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The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) programme is a joint programme between the Australian and New Zealand governments to instill a single programme with aligned energy standards and labelling for equipment and appliances including computers, dishwashers, refrigeration appliances, lighting, heating and cooling appliances, televisions and even video games consoles.
Each item of electrical equipment is rated from six stars (ten stars for televisions) for the most efficient products to one star for the least energy efficient ones. The labelling system is part of the efforts of government and industry to encourage consumers to purchase products that are more energy efficient. These labels contain information including energy consumption figures (kWh) and star ratings that are available for consumers to view. Historically, products that were sold online were not required to display these labels. However, online retailers such as applianceonline.com.au have voluntarily included this information on their websites. A government committee is also examining the viability of a move towards zone-based energy efficiency labelling systems for some products such as air conditioners and heaters due to influential factors such as air and water temperature and humidity. These zone-based labels display key information based on the different regions in Australia and New Zealand and also clearly identify products that are unsuited to particular climatic conditions. This information has so far had a profound impact on the consumer decision-making process in consumer appliances. Furthermore, as energy and water prices continue to rise in Australia, consumers are likely to increasingly look for consumer appliances with higher energy and water efficiency ratings.
The shift towards energy efficient consumer appliances is set to remain a key driver of growth in consumer appliances due to the rising consumer awareness of environmental issues and the strong desire to reduce household costs at a time of rising energy and water prices. Manufacturers are expected to further develop energy efficient appliances so as to entice consumers as energy and water efficiency remains among the key purchasing decisions for consumers in Australia. Retailers, meanwhile, whether store-based retailers internet retailers, are set to actively respond to the growing trend towards energy and water efficiency as well as offering more convenient services in terms of the collection and recycling of old appliances, with the result that more consumers will be encouraged to replace their old consumer appliances for more energy and water efficient models, thus helping to drive growth across the Australian consumer appliances market.