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Energy Label Singapore: Tick Ratings for Aircon Units



In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, countless innovations have shaped the way we live.


When it comes to choosing products and services, people generally consider two important factors: the initial cost and the sustainability of the product, as individuals are increasingly aware of the harmful effects associated with certain choices.


To address these concerns, the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore, a public organization dedicated to achieving a sustainable environment, has launched various campaigns and initiatives.


One such effort involves the creation and utilization of a mandatory energy labelling scheme adorned with green tick measurements.


These energy labels serve as a useful tool for consumers, enabling them to easily and quickly identify and choose appliances that save energy, even without specialized knowledge of energy labels.


That said, you might still be curious about what those ticks actually mean.

In that case, join us as we break down what the energy label on electrical appliances means!



What do the ticks on energy labels mean?


The ticks system is based on the Mandatory Energy Labeling Scheme (MELS), which was introduced in 2008.


At that time, most appliance technologies were quite undeveloped, and hence a system of zero to four ticks was used to classify the energy usage of different home appliances.


Basically, the more green ticks, the less power consumption, and the higher the efficiency of the product.


The objective was to enable customers to identify the most energy-efficient options at the purchase point alone, improving energy efficiency and lowering their electricity bill.


This system was revised in September 2014, making it even more user-friendly and comprehensive.


It shifted to a 5-ticks system with a minimum rating of 1 tick as the concept of no ticks was often confusing for customers.


Depending on the appliance types, they are measured differently via different energy performance metrics:

  • Air conditioners: Based on annual estimated energy cost and Coefficient of Performance (COP)

  • Refrigerators: Measured using the Annual Energy Consumption (AEC) metric.

  • Dryers and washing machines: Assessed with Energy Consumption (EC), and water consumption, per wash


Okay, then, what is MEPS?


The Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) regulate household appliances, ensuring that only energy-efficient appliances reach the market.


Spearheaded by the NEA, Singapore's continuous efforts to promote more energy-efficient products are driving the nation towards a more sustainable future with reduced carbon emissions.


In a significant move, the NEA announced in June 2021 that it would be raising the MEPS level for several appliance types, further strengthening energy efficiency standards.


Starting from 2022, these four appliances must have at least two NEA ticks before they can be sold:

  1. Refrigerators

  2. Clothes dryers

  3. Casement aircon units

  4. Window air conditioners

In the same announcement, split-type air conditioners will have their MEPS raised by 7% within the NEA two-tick range, which means that only more energy-efficient models will be allowed to be sold in Singapore.



Understanding Tick Rating on the NEA Energy Label for Aircon Units



When it comes to air conditioning units, they can be broadly classified into two main categories:


Residential air conditioner units: Catered to individual homes and include casement, window, single-splits, and multi-split units.


Commercial air conditioner units: Designed for larger spaces and are commonly referred to as VRV/VRF aircon units


Now, let's take a closer look at what each tick represents in terms of energy efficiency:


1 Tick: Low


It is not advisable to buy this type of aircon unit because it will cost you a lot of money to run monthly.


This is the lowest tick rating that an aircon unit can have, but Singapore no longer allows the sale of air conditioners below 2 ticks.


2 Ticks: Fair


Aircon units with 2 ticks are considered to have fair energy efficiency.


While they provide a basic level of efficiency, it still requires fairly high electricity consumption, leaving much room for improvement.


3 Ticks: Good


Units with 3 ticks are considered to have good energy efficiency with a coefficient of performance ( COP) of between 3.34 and 3.06.


4 Ticks: Very Good


This rating is an excellent energy rating because your aircon unit uses less energy to cool or warm your house.


That means you will spend less on power, even if you have to keep your aircon unit on all day long.


5 Ticks: Excellent


At the top of the energy efficiency scale are aircon units with 5 ticks. They are typically only found on high-end aircon units.


These aircon units are the most efficient models on the market, with the best cost savings, and reducing your carbon footprint significantly. Additionally, these units will last a long time as it induces less wear and tear.


And the best part: a 5-tick aircon unit will run at a lower-than-normal capacity and still keep your home cool and comfortable!



So, what are the benefits of the tick rating system?



Facilitates Informed Consumer Decisions

When it comes to purchasing air conditioning units, customers often find themselves bombarded with advertisements and information that can be misleading.


However, this clear indication of performance on every aircon unit will help consumers quickly identify the best choice.


Fosters Innovation and Technological Advancements

The government hopes to inculcate better innovation and techniques for the design of aircon units and other electronic appliances with its initiatives.


Since there only a handful of appliances currently meet the coveted 5-ticks category, there will be healthy competition to attain that status.


Also, since the requirement of a 2-tick minimum, manufacturers will strive to improve their technology as no one wants to provide appliances with minimal compliance energy ratings.


The competition to achieve higher performance ratings has spurred a wave of research and development, leading to advancements in the design and functionality of air conditioning units.


Reduced Environmental Impact

Advancements in air conditioning technology not only benefit consumers but also aids to mitigate climate change.


As these innovative technologies continue to evolve, the strain on the environment is significantly reduced through improved resource utilization.


Factors such as pollution and other harmful elements associated with electronic appliances are also greatly diminished.



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