Energy ratings recalibrated for newer appliances
Fri, 19 Mar 2010 9:50p.m.
By Kim Choe
New energy efficiency ratings are coming to a fridge near you, and it's all because fridges are becoming more and more energy efficient.
It will mean manufacturers will now have to aim higher to pass the test, and the new system is giving retailers the jitters.
A fridge that used to get three-and-a-half stars is now only worth one-and-a-half.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has cooled the star rating because some fridges are so efficient, they're rating off the scale.
"There are still more opportunities to make them more efficient, so what we're doing is re-setting the stars we all see when we buy an appliance," says Mike Underhill, EECA CEO.
This means reducing each fridge's rating by about two stars, but manufacturers aren't too concerned about the impression that might give potential buyers. Instead, they're responding to the challenge.
"Energy efficiency is important to our customers," says Ricahrd Bollard. "We have exceeded the current six-star scheme, and it's a high priority for our engineering to get back there."
However, the people in charge of selling their products are worried about how it'll affect their reputation.
"The main concern as a retailer is customers' confusion," says Warwick Sherrard. "Coming in, us supplying a product that we as salespeople know is a four-star, and the new rating confusing them that it's only a two-star or a one-star - that's our concern - that it's going to scare customers."
The new rating scale was supposed to become mandatory on April 1. But there's been a delay in getting government approval, so for now there's a potentially confusing mix of new and old labels in stores.
"If you're at all confused, just look at the number of kilowatt hours and you can see immediately which the most efficient is," says Mr Underhill.
But that might be cold comfort for retailers.
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22/03/2010 9:56:36 a.m.
Sydney Sheldon wrote:
It's not that hard, and hasn't this been done before? Fridges today are twice as energy efficient as those made 10 - 15 years ago, so this is just natural progress. Plus manufacturers and retailers have all known about this change since in 2008.
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