Household appliances account for about 30% of total residential energy consumption in Australia, while lighting uses around 12%.
Average household electricity use has been falling for the last decade despite an increasing number of appliances. This is due in part to improvement in energy efficiency standards.
Improving the energy efficiency of appliances and products has significant economic and environmental benefits, reducing running costs for households and businesses.
While many of the appliances, lights and equipment on the market have become more efficient over the last decade, there remains room for continued improvement.
Equipment Energy Efficiency Program
The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program is a cross jurisdictional collaboration among the Australian Government, state and territory governments, and the New Zealand Government. This delivers a consistent, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances.
Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards
The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards 2012 (GEMS) Act underpins a national framework for appliances and equipment energy efficiency in Australia. The Australian GEMS Regulator is responsible for administering the legislation.
The introduction of the GEMS legislation supports the E3 Program and fulfils a commitment made by the former Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2009 to introduce national legislation to regulate equipment energy efficiency in Australia.
The Australian Government has completed the first statutory review of the GEMS legislation.
Energy rating label - appliances
The Energy Rating Label allows you to compare the energy efficiency and running costs of appliances before you buy. The star rating shows the efficiency of a model relative to other models of the same size.
The Energy Rating Label also shows the energy consumption of an appliance. It is based on standardised testing required by law and conducted in line with the official Australian and New Zealand Standard.
The Energy Rating Label was introduced in 1986 and the mandatory national labelling scheme in 1992. Only the Canadian (1978) and US (1979-80) schemes pre-date the Australian system.
Energy rating label - residential space heaters
Residential space heaters include gas and electric heaters, and reverse cycle air conditioners. Space heating makes up around a third of household energy use in Australia.
There is no common energy rating label that helps compare the running costs of different types of heaters. This makes it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions about the energy efficiency of space heating.
On 25 February 2019, the Australian Government announced its Climate Solutions Package. Under the package, the government is providing $6.5 million to examine options to expand energy rating labelling to space heating appliances such as gas and electric heaters. The labelling scheme will be supported by tools to help consumers compare the operating costs of covered heaters. This work is being undertaken under the E3 Program.
In May 2021 the Australian Government began consulting publicly on energy rating labelling for residential space heaters.
Read more about energy rating labelling for residential space heaters.
Zoned energy rating label - air conditioners
In March 2019 the Australian Government, in consultation with retailers and installers, introduced the Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL) for domestic single-phase, non-ducted air conditioners.
The ZERL provides a seasonal efficiency rating for 3 distinct climate zones across Australia. This helps customers determine which air conditioners are most suited to their region.
Air conditioners will only have 1 energy rating label but during the transition period, you may see both the current Energy Rating Label and the new Zoned Energy Rating Label on display in stores.
There's also an informative video about the energy rating labels on air conditioners.
To read more about the ZERL, see the Energy Rating website.
About the E3 Program Australian Government on behalf of state and territory and New Zealand governments
Energy Rating Label overview Australian Government on behalf of state and territory and New Zealand governments
Legislation - Minimum Energy Performance Standards Australian Government on behalf of state and territory and New Zealand governments
Energy Rating Calculator Australian Government on behalf of state and territory and New Zealand governments
Energy rating apps Australian Government on behalf of state and territory and New Zealand governments