26 Sep 2018 AEST
24 Oct 2018 AEDT


In November 2017, the COAG Energy Council agreed to implement the recommendations contained in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement – Household Refrigerators and Freezers. Accordingly, implementation is underway to introduce tighter minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and adopt the international test standard for household refrigerators and freezers. The proposed changes are designed to reduce household energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and also reduce the regulatory burden on industry by adopting an international test standard used by many of our major trading partners.

In Australia, the energy efficiency of household refrigerators and freezers is regulated through the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Household Refrigerating Appliances) Determination 2012 under the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Act 2012. It is proposed to revoke that determination and introduce the changes detailed below in a replacement determination. An exposure draft of the proposed replacement determination has been prepared and stakeholder comments are being sought.

In New Zealand, the relevant legislation is the Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002 (the New Zealand Regulations). The New Zealand Government is proposing to adopt changes to its Regulations to align with the replacement Determination rather than create local standards.

The principle changes from the current requirements are:

  • Strengthen MEPS to remove less efficient household refrigerators and freezers from the market, reducing household energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed new MEPS levels would align Australia’s and New Zealand’s levels with those adopted by the United States of America on 15 September 2014.
  • Adoption of a suite of international test standards AS/NZS IEC 62552.1:2018, Parts 1-3. This will lead to more accurate measurement of appliances’ energy performance and enable the energy rating label to better reflect real-life energy consumption of appliances in homes. Referencing an internationally-recognised test standard will remove unnecessary regulatory burden on suppliers.

Changes to some product classes not covered by the Determination are also proposed:

  • Appliances designed for exclusive use in vehicles: It is proposed to widen the exclusion to products with a volume less than 80 litres (increasing from the current 60 litres). This adjustment aligns with the proposed change volume limit for applicable to upright portables noted below.
  • Portable products: Currently, an exclusion applies to all portable products with a total volume of less than 30 litres. This will be changed to:
    • Chest configuration: The draft Determination proposes this exclusion be widened to apply to all chest configuration portables, regardless of volume. This recognises that larger portable products with a chest configuration are widely used in the recreational sector, and less likely to be used in household applications because their configuration does not provide easy access to stored foodstuffs.
    • Upright configuration: It is proposed that this exclusion be widened to products with a total volume of less than 80 litres. The configuration of larger upright portables is identical to smaller refrigerating appliances designed exclusively for use in households that need to meet MEPS, energy labelling and other GEMS requirements. This class of larger portables that can be connected to mains supply remain covered because they are more likely to be used in household applications and therefore they also continue to need to meet MEPS and other requirements.

      The definition of portable products has also been more clearly articulated.

  • The definition of a wine storage appliance (previously called a wine storage cabinet) has been revised to more closely align it with the definition used in the international standard.

    Other proposed changes include:

  • Drafting changes to clearly specify labelling requirements including:
    • when an energy rating label needs to be displayed; and
    • transitional requirements for labelling when the Determination comes into effect, and if the new determination were to be replaced in future.
  • Inclusion of details concerning ‘family of models’ parameters–these are currently specified in the standard whereas they will be specified in the replacement Determination.

    The exposure draft refers to the AS/NZS 4474:201z standard. This is a reference to a draft standard that is currently being revised via a Standards Australia process. It is anticipated that this standard will be published by late 2018.

    Key document

    Exposure Draft - Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Household Refrigerating Appliances) Determination 2018


    The closing date for written submissions is 5pm AEDT 24 October 2018. Submissions should include ‘Household Refrigeration Determination’ in the subject line and be sent via email to:

    Australia: energyrating@environment.gov.au

    New Zealand: regs@eeca.govt.nz

    Proposed Outcomes

    It is proposed that the requirements of the replacement Determination will come into force in Australia two years after it is registered. It is anticipated that the replacement Determination will become effective by 1 January 2021.