Refrigerators are very important home appliances as they keep your groceries and vegetables cool and free from spoilage. However to do this the refrigerator has to be kept running virtually throughout the day, which can consume a lot of energy in the long run. According to the Department of Energy, a refrigerator typically makes up at least 13.7% of a home’s energy usage and the less energy efficient your refrigerator is, the higher your electricity bills will be.
Therefore, one of the most important factors you should look out for when purchasing your refrigerator is its energy usage. Therefore, you may be asking, what is an energy efficient fridge? How can you find the best energy efficient refrigerator? How do you reduce the cost of your electricity bill? All these and many other questions may come to your mind. This can be answered in just a few words: “Look out for the energy rating”.
What exactly is this energy rating? Here’s the energy star rating definition. It’s a ranking system that determines how energy efficient your refrigerator is on the energy star rating scale. This energy efficiency label is usually found attached to the refrigerator. It works to categorize refrigerators based on their power consumption.
The need to keep your fridge working for long hours demands that you purchase an energy efficient fridge. This would help reduce the cost of your electricity bills and increase the durability of your refrigerator. Now that you see its importance, we’ll show you what the star rating label may look like, take you through how to read the star label and help you find the best energy efficient refrigerator
Reading The Star Rating of a Fridge:
All appliances which use electricity are mandated to be affixed with an energy efficiency label. In most refrigerators, you will find an Energy guide label stuck on them to help you compare energy efficient refrigerators and to show how much energy they consume. These labels make come in different forms but majorly contain certain common features; this may include:
- Special features of the refrigerator model
- The projected cost of the annual running of the refrigerator based on the nation’s average usage.
- Energy consumption figure – the estimated amount of kWh used yearly.
- ENERGY STAR sticker with star ratings – more stars means more energy efficiency.
- Cost range to help better understand where the refrigerator cost lands in the cost range bracket.
- Other information like the make, model, and refrigerator capacity size.
Stars are used to give a rough estimate of how energy efficient the appliance is. The more stars, the more energy efficient it is. Appliances with more stars use less electricity to achieve the same level of performance as similar models which have the same size and capacity. When you have a 5-star energy rating, the percentage improvement after that is significantly small. The difference between a 9-star and 10-star refrigerator is 2%. Thus one can settle for the 5-star rated fridge or choose to go for higher ratings; this all depends on your personal preferences.
The second important part of the energy rating label is the energy consumption estimate. It provides an estimate of how much energy (in kilowatt-hours) the appliance will use over a year. This allows consumers to estimate how much it would cost them to run such an appliance. This is just an assumption and actual energy usage will depend on how the appliance is being used and how often. This estimation on refrigerators is based on a general assumption that the fridge or freezer is running for 24 hours a day. The lower the kWh figure the less energy it will use, so you should go for a refrigerator with a low figure.
Compare Products Using Star Rating
A refrigerator with a higher star rating will cost you more upfront. The higher the star rating the higher the initial cost. However, the cost can be recovered as there would be a reduction in subsequent electricity costs. The higher the star rating of a refrigerator, the less power it will consume, hence the lower your electricity bills. Though a higher star rating will cost you more initially, in the long run, you would be able to save more on your electricity bills. This would help compensate for the higher price and reward you as well in the future.
This is why it is usually advised to go for a higher-rated refrigerator, without second thoughts. You might think, what difference does one refrigerator make? It has a cumulative effect. Apart from improving your savings over a lifetime, it would also prevent millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
The energy guide label can also be used to calculate electricity cost; to work this out, you simply have to multiply the energy consumption number on the label by your local energy tariff, that is the price per kilowatt-hour in your region.
For example, using a national average of 28.55c per kWh, a fridge with an energy consumption of 400kWh will cost about $114.20 to run annually. Once you can get your annual cost, you can easily calculate your approximate lifetime cost (minimum of 10 years) by simply multiplying the annual running cost by 10 years and adding the purchase price.
This is a good way to compare the actual costs of products of the same kind, size, and capacity. Oftentimes a product with a higher purchase price and more stars ends up being more cost-effective than other similar products with lowers prices.
When comparing products there are certain things you should take note of:
- Compare the star rating of appliances of similar type, size, and capacity.
- You should calculate the annual running costs based on your power cost.
- Go for a model with more stars and lower energy consumption.
- Compare different appliances, like a fridge and oven
- Compare old ones with new models
Energy consumption represents “normal” use. For refrigerators, it is based on how much energy is used a day, as the fridge is always on. If you use the refrigerator less than this, you would use less energy, thus costing you less in the long run.
Lower Rated Fridge Compared to a 5-Star Fridge
When you look at the overall running cost of a refrigerator over a lifetime (minimum of 10 years) you tend to see the major advantages a high-rated fridge has over a lower-rated one.
- In durability and longevity; 5-star rated fridges tend to last longer than other low rates. They consume less energy and this helps to improve their durability and makes them serve you longer
- Though they cost more to purchase, they are more cost-effective over the long term. Lower star fridges tend to be more initially attractive as a result of their price, however, in the long run, the cost of running them tends to overcome that of the high rated fridge.
- The total cost of a 4-star fridge compared with a 5-star fridge can vary by around $300!
- High star fridges take time to become obsolete in the market compared to ones with lower stars. One-star fridges are usually the first to be removed from the market.
- A reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide as it consumes lesser energy.
Taking these benefits into consideration, it makes more sense to go for a more efficient fridge than a one with a low star rating. When comparing a one-star or two-star fridge with a five-star fridge, the difference in the overall cost of running is quite significant. Many might be drawn to the lower purchase prices the low star rating offers, but you should not neglect the long-term benefits a higher rated fridge would give you.
When choosing your energy efficient refrigerator, think about how much you want to spend, consider if you can pay the maintenance bills along the way, as well as the degree to which you are concerned about the environment. These three considerations should help you make the right choice of picking your perfect energy-efficient refrigerator.
Here we have done an approximate comparison and calculation for a two-star fridge and a five-star model.
The Two-star Model – Midea MS-196 156L 1-Door Refrigerator
- Retail price range: RM 559-679
- Energy used each year: 350kw
- Annual running cost: RM 84
- Running costs over 10 years: RM 840
- The total cost of ownership over 10 years: RM 1,459
- Total cost over decade per litre of capacity: RM 9.35
The Five-star Model – Faber 1 Door Single Door Fridge / Refrigerator Glass Door FRIGOR 168 BK (150L)
- Retail price range: RM 658-729
- Energy used each year: 119 Kwh
- Annual running cost: RM 29
- Running costs over 10 years: RM 290
- The total cost of ownership over 10 years: RM 984
- Total cost over decade per litre of capacity: RM 6.56
Is a 5-Star Fridge Better For The Environment?
YES! This is an addition to the benefits you can get from getting a 5-star fridge. Apart from personal benefits, purchasing a 5-star rated fridge also helps the environment at large. A lower star rating increases power consumption and ultimately causes a higher increase in carbon emissions.
When you begin to consider how much your home appliance affects not just you but the world in general you tend to put more effort into choosing the right product. Apart from personal energy savings and water savings, your harmful impact on the environment is greatly reduced when you change that less energy-efficient appliance for a more efficient one. It has been estimated that over 5 years you can reduce your carbon footprints by 3600 pounds by purchasing a 5-star rated refrigerator.
- What is the star rating for fridges?
All refrigerators have an energy efficiency star rating given to them. This is shown on the energy guide label stuck on the fridge. One star means the fridge is inefficient and consumes much energy and 5 stars are awarded to fridges that are more energy efficient. Some fridges may rank up to 10 stars though the improvements are minute at that point.
- Is star rating important when buying a fridge?
Yes! Star rating is very important. Not only does it help you compare fridges of similar kind, size and capacity but also helps you make the right choices of purchasing fridges with high star ratings. More stars mean more energy efficient and cost less to run.
- What is the most energy efficient refrigerator style or model?
One of the things that affects energy efficiency is the freezer placement. Where the freezer sits actually matters. The top-mounted freezer has earned the energy star certification as it tends to conserve more energy. The top-mounted freezer uses 10 to 30 percent less energy than the same models of side by side refrigerators.
One important factor to consider when choosing which fridge you buy is its energy efficiency. It is important to check the energy guide label of a refrigerator before purchasing. It shows the star rating as well as the energy consumption of the refrigerator. This helps you to compare the product with others of the same kind, size and capacity.
Fridges with high star ratings tend to be costlier initially, but in the long run, it proves to be more cost-effective as there is a reduction in power usage and thus a reduction in electricity bills. You are also doing the environment a favour by going for energy efficient fridges as they tend to emit less carbon dioxide.
You can also calculate the approximate lifetime cost of your refrigerator with the energy consumption number provided in the energy guide label. If you need a place to start feel free to have a look at the best fridges in Malaysia for all your budgets. A recommended 5 star rated refrigerator perfect for you would be the Electrolux 210L NutriFresh Inverter Top Mount Refrigerator.