Energy Star Ratings

Energy Star Ratings

Energy Star Ratings

Energy Star Ratings are an important consideration when buying electrical appliances. Not only can buying a top-rated appliance save you money in the long term, it can help New Zealand achieve emissions targets, too.

In this article, we’ll look at the Energy Star Rating system in New Zealand and how it applies to your heat pump purchase.

 

What Are Energy Star Ratings?

Energy Star Ratings are awarded by the New Zealand EECA, a government agency that works to improve the energy efficiency of New Zealand's homes and businesses. They also encourage the uptake of renewable energy. 

The Energy Star Rating product mark is awarded to products and appliances with superior energy efficiency within their category. This is a voluntary programme where industry partners identify and promote superior energy efficient products.

You can find the Energy Star rating on a sticker attached to the appliance, itself, or in sales literature provided by manufacturers and dealers. The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance.

 

Why Are Energy Star Ratings Important?

There are many good reasons to improve energy efficiency.

One obvious reason, for consumers, is that energy efficient appliances have lower operating costs compared to those that aren’t energy efficient.

When you consider the lifetime of a typical appliance, the electricity savings over many years could be significant. Compare that to a low cost appliance that consumes a lot of electricity and it may end up costing a significant amount if it has higher running costs.

In New Zealand, lower energy use could mean less need for building new energy generation infrastructure, which helps preserve natural rivers and scenic beauty.

Energy efficiency leads to innovation. If the public demand low energy appliances, manufacturers will invest in energy-efficient innovations, which in turn can lead to product breakthroughs among manufacturers.

“For instance, standards that started in 2012 requiring light bulbs to be at least 25% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs spawned an array of new lighting products. From LED streetlights to flame-shaped, dimmable candelabra CFLs, energy-efficient lights are just as pleasing to the eye as the old bulbs but use far less energy”

Consumer uptake of low-energy appliances is therefore an important step to achieve positive environmental and innovation outcomes.

 

How Are Energy Ratings Determined

Products and appliances must comply with EECA criteria in order to be awarded a star rating.

For example, air heating efficiency is the amount of heating capacity per unit of energy it consumes. The lowest performing products tend to be rated at one star whilst better performing products are awarded more stars.

New Zealand Standards define algorithms and test procedures for measuring energy consumption and minimum energy performance criteria.  

 

How To Choose An Energy Efficient Heat Pump

 

Heat pumps are the one of the most efficient ways of using electricity to heat your home.

Like other electrical appliances, many heat pumps for sale in New Zealand are Energy Star rated. The more stars, the more energy efficient a unit is - red stars are for heating efficiency and blue stars are for cooling.

A heat pump label has two numbers that can tell you more about the heat pump's performance:

  • Capacity output - the amount of heating or cooling (kW) you will get out of the heat pump (at its rated capacity, at 7˚C)
  • Power input - the amount of power the heat pump uses (kW) to produce the cool or hot air.

You can also use the numbers to calculate heating efficiency of a heat pump - the higher the ratio, the more efficient it is.

  • Coefficient of Performance (COP) - the ratio between the heating power input and capacity output, for example 4.75 divided by 1.64 = 2.90
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) - the ratio between the cooling input and output, for example 4.45 divided by 1.61 = 2.76.

Given that many households typically use their heat pumps regularly, it pays to buy one that is super energy efficient. Here is a list of Energy Star qualified heat pumps. These pumps cover both single room air-to-air heat pumps and ducted heat pump systems.

Also, the Energy Star tests show that some heat pumps struggle to perform at cold outside temperatures just above freezing point, so it is important to select the right heat pump for your region.

Qualified models are tested to perform well and efficiently at 2°C – provided they are the right size for the room area. However, if you live in a cool climate, ask your supplier if the heat pump you're looking at performs well in cooler temperatures and get the right size for the room you want to heat.

Here is a checklist to follow when selecting an energy efficient Heat Pump:

  • Insulate first - starting with your ceiling and floor. You'll be able to buy a smaller heat pump and your home will be cheaper to heat and cool effectively.
  • Choose a quality brand - look for at least a 5-year warranty on parts and labour.
  • Make sure it's correctly sized for the room you want to heat. If it's too small, it may cost you more to run and will struggle to provide enough heat when you most need it.
  • Make sure it is well-installed. Installers should comply with the EECA Good practice guide to heat pump installation. Correct location and installation of both outdoor and indoor units is essential for optimum performance and for avoiding draughts and noise nuisance.
  • Make sure it’s right for your area. As the temperature drops, so does the performance of many heat pumps. A good quality unit - sized and installed correctly - should perform effectively down to minus 15°C.

 

  • Make sure it’s right for your environment - in geothermal areas or coastal areas, heat pumps need to have protection against corrosion.

 

Summary

Before you install a heat pump, it’s a good idea to insulate your ceiling and your floor. This will help retain heat, meaning that you won’t require as much electricity to heat your room.

Look into quality brands of heat pumps and compare the star ratings. The cheapest may turn out to be the most expensive when running costs are considered.

You need the right sized heat pump for the rooms you want to heat. A trusted, expert supplier will help you determine the best size of heat pump to heat your rooms effectively.

 

Further Reading:

 

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