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The energy labelling system for gas appliances was developed by AGA in the early 1980’s, and AGA made it mandatory to use the label for water heaters, ducted heaters and space heaters in 1995.
The purpose of its development was to enable consumers to differentiate between the efficiency of gas products, to encourage innovation by manufacturers and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
AGA included the energy efficiency methods of testing as well as the design of the labels in the relevant gas appliance AG Codes, in addition to the safety related requirements. They were subsequently carried over to the relevant Australian Standards when AGA transferred the gas appliance and component AG Codes to Standards Australia in 2003. The methods of testing for most of the appliances have not changed and still remain as were originally developed in the relevant Australian Standards.
The star rating and red band shading to be marked on the energy label (an example for ducted heaters shown above), is calculated by formulas developed in the 1980’s and 1990’s. These formulas take into consideration the measured heat delivered by the appliance and the total energy the appliance consumes over a set period depending on the specific appliance type. There are also other inputs the formulas include such as “system factors” for ducted heaters and “start-up heat capacities” for instantaneous water heaters.
At that time, AGA designed the energy labels to have a maximum of “6” stars displayed (see above example) as yielded by the formulas in the Standards. It is possible however, for a value higher than “6” stars to be calculated by using the formulas due to the number of inputs they have. In view of this, it was made a requirement to cap the number of stars displayed to “6” given that appliances generally yielded less than “2” stars during that time.
As technology improved over the years, manufacturers developed new products having energy star ratings up to the limit of “6” stars. In more recent times, some appliances have produced calculated results exceeding “6” stars, however as originally designed, the energy label displayed on the appliance cannot show any higher number. AGA does not publish any calculated value over “6” stars in the AGA Product Directory and keeps any higher value calculated confidential. On these occasions, the AGA Product Directory will only display the maximum limit of “6” stars. Outside AGA’s Certification Scheme’s scope, some manufacturers market the calculated star rating result yielded from the testing process.
Preliminary discussions with regulatory authorities and AGA suggest that it may be time for Standards Australia to review and amend the energy labelling system for gas appliances. When reviewed, AGA will represent its members on the relevant Standards Australia committees and contribute to the updating and improvement of the energy labelling system.