16 August 2019

On 15 August 2019, the replacement Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Household Refrigerating Appliances) Determination 2019 was registered and published.

There is a two-year transition period when suppliers can register household refrigerators and freezers (refrigerating appliances) in accordance with the existing 2012 Determination or the new 2019 Determination. From 15 August 2021, suppliers will only be permitted to register household refrigerators and freezers in accordance with the 2019 Determination.

Please note: the new changes only apply in Australia at this stage. New Zealand intends to align with Australian regulation as closely as possible to maintain alignment under E3 and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA). Although the New Zealand regulatory processes may result in a slightly later ‘in force’ date, voluntary registrations to the new requirements will be available in New Zealand from 1 September 2019 until the in force date applies.

The 2019 Determination makes changes to the regulatory requirements, including strengthening minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and aligning them with those adopted by the United States of America in September 2014. This change will mean that less efficient household refrigerators and freezers will no longer be able to be supplied in Australia, thereby reducing household energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Appliances will also need to be tested in accordance with the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS IEC 62552.3:2018 or according to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62552-3:2015 standard, which is identical to the AS/NZS adoption.

The Determination references AS/NZS 4474:2018, which specifies many of the technical parameters used in conjunction with AS/NZS IEC 62552.3:2018 to determine the energy efficiency, performance and energy labelling requirements for in-scope appliances. The requirements of the 2019 Determination that are detailed in AS/NZS 4474:2018 include conducting:

  • The energy consumption test at 32 degrees Celsius to determine MEPS compliance. The parameters used to determine new MEPS levels are specified in AS/NZS 4474:2018.
  • Energy consumption tests at both 32 and 16 degrees Celsius for energy labelling requirements. Testing at 16 degrees Celsius is a new requirement and the combined results of these two tests will enable appliance performance to be determined at an assumed annual average household temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.
  • A new load processing test that serves as a proxy for energy consumed due to door openings or other activities, such as placing warm foodstuffs in the appliance.

These changes will mean the energy rating label will better reflect real-life energy consumption of appliances in homes.

Some types of portable refrigerating products are not covered by the scope of the 2012 Determination, and for the 2019 Determination, this exclusion has been widened.

When the 2019 Determination comes into force on 15 August 2021, the registrations of all appliances registered under the 2012 Determination will be revalidated to ensure compliance with the new MEPS levels. If any registered models fail to meet the new MEPS levels, their registration status will become ‘superseded’. Consequently, these models will no longer be allowed to be imported into Australia, but appliances already in Australia can be supplied until this stock is exhausted.

Suppliers may now wish to voluntarily register household refrigerating appliances in accordance with the provisions of the 2019 Determination and provide a test report in accordance with the AS/NZS IEC 62552.3:2018 (or IEC 62552-3:2015) test standard. This will ensure that any new registrations will not be affected when the 2019 Determination comes into force on 15 August 2021.

Please contact the Energy Rating Team if you have any enquiries regarding the registration of household refrigerating appliances.