The version of your browser is too dated for some of our website features.
For the best digital experience possible, take a moment to update your browser now.


What do energy
rating labels
really mean?

Ever found yourself looking to buy a new fridge or washer and trying to decipher the energy rating labels? What makes an excellent energy rating? How much difference does an energy-efficient appliance really make? Is it worth paying more for an energy-efficient appliance?

Here we break down the various energy rating labels and their meaning so you can confidently buy your next energy-efficient appliance.

Energy rating labels create a simple comparison.
Improving the energy efficiency of household appliances has been a major initiative within the governments' energy efficiency programs and is recognised as a key initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The appliance labelling scheme has existed for almost 35 years and was initially designed to encourage consumers to purchase more energy-efficient appliances and encourage manufacturers to focus on innovations that would make their products more energy-efficient and attractive to consumers.

Managed by the Australian Government's Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Regulator, Energy Rating labels are compulsory for household appliances like washing machines, fridges, computers, pool pumps and TVs to allow consumers to make a genuine comparison between appliances at the time of purchase.

An appliance's rating is calculated according to its size and the amount of energy it consumes. This estimate is based on assumptions about 'average usage' and allows you, as a consumer, to estimate how much it will cost to run that appliance. The more stars, the more energy efficient the product is compared to other models in its category.

The Energy Rating label may be displayed as a 6-star label, a 'super efficiency' 10-star label for appliances rated at seven or higher, or as a 10-star label for swimming pool pumps.

The more stars, the more energy efficient.
Energy Rating labels have two parts: the star rating and energy consumption calculated as kWh per year.

The more stars you see on the label, the more efficient the appliance is. Ten is the highest energy efficiency rating an appliance can receive, and one is the lowest. So even if you see a full six on a 6-star label, you may be able to find a more efficient 7, 8, 9 or 10-star appliance.

The energy consumption calculated as kWh per year allows you to see how much energy the appliance uses on average per year and will enable you to compare models. The lower the number, the less energy the appliance consumes.

The more stars, the more savings.
When shopping around for a new appliance with the specifications that suit your needs, choose one with a high star rating and low energy consumption. When using the star rating to compare appliances, be sure to look for those with a similar size and features.

So how much can you really save? According to, a four-star fridge, instead of a two-star fridge, can save you around 40% on estimated annual running costs. Likewise, a TV with a seven-star label can cost 50% less than one with a three-star label.

The more stars, the better for the environment.
Appliances that are more energy-efficient also produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. So, when choosing energy-efficient appliances, you are also doing your bit to care for the environment.

Comparing is easier than you may think.
To estimate how much energy an electrical appliance will use and cost to run each year, multiply the number of kilowatt hours (kWh) a year (the number on the Energy Rating label) by your electricity rate. The rate you pay is shown on your electricity bill. features a handy energy savings calculator that can help you view a range of products and see their ten-year running cost. Alternatively, you can calculate the lifetime running cost by multiplying the annual cost by ten which is the average lifespan of most major appliances.

By understanding Energy Rating labels, you can make your next appliance purchase with confidence, knowing you can easily compare and calculate the lifetime running costs and use that information to weigh up the relevant features and benefits.


  • It's compulsory for household appliances like washing machines, fridges, computers, pool pumps and TVs to display an energy rating label to allow consumers to make a genuine comparison between models.

  • Energy rating labels use a six (or ten) star rating to display the appliance's energy efficiency. They also show the appliance's annual energy consumption in kWh.

  • The higher the number of stars, the more energy efficient the appliance.

  • The lower the energy consumption, the more likely you will be to save on your energy running costs.

  • Appliances that are more energy efficient not only help you to save but also have less environmental impact.

ActewAGL's energy saving tips are designed to help you take control of your energy use, while reducing your bills and environmental impact. Save with great value energy plans backed by our sustainability promise, supported by 100% local, award-winning service - so you can LIVE A Good Life now and into the future.

For more information about how you can transition to an energy-efficient home visit the SolarHub & ActewAGL Smart Energy Hub today.


Disclaimer: These Energy Savings tips and articles are for information purposes only. Please ensure you are aware of any safety precautions before operating appliances or products.

solar roof home illustration with a blue background
We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and show your personalised products and services. To find out more, read our privacy policy.