20 December 2018

Energy Ministers agree to Decision RIS

COAG Energy Council ministers agreed to the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on air conditioners when they met on 19 December 2018.

Tightening regulations on the energy efficiency of air conditioners will have a significant impact on households, with 40 per cent of their average energy use going to heating and cooling.

Changes to the regulations are needed as the method for rating the energy efficiency of air conditioners, including that used for the Energy Rating Label (ERL), has not kept pace with technology and market changes. The current rating method does not take account of the significant impact climate has on the performance and use of air conditioners. Consumers' inability to compare the energy efficiency of portable air conditioners with other types of air conditioners was also a factor. The new regulations will address these and a range of other issues.

The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program will develop a Determination under the GEMS Act ahead of introducing the revised Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) levels and labelling.

E3 intends to introduce the revised MEPS for double duct air conditioners in Australia shortly after the Determination is signed. The timing of the introduction of the new labels and other new MEPS levels is subject to consultation with industry. 

The following recommendations were accepted by COAG Energy Ministers:

  • Adopt the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standard for rating air conditioner energy efficiency.
  • Remove the existing Energy Rating Label and replace it with the Zoned Energy Rating Label.
  • For double duct portable air conditioners, reduce the Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) and apply the Zoned Energy Rating Label.
  • For single duct portable air conditioners, apply MEPS to single duct portable air conditioners and apply the Zoned Energy Rating Label (tested to AS/NZS 3823.1.5).
  • Include MEPS for air conditioners >65 kW capacity under the energy efficiency regulations (currently specified in Australia under the National Construction Code (NCC)) and increase the MEPS levels for such air conditioners.
  • Align Australia and New Zealand MEPS including increasing New Zealand’s residential cooling MEPS to Australia’s levels.
  • Apply MEPS to single duct portable air conditioners.

More information is available on the Space Heating and Cooling page under 'Current Work'.