Energy Efficient Appliances
Energy efficiency appliances can help us reduce the amount of energy we need to get the same or better level of service.
Clear labelling on appliances will alert us how much energy will be required to run the appliance, as well as how much energy was used to create it, and will be needed to maintain it, and eventually recycle or dispose of it.
Regulations that gradually life minimum energy efficiency standards, will encourage appliance manufacturers to invest in energy efficiency innovation.
Energy Performance Standards
Source: Minimum Energy Performance Standards Regulations in Australia - Energy Rating
Technical requirements for MEPS are set out in the relevant appliance standard, which is referenced in state regulations. State based legislation is necessary because the Australian constitution gives Australian States clear responsibility for resource management issues, including energy.
[Products manufactured in or imported into Australia that must meet minimum energy performance standards include:]
- refrigerators and freezers.
- commercial refrigeration (self contained and remote systems).
- mains pressure electric storage water heaters.
- small mains pressure electric storage water heaters (<80L) and low pressure and heat exchanger types.
- three phase electric motors (0.73kW to <185kW) .
- single phase air conditioners .
- three phase air conditioners (up to 65kW cooling capacity).
- ballasts for linear fluorescent lamps. (Note that in addition to MEPS, ballasts also have to be marked with an energy efficiency index - EEI).
- linear fluorescent lamps (from 550mm to 1500mm inclusive with a nominal lamp power >16W).
- distribution transformers (11kV and 22kV with a rating from 10kA to 2.5MVA).
Source: Electric Resistance Heating , Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy US, 2005
Electric resistance heating converts nearly 100% of the energy in the electricity to heat. However, most electricity is produced from oil, gas, or coal generators that convert only about 30% of the fuel's energy into electricity. Because of electricity generation and transmission losses, electric heat is often more expensive than heat produced in the home or business using combustion appliances, such as natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces.
If electricity is the only choice, heat pumps are preferable in most climates, as they easily cut electricity use by 50% when compared with electric resistance heating.
Energy Efficient Appliance Regulations
Source: Builders Attack New Housing Energy Plan. ABC, 3 August 2005
[The Queensland Government has updated energy and water savings standards] for new homes. Greenhouse efficient hot water systems, energy efficient lighting, dual-flush toilets and water pressure devices will be compulsory from next year. Electric hot water systems will be banned next year.
Builders say these measures will limit the choices available for buyers. Tony Rider from Masterbuilders: "The impact of banning electrical hot water systems in new homes is almost negligible - no more than 0.04 per cent per year. However, the cost of installing a basic solar hot water system is double the price of electric, so it is the consumer that's going to suffer here."
But [conservationists say the standards] benefit everyone. "This new code is a win-win for new home owners. If you install greenhouse efficient hot water systems, you will reduce your energy bill by as much as 40 per cent." (Toby Hutcheon, Queensland Conservation Council.)
Queensland's Environment Minister Desley Boyle says there will not be any subsidies offered to help with the cost of compulsory energy and water saving measures for new homes. Ms Boyle admits the new laws will make building a home more expensive. "Yes it will initially increase the price of a new house by as much as $1,000 to $2,000. But mandating all of these devices will bring the price down as developers buy in bulk."
Mr Hutcheon says the next question should be how to improve the efficiency of existing houses. "The New South Wales Government have got a system right now that encourages people when they're renovating to actually put in water and energy efficient appliances."
Opportunities for New Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards, Toru Kubo, Harvey Sachs, and Steven Nadel, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2001.
Energy Allstars. Find and compare the most energy efficient appliances and commercial and industrial equipment for sale in Australia.
Energy Rating. Australian guide to choosing an energy efficient appliance.
Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Committee. responsible for managing the Australian end-use energy efficiency program.
Guide to Energy Efficient Appliances. Nine MSN.