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Appliance energy star ratings explained

3 min read
24 Jul 2015

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the biggest energy consumers are fridges, dishwashers, and washing machines. These three big ticket items alone make up a third of the average household’s energy bill. It makes sense then, especially with these products that they operate efficiently in order to reduce energy costs.

That’s where energy star ratings can help.

The Energy Rating Label was first introduced in NSW and Victoria in 1986, and was later made mandatory across all Australian states. It’s now a requirement for all electrical appliances to show the energy rating label when offered for sale.

The benefit to promoting energy star ratings is that consumers are able to easily compare the energy consumption of one product to another. It can also motivate manufacturers to enhance the performance of their merchandise, and potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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How does the star system work?

It’s quite simple really, the label works on a star rating system – the more stars the more efficient the product is. You can find these labels on electrical appliances such as clothes dryers, fridges, washing machines, televisions, and computers.

There are two types of labels to help consumers understand the energy rating: the standard 6-star label and the 10-star label for items which are deemed as super efficient.

Not sure how to read the label? Let’s break it down:

The stars represent the products energy efficiency. It provides a quick assessment of how much energy it consumes compared to other models in its category. For an accurate comparison, appliances (such as a television) should be compared based on size, volume and capacity.

The energy consumption figure presents an estimated figure, indicating the average amount of energy the product will use annually.  Unlike the stars, the lower the Kw, the lower your energy use could be.

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How are products tested?

Every manufacturer, whether they produce or import an electrical product for the Australian market, must adhere to the Australian Standard, and are required to submit their appliance for testing at an approved agency. To determine whether a product is fit for sale in Australia, items must operate to a minimum standard under the regulations dictated in the Minimum Energy Performance Standards. This is great for the consumer, as poor performing products are restricted from being sold in the Australian market.

As far as assessment is concerned, product use is replicated as closely as possible to how it would be used in the average home or business. Undergoing testing provides an average consumption, however definite electricity consumption will depend on how the owner uses the product, how often it is used, and potentially the climate could factor influence how much energy is consumed for it to effectively operate.

Will an energy efficient appliance cost more?

An appliance is a higher star rating could potentially cost you more upfront; however the potential savings may outweigh the initial cost if you were to choose a product with fewer stars.

So, what’s the point?

There are major benefits for both Australia and its consumers:

  • Consumers are able to compare options and energy efficiency, allowing for more informed choices about the products they choose to buy
  • Manufacturers must work harder to ensure products meet the standard, reducing poorly made products on the market.
  • By choosing products with a higher star rating, consumers can assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions created by appliances.

So there you have it. Take a look at the star ratings of the appliances in your home – it might be time for an upgrade!

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