[Slide: How does climate affect air conditioner performance and efficiency?]
How does climate affect air-conditioner performance and efficiency? The message on the map is really the core of why the new label was introduced - because air conditioner units perform differently in different conditions. While the installers in here might know [this], customers probably don't.
Looking at the zones one of the first things your customers might ask is “What does average mean?” We had a customer call us up and say “I live in southwest Queensland and where I live in Charleville it gets ridiculously hot, it's so much hotter than Brisbane; why are we in an Average zone and Brisbane is in a Hot zone? That doesn't make sense!” The thing is that for air conditioners it's not just about how hot it is, because it does get bloody hot in southwest Queensland, but it's also about how cold it gets. The key thing is that when it gets below five and a half degrees outside your air conditioner refrigeration coils [can] start to ice up and when that happens and the unit needs to run a defrost cycle and if your unit has not been optimized to run a decent defrost cycle the unit can ice up completely and stop working. So when you have icing and frosting conditions you need to have a unit that can deal with it; so it is not just about how hot it is it is also about how cold.
In cold climates customers should focus on the heating stats because heating is the function they are going to use more. In hot and humid climates customers should focus more on the cooling stars.
[Slide: Old label vs new label: What’s changed and why?]
The old label versus the new label: what's changed and why? I have touched on a couple of these things already. On the left you have got the old label. The capacity and the power are both in kilowatts but it's got no clear indication of annual power use and one of the important things is that it implies exactly the same performance across the entirety of Australia and New Zealand; it doesn't take into account any of the climatic differences.
The new label capacity is still in kilowatts so the cooling capacity and the heating capacity are still comparable between the old label and the new label. It shows the capacity at two degree. It shows the zoned rating, showing different performance in different conditions. It includes noise rating for the first time.
A couple of things to note. You can't have both labels on a unit at the same time. It is out there either registered to the 2013 determination and they have the old label, or they are under the 2019 determination and they can have the new label.
You can't directly compare the stars between the old label and the new label because under the old label the star rating is calculated based on one performance test at maximum capacity and so it's how well it performs at that test whereas for the new rating label there are tests performed at a number of temperature set points as well as a number of capacities - full capacity, half capacity, minimum capacity and if it's got an overcapacity unit it can be tested at that as well.
[Slide: Air conditioner sizing]
Air conditioner sizing. Again for some people in the room you will already completely understand this but just making sure that everyone's on the same page. The most important thing for a customer is to get the right size unit for their space The “size” we're talking about is the heating and cooling capacity of the unit, not how physically big it is on the wall. If a unit is too small it's going to be very inefficient, the air conditioner will be running as hard as it can, it is going to be running at full power the whole time and it may not actually heat or cool the room effectively because it is too small for the space. If it is a little too big that is generally just about right and the unit will work efficiently. If it is way too big the unit is more expensive than what the customer needs and what happens is the unit will just ramp on it will hit its set point then it will ramp down and it will be ramping on and off all the time - that's really inefficient, it's never running at its sweet spot so it becomes it becomes very inefficient and it's not what the customer needs.
When you are sizing a unit for install, I'm sure you know this very well, there's a bunch of factors that you need to need to look at. Look at the floor space. For example we've got a three-bedroom house on the left here and customers are going “Oh I want an air conditioner to do my open-plan kitchen diner lounge area.” So I've looked at my floor space but then you also need to look at what insulation you have, what's your external wall material, how many windows you have, what shading you have, what orientation, there are a couple of other factors. So all of these things combined will tell you what size unit you need for the space and the most important thing here is that correct sizing ensures that the customer will remain comfortable and doesn't use more electricity than necessary and that's really the whole point of the energy rating label for conditioners.
Installation. Use a licensed installer, in fact you have to it's the law. Retailers should ensure that they advise customers to use a licensed technician to install and service their air conditioner. Installers must hold a refrigerant handling license which is issued by the Australian Refrigeration Council. There's information about this program on the look-for-the-tick website.
Note portable air conditioner units can be installed by customers but they should be serviced by someone who holds a refrigerant handling license.
In the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Program presentation they'll talk more about licenses and why people need specific things going forward.
[Slide: Supply via installers]
Supply via installers. Many consumers rely on the installers to select the most appropriate air conditioner for their circumstances. In these situations the customer might not ever actually see a label, particularly if you're an installer who doesn't have a shop front. Sometimes the consumers may jump online, do their own research and some of them will come away more confused and they're generally looking to you as installers to provide them the right information about what's right for them so that's like, the right size, maybe comparing between some models and giving them the right information. This is where we believe the ZERL [Zoned Energy Rating Label] will be a great tool to help installers make it easier for the consumer to understand and guide the customers to the most appropriate choice for their circumstances.
The ZERL with its three climate zones helps people understand how for example the cooling function is more important than the heating function when you're talking about installations in Darwin or Cairns, whereas here in Melbourne you're probably looking at more heating hours than you would up north. Similarly the two-degree heating capacity is more relevant for places like Canberra where it does get really cold.