30 June 2015

E3 has kicked off a new approach to energy efficiency for hot water systems. The plan is to:

  • Take a unified and comprehensive approach for hot water technologies
  • Reduce costs and simplify regulation where possible
  • Provide reliable and comparable information for consumers and industry

A number of projects are underway and public consultation sessions are planned to commence in August. Early projects focus on a Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL) for all hot water technologies and research on hot water usage in Australia. In a recent communication to Standards Australia Solar Water Heater Committee, the E3 Program presented information on upcoming hot water activities. Details of the projects follows:

Introduction of a Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL) for water heaters

  • With information currently available, there is no way to compare operating costs, energy efficiency (relevant to installed location) and other key performance attributes of different water heater types. In Australia and New Zealand, it is intended that a ZERL would apply to all water heating appliances, regardless of technology. While climate significantly influences the performance and energy efficiency of heat pump and solar water heaters, electric storage water heaters are not heavily affected. However, in order to enable consumers to make fair and informed product comparisons, the ZERL would apply to all water heater products.
  • A zoned map for air conditioners and heat pump devices (including heat pump water heaters) has been developed under the E3 Program. Work is continuing to refine the content of the ZERL for water heaters. It is planned to include other water heater technologies such as gas water heaters in this project over time.
  • Public consultation on the ZERL and inclusion of other water heating technologies is planned to start in August 2015.

Development of climate zone map for solar water heaters (SWHs)

  • An initial investigation on a suitable methodology to create climate zones for SWHs was carried out by University of Queensland. Issues identified in the initial review are under further investigation.
  • Further research on a climate zone map for SWHs has been contracted to the Australian National University.
  • Public consultation on the climate zone map for SWHs is planned to start in August 2015.

Investigation of current load profile and load sizes

  • Investigations undertaken by E3 on hot water issues has identified various research projects which reported differences in the hot water load sizes and draw-down profiles compared to that used in Australian Standards.
  • The variability in hot water loads has also been observed in research by institutions such as the University of South Australia and the E3 Residential End Use Monitoring Program (REMP).
  • The Department will commission an investigation/review of hot water load sizes and water usage patterns that reflect the residential sector in Australian and New Zealand.
  • Public consultation on the findings of this investigation is planned to start in September 2015.

Hot water framework

  • Industry has expressed a desire to simplify regulation for water heating.
  • The Department is developing a strategy to bring electric storage, heat pump and solar water heaters under a single RIS.
  • A technical discussion paper is being developed and stakeholder consultation is planned to start in September 2015.

Future work

Work planned for 2016 includes:

  • Publishing a combined Consultation RIS for three hot water technologies (electric storage, heat pump and solar water heaters)
  • Establishing a technical working group to develop a method of test for water heaters.

More information

For more information about our current program, please visit the Water Heating page. If you would like to be involved in upcoming consultations, please contact us.