Understanding New Zoned Energy Rating Labels (ZERLs) for Air Conditioners

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Energy rating labels help us make good decisions based on the long-term running costs and energy consumption of the products we use in our homes. If you’ve ever bought a new air conditioner or had to replace your AC unit you’ve probably seen the energy rating label attached to the system.

You might have heard that energy rating labels are changing on air conditioners and many of you have been asking how it will determine the energy usage of your unit. Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning’s installers in New South Wales are here to walk you through all the important changes so you can get the best out of your air conditioning system.

What are energy rating labels for air conditioning units?

Heating and cooling appliances account for 40% of household energy consumption, making HVAC units the main energy-consuming appliances in the average New South Wales home. With this in mind, you can see why choosing the right heating and cooling system can have a huge impact on your household energy costs.

To help shoppers understand the energy efficiency and energy consumption of air conditioning systems, New South Wales residents have long relied on minimum energy performance standards and energy rating labels. These labels provide an easy-to-read indication of the air conditioner’s energy efficiency and other key features of the unit.


Why are air conditioner energy efficiency ratings changing?

Energy Rating Labels have been around for over 30 years and a lot has changed since then when it comes to the electrical appliances we use and our attitudes towards our energy use.

Air conditioners for sale in Australia are now required to display a Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL). The ZERL provides an efficiency rating for 3 separate climate zones — hot, average and cold. The new labelling system will display information relating to the AC unit’s performance to help consumers select a product that works efficiently in their climate zone. Ratings are up to a maximum of 10 stars for both heating and cooling.

The new ZERL will show a rating of the appliances on energy efficiency classes, along with expected energy use in kWh/year. You may already be familiar with this energy use system as other household appliances such as fridges, televisions and washing machines already use a similar rating label system where energy consumption is also stated in kWh per year.

Other information included on the ZERL is the air conditioner’s capacity output figure – this will state the amount of cooling the AC unit model can produce. The new labelling system will also indicate the noise levels and show the volume in decibels of the internal and external units.


What information does the new Zoned Energy Rating Label provide?

This Zone Energy Rating Label update will provide consumers with a more in-depth insight into the running of the air conditioner to allow them to select an AC unit that will perform better while reducing their energy consumption.

A full list of the information included on the new Zone Energy Rating Label includes:

How to read the new Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL) for air conditioners

Australian Zone Energy Rating Labels are mapped using the three climate zones, as outlined on the climate zone map which indicates the 69 Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) zones for Australia. To determine your climate zone you can search your area on NatHERS interactive Climate Zone Map which divides Australian regions into three distinct climate zones (hot, average and cold).

The first thing that people usually search for on an energy rating label is the air conditioner’s energy efficiency after all; lower energy use means lower household bills. On the label, you will see the figure stated for how much energy the air conditioning unit uses per year – the lower the KWs used, the lower the cost to run the appliance. You can quickly determine the overall energy efficiency by looking at the blue star rating on the label.

Choosing the right size of air conditioning unit for your living space is important for the unit to work at its best. By installing an AC system that is the correct size you will make your cooling more efficient and affordable. New Zone Energy Rating Labels highlight how many KWs the appliance can provide compared to the temperature outside. If you are unsure what unit size is best for you, feel free to contact the AC installation experts at Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

No one wants to listen to a noisy air conditioner running all day! Luckily for you, the new ZERL indicates the noises level of how loud the unit will be when it is running. The figures on the new Zones Energy Rating Label will show buyers how many decibels of noise the AC system will create both inside the house and near the outside unit.

Here are some common sound levels in decibels that can be found on a Zone Energy Rating Label:

  • 30dBA: Typical noise in a quiet indoor space.
  • 50dBA: Typical noise of a quiet car while driving.
  • 60dBA: The noise levels during a conversation.
  • 75dBA: The noise of a standard household vacuum cleaner.

Need more information on Zone Energy Rating Labels? Contact Coles Air Conditioning

If you want to maximise your energy savings and reduce your carbon footprint, the new Zoned Energy Rating Label offers invaluable information when buying a new air conditioning unit.

Coles Refrigeration and Air Conditioning’s team can provide excellent advice on energy rating labels to help you determine the best product for your home. For more information on the change in energy labelling in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and the NSW Central Coast please call us on (02) 4044 0840 or contact us online and a member of our air conditioning team will be in touch soon.

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