Air conditioning system on a building rooftop.

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Requirements for air conditioners above 65kW are changing from 1 October 2022.


Space conditioning, or heating and cooling, accounts for an average of 40 per cent of household energy use in Australia and 33% in New Zealand.

Note this proportion varies, as the amount of time heating or cooling is required varies according to local climate as well as other factors such as insulation levels and personal thermal comfort expectations.

The below graphs show the breakdown of household energy usage in Australia in 2014.


Residential Baseline Energy Study: Australia/New Zealand (draft report). Energy Consult July 2015

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) have had a large impact on the efficiency and innovation of the air conditioner market. The least efficient air conditioner (less than 4kW) today is more efficient than the most efficient air conditioner on the market in 2001.

Selecting the right heating and cooling system can have a big impact on household energy costs. There are a number of choices available to provide heating and/or cooling services to your home.

Not all types of heaters or coolers are covered under the E3 Program. Some of the technologies explored are identified under Types of Cooling and Heating Appliances. When looking to purchase a heating or cooling appliance refer to Factors to Consider. Also refer to the About Air conditioner Labels and FAQs for guidance on energy efficient air conditioners (heating and cooling).

For more in depth information about various technologies or recent research work, refer to Key Documents.

Heating and Cooling Technologies Regulated for Energy Efficiency

Currently, air conditionersbuilding chillers and close control air conditioners have energy efficiency requirements under the E3 Program. The energy efficiency requirements for chillers are currently under review. To find out more about MEPS for these products check the relevant Australian GEMS determination or the New Zealand Regulations.

Gas space heaters, standard electric heaters, wood heaters and evaporative air conditioners are not subject to energy efficiency regulation under the E3 framework.

Household air conditioners (excluding ducted products) must carry an Energy Rating Label. The energy label found on gas space heaters is not overseen or administered by the E3 program.

Is your product regulated?

Find out which GEMS determination or regulatory standard applies to your product

All products covered by energy efficiency regulations must meet certain requirements before they can be supplied or sold in Australia or New Zealand.

Depending on the product, this may include Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), energy rating label requirements or both. There are specific requirements relevant to Australia and New Zealand.

At a glance...





New Zealand

Air conditioners – single phase 



GEMS Determination



Air conditioners – three phase 




GEMS Determination


Air conditioners 



GEMS Determination (1 October 2022)

Requirements & Guidance

Air Conditioners - Evaporative No No - -
Air Conditioners – Single Duct Portable



GEMS Determination (from 1 April 2020) Requirements

Close control air conditioners (computer rooms)



GEMS Determination


Commercial chillers



GEMS Determination


Gas Space Heaters



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Types of heating and cooling appliances

For households, there are various space conditioning options – these include:

  • air conditioners,
  • evaporative coolers
  • electric and wood heaters, and
  • gas heaters

In the industrial and commercial sectors, other relevant products include:

  • chillers for large buildings, and
  • close control air conditioners, which are primarily used to cool computer equipment.

Factors to consider

Considerations when determining what type of appliance will be used to heat or cool or both needs to take into account the following factors:

  • Access to fuel (electricity, gas, solar power)
  • Purchase costs
  • Running costs
  • Size of area to be heated or cooled.

For space conditioning equipment the usage will vary with the locality, weather, building shell efficiency, building or room size, zoning, equipment type and occupant usage behaviours, plus through the interaction of these variables. See Choosing the right product for information about what to consider when sizing an air conditioner.

For information on how to save energy when heating and cooling your property, see Heating and cooling on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Current work

A Determination relating to the Decision RIS recommendations for the above 65 kW sector of the market has been made and is available here. This Determination has a start date of 1 October 2022. Registrants can choose to register prior to 1 October 2022 if they wish to do so. 

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


The Air-Conditioner and Commercial Refrigeration Advisory Committee (ACRAC) functions in an advisory capacity on air conditioner and commercial refrigeration energy efficiency programs. It is not a decision making authority but rather representatives from key stakeholder interests whose role is to inform E3 of their views on any aspect of the regulatory process or proposals.

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Search the Registration database

Use the registration database to view and compare all products that are registered under the GEMS Act.

Registration database

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Compare the energy efficiency of fridges, televisions and computer monitors, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioners.


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Useful Resources

Visit the Australian Government's website for useful information like: