For making the most sustainable choice it is very important to know appliances’ energy rating. Energy Rating is a measure of an appliances energy efficiency.

Energy rating

in Australia and New Zealand

The Energy Rating Scheme is a labelling scheme for:

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Clothes washers
  • Clothes dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Air conditioners

When you’re buying a new appliance, look for the energy rating label with stars on it. If its not on the appliance you should ask the retailer.

The energy label gives a star rating between one and six stars. The greater the number of stars the higher the efficiency. Total energy consumption in kWh per year under test conditions is also shown in a red box on the label. If two suitable appliances have the same star rating choose the one with the lower energy consumption.

To find out the star rating and energy consumption of specific appliances you will need to go to the Australian Energy Rating site  This site provides additional information on the Energy Rating Scheme and lists the energy rating and approximate annual energy costs for all appliances on sale in Australia – many of which will also be on sale in New Zealand. From their website you can download an app for smartphone or tablet that has the ratings for most appliances on sale in Australia and New Zealand. The site also provides tips on appliance selection and background information on how appliance ratings are determined.

Another good Australian site for looking for the best energy efficient whitegoods is Use the site to compare products, work out how much running them will cost, and how much energy and water they will use. Only the most energy efficient models are listed.

The energy rating scheme does not in itself prevent the sale of inefficient appliances.  It only provides consumers with information on the relative efficiency and energy consumption of an appliance.

However, New Zealand now has some regulations in place that prevent the sale of some of the least energy-efficient appliances. These are called Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and were first introduced in 2002.  The MEPS regulations serve only to exclude the worst performers from the market.  For example, the best models of fridges and freezers available to consumers use only half the energy of a model that still passes the MEPS.  Thus its important that the government continually upgrades the MEPS for various product categories to keep raising the overall level of energy efficiency of appliances that can be sold in this country.   This helps protect consumers and contributes towards lower energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across the country as a whole.

Televisions, video, CD and DVD players and recorders, computers, scanners and printers do not carry energy rating labels in New Zealand at this time. Nevertheless the collective energy demand of these appliances in a modern household is significant. Taken together, the electrical power use of these commonly used appliances may outweigh that consumed by traditional “whiteware” appliances in the home.

Another useful energy efficiency rating label that you will find in New Zealand is ENERGY STAR® . This label is already used in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia to help consumers identify the most energy efficient products and appliances. This label is promoted in New Zealand by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

The ENERGY STAR® label is placed on leading heat pumps, TVs, DVD players, home theatre systems, computer s and office equipment. There are plans to introduce it on dishwashers, washing machines and fridges.

In order to qualify for the ENERGY STAR® label,  manufacturers have to prove that their products meet energy efficiency standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and agreed to by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).