Some household appliances – such as air conditioners, hair dryers, and ovens, amongst others – are more energy-hungry than others, so if you’re shopping for a new one, an energy efficient model will save you money in the long run.
The Energy Rating Label is regulated by the Australian government and helps consumers compare the energy efficiency and running costs of appliances before buying. The label has two key components:
1. the star rating for comparison ‘at a glance’, and
2. the energy consumption number for a more specific comparison of models.
Most products are rated between one and six stars and some newer, very efficient products are rated 10 stars. The more stars a product has, the more energy efficient it will be.
It’s important to note that the star rating represents how efficient a model is relative to other models of the same size, so make sure you’re comparing appliances of the same size and capacity. It’s best to choose appliances at the size or capacity you need before using the star rating to compare them.
The label’s energy consumption number shows how many kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity the model uses across a year, based on regular use. A lower energy consumption number means the appliance will be cheaper to run and have lower carbon emissions.
You can get a rough idea of an appliance’s annual running cost by dividing the consumption number by four – for example, if the consumption number is 100kWh, it will cost approximately $25 to run per year, if used regularly.
If you buy grid electricity from an electricity retailer and know your exact tariff (check your bill), a more accurate cost for a particular appliance model can be calculated using the following formula:
Annual cost to run = energy consumption (kWh) x electricity tariff (cents/kWh)
The Energy Rating online calculator gets even more specific, considering the purchase price and number of uses per week (for relevant appliances) to calculate the total cost of ownership.
Even if you’re using energy generated by your solar system or batteries, choosing more efficient appliances still makes sense because you’ll save more of your generated electricity for other uses.