Energy Efficiency

July 2021

Energy Efficiency Star Ratings for refrigerated display cabinets sold in Australia and New Zealand.

This article is published by FPG reflecting our experience of applying new Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) calculations used to determine Star Ratings.

For official information on this topic, please visit the following websites:
Australia: Energy Rating
New Zealand: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

Context: The E3 Program

The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program is an initiative of the Australian and New Zealand Governments. The authorities have combined to deliver a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances.

The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act 2012 is the underpinning legislation for the program in Australia. In New Zealand, the applicable legislation is the Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002 administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

With effect from 1 July 2021, new regulations apply for Minimum Energy Performance Standards of refrigerated display cabinets (RDCs) sold in Australia and New Zealand.

The E3 program is the delivery mechanism to support the implementation of the new regulations. The program is administered by the Greenhouse Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Regulator, a division of the Australia Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Star Ratings

For RDCs, the information on energy efficiency is published online on the GEMS-administered Registration database. RDCs are allocated a Star rating out of 10 – the more stars a cabinet has, the higher the energy efficiency.

Stars are allocated based on prescribed energy efficiency calculations developed for each product category. In the case of RDCs, the calculation is based on power usage, coefficients determined by the cabinet’s product class, and the total display area of the cabinet.

The number calculated for an RDC is referred to as its EEI (Energy Efficiency Index). The EEI for a particular cabinet is compared to bands which map to stars on the Energy Efficiency Index table. To meet the regulation, the EEI for an RDC must be less than 130. The lower the EEI, the greater the number of stars.


Cabinet Calculated EEI for Cabinet EEI Band Number of Stars
A 50 45 ≤ EEI < 60 4
B 25 21 ≤ EEI <27 7

Comparing the two cabinets, the reader can see that cabinet B - with the higher number of stars - is more energy efficient than cabinet A.

Measuring Power Usage of RDCs

The following international standards prescribe the testing requirements, including the settings for the test room environment (known as the Climate Class), during which power usage for RDCs is recorded:

  • ISO 23953-1:2015 Refrigerated display cabinets - Part 1: Vocabulary.
  • ISO 23953-2:2015 Refrigerated display cabinets - Part 2: Classification, requirements and test conditions.

Power usage is influenced by both the core product temperature and the environment. The ISO 23953 standards are therefore important in enabling power consumption comparisons across RDCs for a given core product temperature range and Climate Class.

FPG RDCs are tested for the following conditions:

Cabinet Classification

Core Product Temperature

Test Room Environment (Climate Class 3)


Relative humidity

Dew point

Water vapour mass in dry air


-1°C - +4°C






-1°C - +5°C

FPG only focuses on food-safe cabinets tested for 3M0 and 3M1. There are further cabinet classifications such as 3M2 which are not compliant nor safe for perishable food products. 

Manufacturers like FPG are responsible for testing their RDCs. Documentation and test reports are submitted by the manufacturer to the relevant Government authority. The reports provided by manufacturers are scrutinised before the cabinet information is uploaded to the database, under the product category Refrigerated Cabinets:

FPG invested in its own environmental test chambers around 20 years ago which has enabled us to test cabinet energy consumption amongst other attributes. We have published kWh / hour (average) on our spec sheets for many years – one of the very few manufacturers internationally to have done so.

An FPG observation of applying EEIs

While implementing the new EEI calculations, at FPG we have made an observation. In determining energy efficiency, as you would expect the Total Display Area (TDA) is a key determinant. However, there is an odd rule in determining the TDA:

  • Solid ends (the sides of the cabinet) are excluded from the TDA which has the resultant effect of leading to a lower Star rating.
  • Transparent ends and cabinet tops such as those constructed from glass are included in the TDA which has the resultant effect of leading to a higher Star rating.

At FPG we believe that the TDA should be based on the internal refrigerated area of the RDC, irrespective of the material used in the construction of the cabinet ends and top.

To illustrate this, see this example from our own testing of the Visair Slimline Refrigerated 1800mm:

Ends Model EEI Index MEPS Pass/Fail Star Rating E24H (kWh/24 hours)
Glass IN-VSL18 50.52 Pass 4 21.36
Solid (PVC 25mm) IN-VSL18 65.76 Pass 3 21.36

These results are for the same cabinet model with the same display capacity:

  • The energy consumption is the same whether the cabinet is configured with glass ends or solid ends
  • The star ratings differ because of the EEI calculation rule described above.

The lesson? If you really want to know the energy performance, check the RDC’s Total Electrical Energy Consumption (TEC) expressed as E24H (kWh) in addition to the EEI. Conveniently, the TEC for an RDC is also reported in the GEMS database.

A few other tips if you are browsing the GEMS database:

  1. In the search criteria, we recommend that you exclude run-out products by unchecking this option in Basic Search. This means you are focusing your search only on current products.
  2. The category Refrigerated Cabinets includes a wide variety of cabinets from Refrigerated Display Cabinets to Refrigerated Storage Cabinets to Freezer cabinets. Further, the database reflects information from the old AS 1731.14 standard, the new ISO23953 standard, and the new storage cabinet standard EN 16825. As a result, there may be attributes listed which are not, or no longer, relevant under the new regulations for the cabinet you are searching for.
  3. Cabinet classifications matter. If you are looking for a food-safe refrigerated display cabinet then search for M Pack Temperature = M1 or M0.
  4. Make sure you are comparing like with like. For example, an open front refrigerated cabinet will be less energy efficient than the equivalent size enclosed cabinet. (See our article on the popularity of open front cabinets).

In conclusion, if you have a question about the energy efficiency rating for an FPG refrigerated cabinet, please ask your FPG sales representative.