Saving Tips

What is an 'energy rating', and why is it important to understand?

You’ve almost definitely seen one, you might even have one in your house right now. Those ‘energy rating’ stickers. You get the gist of what they are, but what do they really mean and should you be paying more attention to them?

What are energy ratings?

Energy ratings are set by an independent government body who set a rating system based on other comparable appliances  – 500L fridges compared to other 500L fridges, dishwashers compared to dishwashers, and so on. Knowing that electricity costs money, the more electricity an appliance consumes invariably costs you, the user, more money. This is why the below equation is so important to understand and worth considering when you make your big appliance purchase:

Real cost of appliance = upfront purchase cost + cost to run

This is where those energy rating stickers can help. The key information on each of the stickers can be broken down into two sections: The star rating and the energy consumption.

Star Rating

A graphic illustrating where the stars are on an energy rating sticker

Each appliance has a slightly different metric for how much the stars are worth in terms of electricity saving. Dishwashers, dryers and clothes washers are rated out of 6, with TVs, refrigerators and air conditioners rated out of 10. Now, to break down what those stars actually mean:

Source: Sustainability Victoria

Star ratings can sometimes be tricky if you’re comparing different things, for instance if you are trying to compare the energy efficiency of different sized fridges to see which one is right for you. That’s where the second bit of the sticker can come in handy: the energy consumption.

Energy Consumption

In order to compare appliances based on how much energy they consume regardless of type or size, use the energy consumption panel.

A graphic illustrating where energy consumption is on an energy rating sticker

Making the process easier

If you find the process of picking an energy efficient appliance, rely on Choice who are an independent consumer advocate group who publish unbiased product reviews and tests for their members. They have a small sign-up cost for a few months ($26.95 per quarter at time of publication), but this small cost could end up saving you hundreds of dollars annually on a great energy-efficient appliance rather than a power chugging lemon.

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