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Clothes washing machines were first subject to mandatory energy labelling in Victoria in 1990, with a national labelling scheme coming into effect in 1992. Modern clothes washing machines use about 30% less energy today than they did when energy efficiency labelling was first introduced.
By law, every clothes washer in a store in Australia and New Zealand must display an Energy Rating Label. The label tells you how much energy the clothes washer uses per year and gives you a star rating that allows you to compare its efficiency to clothes washers of the same size.
Is your product regulated?
All products covered by energy efficiency regulations must meet certain requirements before they can be supplied or sold in Australia or New Zealand.
Depending on the product, this may include Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), energy rating label requirements or both. There are specific requirements relevant to Australia and New Zealand.
Regulatory requirements for clothes washers
Clothes washers are subject to Energy Rating Label (ERL) requirements in Australia and New Zealand.
Clothes washers imported for sale or supply are required to meet Energy Rating Label requirements. The full technical details for the ERL are specified in AS/NZS2040.1 and AS/NZS2040.2
What clothes washers are covered?
The regulatory requirements cover clothes washing machines that are ordinarily supplied and used for personal, domestic and household purposes. Please refer to the Determination for more information.
What clothes washers are excluded?
Some clothes washers with very small capacity, no mains water connection or that are only capable of cold water wash operations may be excluded. Please refer to the Determination for more information.
The Energy Rating Label on clothes washers
The Energy Rating Label can give you all the information you need to select the most efficient and lowest cost clothes washer (to run) that also meets your needs.
The number of stars on the label also helps you compare the efficiency of one clothes washer to another of a similar capacity. For example, a 9kg front loader clothes washer with 4 stars is more efficient than another 9kg top loader clothes washer with only 3 stars. Unfortunately, the number of stars cannot be used to compare clothes washers of different capacities because the size of the clothes washers is used to calculate how many stars it can receive.
As the price of electricity can change over time and is based on where you live, the cost of running the washing machine is not given on the label. Instead, the label gives you the amount of energy the clothes washer uses in kilowatt hours (kWh).
Depending on the features of the clothes washer, the label may display the amount of energy used in a warm wash cycle or two amounts, one for a warm wash cycle and one for a cold wash cycle.
To calculate the annual cost of running the clothes washer, multiply the kWh figure by the cost of electricity in your area.
For example, the clothes washer you are looking at says on the label that it uses 750kWh per year on a warm wash and 100kWh on a cold wash. You know from your electricity bill that the price of electricity in your area is 29 cents per kWh. Simply multiple the kWh number by the electricity price to find the cost of running that clothes washer each year. In this example, the warm wash is $217 and the cold wash is $29.
Using a cold wash can dramatically reduce the energy cost of running your washing machine.