Appliance Labelling
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energy efficiency

What are energy efficiency standards?

Energy efficiency standards are a set of procedures and regulations that prescribe the minimum energy performance of manufactured products. Together with labelling, energy efficiency standards can be the most cost-effective means to help South Africa reduce energy demand while stimulating economic growth.

How are these standards indicated?

The label that is used to indicate energy efficiency is similar to the label used in European Union (EU) member states. The only difference being that the EU flag is replaced by the energy star, the DoE symbol for the Energy Efficiency Initiative. All products that are legally imported or produced in South Africa carry the Energy Star, which will be visible in the bottom right corner of the appliance. Appliances will also carry a label indicating energy consumption.

How will appliances be graded?

Appliances will also be graded using capital letters from "A" to "G" to indicate the energy consumption of a product. A product with the letter "A" indicates it uses energy or electricity most efficiently, while a product with a "G" grading indicates the poorest performing product in that category of products, such as refrigerators. The grading A-G is determined by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). It is described in the relevant standard for each electrical appliance.

China has a very similar label with five levels instead of the EU's seven levels. North African countries such as Tunis have the same label in terms of A-G grading, but it is displayed slightly differently. In South Africa, we have chosen to adopt the label with the same standards used in Europe.

The minimum standards for many appliances have been adopted from the European market. This will enable products to flow freely between the continents without having to be re-tested and relabelled.

Experience from Europe, which introduced energy efficiency appliance labelling in 1994, has shown a significant increase in the purchase of products with a grading of A to C. A study by the International Energy Agency in 2003 showed how more efficient domestic appliances saved energy and reduced harmful emissions.

Where will I find the label?

The grading A to G will be found as part of the instruction manual inside the box of the appliance, but retailers can display the grading on the actual appliance if it has been un-packed and is on display. Initially, the use of labels will be voluntary, but it is foreseen that this will become mandatory. During this voluntary period the use of labelling and the grading of appliances will be market driven. Manufactures of household appliances decided to start the labelling initiative with refrigerators and freezers. This is mainly because most households typically buy a fridge as their first electrical kitchen appliance. The label was due in retail stores from around May 2005.

What does the label show?

The energy label on household appliances is clearly marked with:

Name of producer;
Model number;
Class number, indicated by a capital letter "A" or "B" or "C" or "D" or "E" or "F" or "G" to indicate the energy consumption of the appliance (with "A" being the most efficient, and "G" being the least efficient); and
Washing machines will be graded both in terms of washing performance and spinning performance, and water usage too if possible.

All products that are legally imported or produced in South Africa carry the Energy Star, which will be visible in the bottom right corner of the appliance.

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