Household appliances account for about 30% of total residential energy consumption with lighting an additional 12%. Average household electricity use in Australia has been falling for the last decade, despite increasing numbers of appliances, due in part to energy efficiency standards. Modern refrigerators and air conditioners for example use significantly less energy than older models.
Improving the energy efficiency of appliances and products has significant economic and environmental benefits, reducing the running costs of appliances and products for households and businesses. While many of the appliances, lights and equipment on the market have improved their efficiency over the last decade, there remains room for improvement.
Equipment Energy Efficiency Program (E3 Program)
The E3 Program is a cross jurisdictional program through which the Australian Government and state and territory governments and the New Zealand Government collaborate to deliver a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances.
Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS)
On 1 October 2012, the GEMS legislation came into effect, creating a national framework for appliances and equipment energy efficiency in Australia. The Australian GEMS Regulator has replaced the previous state regulators and is responsible for administering the legislation in Australia. The introduction of the GEMS legislation supports the E3 Program and fulfils a commitment made by the 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—to reduce your electricity bill. The star rating shows how efficient a model is relative to other models of the same size. More stars means more efficient—when compared to other models of the same size.
The Energy Rating Label also shows the energy consumption of an appliance or how much electricity a model uses. It is based on standardised testing—required by law and conducted in line with the official Australian and New Zealand Standard. The lower the number, the less a model costs to run—and the less you pay on your electricity bill.
The Energy Rating Label is more than 30 years old and only the Canadian (1978) and the 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 people to compare the running costs of different types of heater. 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 include space heating appliances such as gas and electric heaters. The labelling scheme will be supported by complementary tools, to help consumers compare the operating costs of covered heaters. This work is being undertaken under the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program.
Labelling will help consumers choose the type of space heater that best meets their needs. In May 2021 the Australian Government began consulting publicly on energy rating labelling for residential space heaters.
Consumers can save energy and money by purchasing a more efficient heater.
Read more about energy rating labelling for residential space heaters.
Zoned energy rating label - air conditioners
In March 2019, the Australian Government introduced the Zoned Energy Rating Label for domestic single phase, non-ducted air conditioners. The Zoned Energy Rating Label was developed in consultation with retailers and installers, and provides a seasonal efficiency rating for 3 distinct climate zones across Australia. This provides you with more useful information about which air conditioner to buy and allows you to select a product that will operate more efficiently in your 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 condtioners. See the Energy Rating website for more information on the Zoned Energy Rating Label.
Energy Rating and Light Bulb Saver apps
The Energy Rating Calculator can help you to save money on your energy bills by choosing a more energy efficient appliance. By considering both annual running costs and the upfront purchase price, you can compare models to help you save energy—and money—in the long term. You can download the free app on iTunes or Google Play.
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