Televisions get energy rating labels



TV with energy label

Credit: iStockphoto

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Television manufacturers are, on a voluntary basis, introducing energy rating labels for TVs sold in Australia, months before a mandatory labelling scheme kicks in.

The labels, which are already mandatory for appliances like fridges and washing machines, indicate how energy-efficient the appliance is, with a star rating for quick comparisons and an estimate of the annual energy consumption of the appliance.

They are currently being voluntarily applied to products from major manufacturers Sony, Sharp and Panasonic, before the government-run, mandatory labelling scheme for televisions begins in October this year.

From October televisions will also have to have a rating of one star or better to be sold, and that minimum star rating is likely to be increased in 2012.

The energy star label is the best-understood and most recognised environmental label in Australia, said Choice policy officer Victoria Coleman, who noted that making the label compulsory for other appliances has had good results.

"It's really driven industry to improve the efficiency their products," Coleman said.

To get a rating for the label, televisions must be tested to a government-set standard, and the less energy they use to give a set level of performance, the higher their star rating.

An annual consumption figure is also calculated, based on the television being on for 10 hours a day and on standby the rest of the time, to help consumers compare the running costs of different models.

Televisions are now the fourth-largest consumers of energy in the home, said a spokesperson from the Department of Environment, and a large widescreen television can use more electricity than a medium-sized fridge each day.

"Without Government action, television energy use is predicted to double between 2004 and 2014," Environment Minister Peter Garrett said when he announced the labelling scheme last year.

Interest in the energy efficiency of televisions has been on the rise among consumers too, said Sony spokesperson Nina Hearne, prompted by environmental concerns and renewed interest in cutting household expenditure.

One in four Australian households buys a new TV each year, and while energy efficiency is often not on the typical shopper's initial checklist, it becomes an important factor when they have narrowed down their choice to just a few products, according to the Department of Environment's Energy Rating website.