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Old v New Energy Ratings Explained

Oct 21, 2021 | Air Conditioners, Freezers, Fridges, Heating, TVs

Read Time: 3 Minutes

We live in a hot country, the ground is hot, the air is hot, we put on cardigans when the temperature drops below 25 degrees. Having air conditioning in your home used to be the exclusive privilege of the elite, but now it’s a mainstay of most households.

When buying appliances most people will check the energy ratings, particularly for things like air conditioners which have the potential to use a truck load of electricity. This is smart, keep doing it, the last thing you want is to find out your new air conditioner is too expensive for you to actually use. You might, however, be tripped up looking at the energy rating label which looks very different from what you’re used to. Today we’ll take a look at the new energy rating labels and what they mean for you.

Old Label vs New Label

The new energy rating label is called the Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL). The changes were introduced to provide consumers with more information about the product and its expected energy consumption based on where the consumer actually lives and will be using the product.

The key difference between the two labels is the inclusion of the Climate Zone - where you can check the map for which climate zone you live in and check the expected energy consumption of that model based on where you live. The reason for this is that a product you might be considering might not work as well in your climate zone as another product would, enabling you to make the best decision for your needs.

Other key features of the new labels are noise indicators to show the volume in decibels of both the internal and external units of the air conditioner, as well as portable air conditioners now being required to show Energy Rating Labels where previously they weren’t required to.

Current Energy Rating LabelNew Zoned Energy Rating Label
Easier to read ratings up to 10 stars for heating and cooling
Capacity and power in kilowatts (kW)Capacity in kilowatts (kW)
Performance provided does not take into account climatePerformance provided for three climate zones (hot, average, cold) across Australia and New Zealand
Output capacity for heating and cooling at one outdoor temperatureOutput capacity for heating at two outdoor temperatures and cooling at one outdoor temperature
Input power for heating and cooling in kilowatts (kW)Annual energy use for heating and cooling (for each zone) in kilowatt hours (kWh)
Noise indicators to show the volume in decibels (dB(A)) of the internal and external units
No Energy Rating Labels on portable air conditionersPortable air conditioners must display the Zoned Energy Rating Label

Source: https://www.energyrating.gov.au/products/air-conditioners

New Energy Rating Labels

How to use the new label

Select your Climate Zone

Look at the map on the label and see which zone you live in.

Check Energy Use

The kWh per year figures to the right of the star rating box of the new label will give you an indication of how much electricity that model will consume in your climate zone. Note this is only an indication, air conditioner use of course varies by household.

Check The Size

Make sure you’re getting an air conditioner unit big enough for the space you’re wanting to heat or cool - check out our nifty infographic below. Getting the right size will make heating or cooling the space much easier and more affordable.

Air Conditioning Fitment Guide

Noise Info

If any noise is a noisy noise to you then you’ll want to check the bottom of the label to see how much noise that model makes. For air conditioners with internal and external units (like a split system), there will be a noise rating for both inside and outside.

In summer-ry

When it’s so hot you could bake cookies on your car’s dashboard, you need it to be cold inside. I want it frosty, I want my feet to be cold enough that I need to put socks on. For that you need the right air conditioner for the space, and the new ZERL energy labels will give you more valuable info to help inform your choice.

Visit us in store to get more expert advice from the local appliance enthusiasts at Bi-Rite. Ahhh feels good to Bi-Rite. Hat tip to energyrating.gov.au for the info and the graphics btw.

Megan Holden-Wells

Megan Holden-Wells

Bi-Rite Content Author

Megan is a Qualified Journalist / Working Mum / Shopaholic / Air Fryer Enthusiast

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