Refrigerators and freezers have been required to display an energy label since 1986 and to meet minimum energy efficiency levels since 1999. As a result, refrigerators and freezers are now approximately 70 per cent more efficient than they were 30 years ago.
By law, every refrigerator or freezer that is sold or supplied in Australia and New Zealand must meet a minimum level of energy efficiency. Each refrigerator and freezer on display in a store must also display an Energy Rating Label.
The Energy Rating Label shows consumers how much energy a refrigerator or freezer uses per year and displays a star rating that allows you to compare its efficiency with that of refrigerators or freezers of the same size and type.
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 meeting Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), Energy Rating Label requirements or both. There are specific legislative requirements relevant to Australia and New Zealand.
Changes to GEMS Determination - 15 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.
Refrigerators and freezers imported for supply in Australia and New Zealand are required to meet MEPS and Energy Rating Label requirements. The full technical details for MEPS and the Energy Rating Label requirements are specified in the AS/NZS4474.2: 2009 standard.
Which refrigerators and freezers are covered?
Ten groups of refrigerators and freezers are covered under the requirements of the 2012 Determination. Please refer to the standard AS/NZS 4474.1:2007 for more detailed information.
- Group 1: Refrigerator without a low temperature compartment, automatic defrost
- Group 2: Refrigerator with or without an ice-making compartment, manual defrost
- Group 3: Refrigerator with a short or long term frozen food compartment, manual defrost
- Group 4: Refrigerator-freezer, fresh food compartment is automatic defrost, freezer manual defrost (“partial automatic defrost”)
- Group 5B: Refrigerator-freezer, both compartments automatic defrost (frost free), bottom mounted freezer
- Group 5T: Refrigerator-freezer, both compartments automatic defrost (frost free), not side by side configuration or bottom mounted freezer (i.e. top mounted freezer)
- Group 5S: Refrigerator-freezer, both compartments automatic defrost (frost free), side by side configuration
- Group 6U: Separate vertical freezer, manual defrost
- Group 6C: Separate chest freezer, all defrost types
- Group 7: Separate vertical freezer, automatic defrost (frost free)
For these group descriptions, a ‘compartment’ means a compartment with a separate external door or an internal sub-compartment.
FAQs: the Energy Rating Label on refrigerators and freezers
The energy rating label can give you all the information you need to select the most efficient and lowest cost refrigerator and freezer (in terms of running costs) that also meets your needs.
Guide: The Energy Rating Label
A simple, easy-to-read guide that explains how to interpret the Energy Rating Label and how purchasing a more efficient appliance can save money on energy bills.