1 April 2019

Air Conditioners’ new Zoned Energy Rating Label

Energy rating labelling on air conditioners has taken a quantum leap forward with the introduction of a new format label, showing how climate affects the energy efficiency of these appliances. The new label is part of a suite of requirements included in the new Determination for air conditioners, signed by the Federal Energy Minister in late March 2019.     

The new air conditioner label indicates the difference in energy efficiency, depending on which of the three climate zones – hot, average or cold - in which it is used.  The climate zone performance information helps consumers to purchase air conditioners best suited for their location.  It also enables retailers to promote air conditioners better suited to different regions.

The new label also shows annual energy consumption across air conditioner models in a consistent way.  This brings the energy label for air conditioners into line with many of the other energy rating labels, such as those for fridges, washing machines and televisions, which already display an annual consumption figure.

The new energy label also shows the noise level from the full load operation of the air conditioner.  The provision of noise level information allows consumers to differentiate between air conditioners on this basis, if it is important to them.  The European noise test standards have been adopted as the basis for the noise ratings to be shown on the new label.  Air conditioners will need to be tested against these standards prior to being able to use the new label.

In order to be allowed to display the new label air conditioners must be registered under the new Determination and also have had their performance tested against the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) standard.  The SEER standard is based on testing at several temperatures at both full and part loads and extrapolating this into a curve of performance that covers a range of temperature points, rather than the current method that only tests the energy efficiency at full load and at two or three temperatures. 

Measuring against the SEER standard allows the energy rating labels to better reflect real-life energy consumption of air conditioners in Australian homes.  This change will make it easier for consumers to identify air conditioners that best meet their needs.

Along with a new label, this Determination also brings in new requirements where energy rating information is conveyed with an image online and in advertising. An icon is a simplified version of the new label, designed specifically to be readable at a range of scales. Where GEMS products are offered for sale in ‘bricks and mortar’ stores, the full label must be used. But where they are offered for sale online or in print advertising, retailers and suppliers can choose whether to include energy rating information or not. However, if they choose to include it and do so in the form of an image, the icon provides them with a consistent format that must be used. 

The new format energy labels and SEER ratings will be mandatory for products being registered, imported or manufactured from 1 April 2020. 

The 2019 Determination can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation here.

A factsheet on how to read the new label is available here.

A news article on the new Determination is available here.

Further information is available on the Air Conditioner page of energyrating.gov.au