Revised energy labels for air-cons and clothes dryers

Buying home appliances that can help cut electricity bills will become easier.

Air-conditioners, refrigerators and clothes dryers will have new labels that more accurately reflect their energy efficiency.

This comes amid growing sophistication of both producers and consumers in the market for greener products.

For instance, in 2008, only less than 10 per cent of refrigerators sold here were rated four-ticks, indicating that they were the most energy-efficient. This grew to more than 40 per cent in 2012.

The number of models of four-tick chillers in the market has also increased sharply, from about 20 in 2008 to nearly 300 in June this year.

To help consumers make even greener choices, the National Environment Agency is tweaking its labelling from Sept 1.

The most efficient models will be given five ticks, instead of the current four.

The least green products will have one tick. In the present system a product could receive a no-tick rating.

"Consumers can look forward to having better energy-efficient home appliances and better identify models which will translate to greater cost savings," said the agency in a statement.

These new labels, which are mandatory, will apply to air-conditioners and clothes dryers.

However, refrigerator ratings will only go up to four ticks as current models in the market do not even meet the revised four-tick rating.

Manufacturers of the three types of appliances are also required to state on the label the estimated energy cost of using the products in one year.

This is based on typical usage, energy consumption and an electricity tariff of 27 cents - the five-year average cost from 2009 to 2013.

The new labels will allow consumers to distinguish the top-performing green appliances.

For example, about 230 air-conditioner models have the maximum four ticks now.

This is despite some models being almost 50 per cent more efficient than others.

With the revision, only about 20 of the most-efficient models will get the new maximum five ticks.

The changes to differentiate products are a good move, said business analyst Allan Chia of SIM University, as consumers "should always be provided with sufficient information to consider before making a purchase".

Welcoming the new rating, housewife June Tan, 53, said: "Many ticks are better as it is more visual for me, and those who are less educated."

This article was published on Aug 23 in The Straits Times.

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