feature to consider. The same way you compare and consider features such as size, colour, looks and brand – you should consider energy efficiency. The difference is, the star rating you choose now can make a real difference to the environment and your electricity bills for years to come. You’ll be reminded of your purchasing decision each time another bill comes in

Step 3: Compare energy consumption (kWh)

Now that you’ve thought about energy efficiency using the star rating, it’s time to think about each model’s actual energy consumption – because this tells you how much it will cost you to run.

You’ll find the energy consumption of each product in the red box on its Energy Rating Label. Energy consumption is shown in kWh or kilowatts – the measure of one unit of electricity – over a year. So the energy consumption figure tells you how much electricity this product will use in a year (based on standard usage assumptions). 

No matter what capacity, brand or features a model has – a lower number in the red box means the model uses less electricity. Less electricity means reduced emissions – and lower bills!

The lower the energy consumption figure, the less electricity it uses to do the job – which means less emissions and lower electricity bills.

Another important reason to consider the energy consumption figure is that you can use it to work out how much each model will cost you to run – in dollars. And, it’s quick and easy to do.

Step 4: Calculate your running costs

Now that you know how much energy, or units of electricity (kWh), a product will use, converting that into dollars will show you how much you will pay to run it. 

The difference in running costs between various models can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars – per year! Considering you probably aren’t planning to get rid of your new appliance for a while, your decision today could end up saving – or costing – you a lot of money on electricity bills for many years to come.

The easiest– and most accurate – way to calculate running costs is to use the online Energy Rating Calculator or download the free app (iTunes | Google Play).

Alternatively, a rough way to estimate a model’s running costs before you buy is to simply divide the energy consumption figure by 4. Or if you know your local electricity tariff (per kWh) then divide the energy consumption figure by that.

Lifetime cost

Most of us don’t fork out for a new appliance with a plan to replace it in just a year or two. In fact, most people hold on to major appliances for 10 years or more. When you think of your next purchase as a long-term decision, it is important to look beyond the price tag and work out at how much each model really costs you to own – the lifetime cost.

The lifetime cost is the upfront purchase price plus 10 years of running costs. The quickest way to work this out is to use the online Energy Rating Calculator or download the free app (iTunes | Google Play).

Calculate you running costs

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Use the online calculator

Compare the energy efficiency of fridges, televisions and computer monitors, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioners.

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Download the Energy Rating app

Use the free Energy Rating app to calculate and compare the energy efficiency and running costs of similar products – before you buy.