The Energy Rating label on fridges is very familiar to residents of New South Wales and Victoria, where it has been in use since 1986. It is now mandatory throughout all Australian states and territories. The big bright Energy Rating label is hard to miss against a shiny new refrigerator. That's the point. The intention of the Australian government when it first introduced the Energy Rating system was twofold: to educate Australians about the importance of energy conservation and to motivate manufacturers to improve the energy efficiency of their products.
Back in the year 2000, the old Energy Rating label was revised and Energy Star introduced tougher new standards for all appliances and electronic goods. This is why a fridge that had a four star Energy Rating in 1999 suddenly had a much lower rating in 2001.
Energy Star Testing
Everyone knows that a fridge that gets an Energy Rating of 4 is going to be more efficient than one that rates only a 2, but how much more efficient? It's a good question and, surprisingly, the difference varies from appliance to appliance. With fridges, the energy reductions per star have been set at 23%. In other words, a fridge with a 2 Star Energy Rating is 46% less energy efficient than a fridge of the same class with a 4 Star rating.
46% is a big difference. Can one fridge really be that much more energy efficient than another? Is there a catch to the Energy Rating system? No, there's no catch to it. Energy Star subjects refrigerators to rigorous tests. First they must meet the volume requirements. Then they are each tested using what's called a Pull Down test. The fridge is turned off and left with its door or doors open in a room heated to 43 degrees Celsius. Then the door is shut and the fridge is turned on. It must reach a predetermined temperature within 6 hours. Next, it must be able to maintain an acceptable temperature when the external air temperature is 10, 32 and 43 degrees Celsius. The fridge must pass these tests in order to get any Energy Rating label at all from Energy Star. The number of stars is determined by a mathematical formula based on the fridge's performance during testing.
Old vs New Energy Rating
When you browse for fridges on our website, you will notice that some of them have an old Energy Rating, while others have been given a new Energy Rating. In 2000, Energy Star introduced more stringent energy efficiency ratings. In general, those fridges that have been tested according to the new labelling system will have lower Energy Ratings than those that have old ratings. We will be gradually replacing the old labelling with the new as the data becomes available. The new labelling requirements from Energy Star only came into force in April 2010.
Wherever possible, we have listed the new ratings on our product description pages. Look for "Energy Efficiency (new)" under the product description to make your comparisons. You can also compare fridges according to their old Star Ratings simply by clicking on the ratings on the sidebar under the "Old Energy Efficiency" heading.
With over 50 brands of fridges to choose from on comparison.com.au, you've got your work cut out for you. Fortunately, you can narrow down your search as much as you want to and quickly find the fridge you want at the best price. For a quick look at the cheapest prices, sort by lowest price. If you're looking for the cheapest Top Mount Fridges available, narrow down your search even further by selecting "Top Mount" under the "Fridge Type" heading on the sidebar. Whatever type of fridge you're looking for, you will be pleased to discover that energy efficiency doesn't have to come with a higher price tag.