The downlow on energy labels

You may have noticed energy rating labels on some appliances - they've been around for 25 years - but what do they really mean for the average consumer? How can they reduce your electricity prices?

Energy star ratings are a feature of most appliances these days. Fridges, freezers, washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners and televisions must now carry an energy rating label by law.

What do energy labels say?

The labels have two functions - they rate the appliance based on its efficiency compared to appliances of a similar size and capacity and also inform you how much energy is consumed per kilowatt hour based on standard conditions.

Appliances are given a star rating from one to ten. Whiteware with a high rating is considered the most efficient. Anything over seven is considered "super-efficient".

A low energy consumption is also something to look out for as it will cost you less to run - check the numbers in the bottom of the sticker to see how many kilowatts the appliance will burn through in a year.

How will they help reduce power bills?

Appliances typically make up 30 per cent of the average energy bill, so choosing the right appliances can make a huge difference to your household's energy consumption.

These labels allow you to quickly gauge which products will best fit your needs and help lower your power bill.

Purchasing energy efficient appliances will also help you reduce your carbon footprint as they produce fewer greenhouse gases over the course of their lifetime.

If you are trying to lower decrease the amount on your power bill, it may also be worth doing an electricity comparison as another electricity supplier may be able to offer you a better deal.

How do energy labels affect manufacturers?

The energy ratings scheme is operated as a joint enterprise by the Australian States and Territories Governments and the New Zealand Government - not by industry players.

However, manufacturers measure their products based on a standard testing procedure and then labels are registered under the appropriate Government regulations.

Manufacturers that export or import goods for the Australian market must have their products vetted by an approved testing agency to determine energy consumption and performance and the appropriate star rating.

Some manufacturers may be encouraged by these labels to produce more energy efficient appliances, which is great for consumer, giving them more choices to help lower their bills.

Posted by Charlie Moore