Labelling overview

Energy rating labels provide consumers with information on the energy efficiency of a product.

There are two main types of labels – comparison labels and endorsement labels.

Comparison labels

Comparison labels allow consumers to compare the energy consumption of similar products and factor lifetime running cost into their purchasing decision.

The Energy Rating Label and Zoned Energy Rating Label are mandatory comparison labels. 

Endorsement labels

Endorsement labels, such as the ENERGY STAR label, provide a ‘seal of approval’ to inform prospective purchasers that the product is highly energy efficient for its class. The ENERGY STAR label is not regulated by the Australian Government.

For information about labelling in New Zealand, visit the EECA website.

The Energy Rating Label


Six star and ten star versions of the Energy Rating Label for televisions.

Six star and ten star versions of the Energy Rating Label for televisions.

The Energy Rating Label shows the energy performance of particular appliances and equipment.  It allows consumers to understand how much a particular model will cost to run, and also how energy efficient it might be in comparison to similar models.

Why Does Energy Efficiency Matter?

Energy efficient appliances use less electricity to achieve the same level of performance to similar models with the same size or capacity.  The more energy efficient a model, the less energy it will use and the less it will cost you to run.

Why Label Appliances and Equipment?

We label these products so that the information is available at the point-of-sale.  This allows consumers to take into account how much an appliance will cost to run, when deciding which model to buy. 

The label is part of a government and industry initiative to encourage consumers to buy appliances and equipment which are more energy efficient.  As market demand for these products increase, manufacturers will be encouraged to produce more energy efficient models to meet this demand.

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

A partial image of the E3 Energy Rating Label Guide.

Guide: Energy Rating Label

A simple, easy-to-read guide that explains:

  • how to interpret the Energy Rating Label; and
  • how purchasing a more efficient appliance can save money on energy bills.

View guide

Which products need to be labelled

In Retail Stores

It is mandatory for the Energy Rating Label to be displayed on these products:

  • Air Conditioners (single phase, non-ducted)

  • Clothes washers

  • Clothes dryers

  • Dishwashers

  • Televisions

  • Refrigerators

  • Freezers

  • Computer Monitors

  • Swimming pool pumps.

    More information about regulated products


    Where these products are sold online, it is not mandatory to display the energy rating label.  However, consumers want this information so it makes good business sense for retailers to provide it, both online and in their ‘bricks and mortar’ stores.  We have developed a range of tools and resources  that make it simple for retailers to display energy rating information.

    More information about online labelling

    How to read the Energy Rating Label

    The label has two key pieces of information on it: the energy consumption figure and the star rating. The air conditioner label is different to most other appliances’ labels, though. For more information, see the Air Conditioners page.

    Important: To compare models using the Energy Rating Label, the models must be of a similar size or capacity.

    1  Energy Consumption Figure

    The Energy Rating Label provides an estimate of how much energy (in kilowatt-hours or kWh) the appliance will use over a year.  This is based on assumptions about 'average usage' and allows consumers to estimate how much it will cost them to run that appliance.

    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 (and efficiency) for some appliances.

    The Energy Rating Label on air conditioners is a little different.  The Zoned Energy Rating Label being introduced from 2019 divides Australia and New Zealand into three climate zones and provides annual energy consumption figures for heating and cooling for each of the zones. The old style energy rating label and does not contain an annual energy consumption figure. Instead, it provides a power input figure which shows how much energy it will use to produce the stated capacity output figure. The Energy Rating Calculator can be used to estimate annual energy use.

    Usage assumptions

    To calculate the energy consumption figure on the Energy Rating Label, the following usage assumptions have been used:

    • Televisions and Computer Monitors = 10 hours use plus 14 hours in standby per day    
    • Fridges and Freezers = in use 24 hours per day
    • Clothes Dryers = 1 full load per week
    • Dishwashers = 7 uses per week at the ‘normal’ setting
    • Clothes washers = 7 uses per week using a warm wash.

    Star Rating

    The more stars on the Energy Rating Label, the more energy efficient the appliance is.

    Efficient appliances use less electricity to achieve the same level of performance of similar models with the same size or capacity.

    The more energy efficient a model, the less energy it will use and the less it will cost you to run.

    What do the stars mean?

    The labels on televisions, computer monitors, refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, can show a maximum of ten stars. That is, the least efficient models have one star while the most efficient models can have up to ten stars.

    Where a model has 6 stars or less, it will be displayed on the label out of six stars, shown in half-star increments. Super-efficient models of 7 of 10 stars have the additional stars shown in a band above the regular six star label. There are no half star increments above 6 stars so products with 6-10 stars are shown in single star increments.

    How are 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 cooling efficiency is the amount of cooling capacity (output) per unit of energy it consumes (input). For a television, a model’s efficiency is related to its screen size. Algorithms allocate the lowest performing products one star performance in most instances and better performing products are awarded more stars.

    Detailed information on performance standards can be found on the product page for each 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.

    A continuous improvement in appliance performance over time has meant that many of the products meet the performance requirements for 4, 5 or 6 stars on their label.  The label design for all product categories has now been changed to incorporate up to ten stars rather than a maximum of six stars.  This introduced 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.

    Download our simple guide on how to read the Energy Rating Label.

    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 Energy Rating Label from the following list.

    To download, right click the image and select 'Save As'.

    Product 1-6 Star 7-10 Star
    An Energy Rating Label for dishwashers.
    Clothes dryers
    An Energy Rating Label for for clothes dryers.
    Clothes washers
    An Energy Rating Label for for clothes washers.
    Domestic refrigerators
    An Energy Rating Label for domestic fridges.
    Super Efficiency fridge and freezer sample energy rating label.
    Computer monitors
    An Energy Rating Label for computer monitors.
    An Energy Rating Label for televisions.
    Air conditioners
    An Energy Rating Label for air conditioners.


    Product  1-10 Star
     ZERL (Air Conditioners)
    A ZERL label for air conditioners.
    Swimming pool pumps
    6 Star Energy Rating Label (PNG) - Pool Pump

    Zoned Energy Rating Label

    Installed location can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency and performance of certain appliances (mainly space conditioners and water heaters), with contributing factors including air temperature, water temperature, frosting, humidity, cloud cover. For this reason, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Team (EEAT) has developed a zone-based energy efficiency labelling to be used for air conditioners in the first instance.


    The Zoned Energy Rating Label

    Improved information using the ZERL

    The Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL) provides enhanced information to consumers and advisors about product energy efficiency and other key performance attributes relevant to their location.  It allows for meaningful comparisons of energy efficiency, running costs and key performance attributes across technologies.

    What products will display the label?

    It is intended that a ZERL could apply to all water heating and space conditioning appliances, regardless of technology. While climate significantly influences the performance and energy efficiency of some of these products (particularly air conditioners, heat pump and solar water heaters) other products (i.e. electric and gas storage water heaters and gas space heaters) are not heavily affected. However some factors will still affect energy usage – for water heaters the inlet temperature will vary based on local climate, which in turn impacts performance and energy required to heat the water to the required temperature. In addition, climate and temperature influence the frequency these appliances are used – heating requirements in Darwin are very different to Dunedin!

    In order to enable consumers to make fair and informed product comparisons, the ZERL would apply to all water and space heating and cooling products. This will allow consumers to compare efficiency and energy usage across all appliances providing the same service (i.e. water heating or space conditioning) to make informed product decisions.

    What information will the label show?

    The ZERL will display key performance information (e.g. noise levels where applicable). It will display a consistent measure to allow for appropriate sizing of these appliance types. Finally, the ZERL will clearly identify products that are unsuited to particular climate conditions.

    Why is this new label needed?

    By providing this information, gains can occur from existing products being sold and promoted in regions where they will work more efficiently and/or effectively. The display of zone-based information will also provide an incentive to manufacturers to innovate and provide products that are targeted to particular climate conditions that currently cannot be clearly indicated from the current Energy Rating Label.

    A zoned energy rating label provides consumers, advisors and manufacturers with greater opportunities to save energy, save on running costs and reduce emissions through meaningful comparisons of information relevant to their location and circumstances.

    International progress with zoned labels

    The European Union introduced a new label for air conditioners in January 2013 that displays energy efficiency and performance information for three climate zones.

    They have since adopted a similar labelling scheme for space heaters and water heaters which was implemented in September 2015.

    The European label allows direct comparisons between energy use of electric and gas operated appliances, as well as other key product information. It provides an energy rating (equivalent to the Australian and New Zealand star rating), annual energy consumption and coefficient of performance figure for a cold zone, a moderate zone and a warm zone.

    In the United States, a new air conditioner label was introduced in January 2015 that displays a map with separate climate zones. Energy Star in the US and in Canada also operates a climate based rating label for windows.

    Australia/New Zealand progress


    The development of an Australian and New Zealand zoned label has involved extensive design and research stages. Label design options were drafted and tested in a range of locations across Australia and New Zealand. This work has examined the best way to display the climate information that will be meaningful to both consumers and the range of advisers who supply or recommend these types of products.

    Following several rounds of qualitative and quantitative testing that involved appliance installers, retailers and consumers, a single draft zoned design was selected and has since been agreed to by the E3 Committee. The reports from these tests are available below.

    Map Development For Air Conditioners And Heat Pump Water Heaters

    A methodology to establish the climate zones that will be displayed on the label for air conditioners and heat pump water heaters has been developed. This research examined a range of climatic data and conditions, balanced with population data, to determine the best distribution of climate zones.

    This research has separated Australia and New Zealand into three climate zones, broadly a hot/humid, a cold and a mixed zone. These separations will allow consumers and advisors to access information more relevant to their own circumstances than the current label allows.

    Map development for solar water heaters

    Additional research is underway to examine conditions that affect the performance of solar water heaters, such as solar radiation and cloud cover. It is expected to determine the allocation of Australian and New Zealand locations into three zones, similar to the air conditioner research.

    News and Updates

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    Energy Rating Calculator

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

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