Today’s Big Deals
2020 has been a wild ride—both for the environment and us, the people living in it. At the turn of the year, global warming worsened bush fires in neighbouring Australia to devastating effect (source). In the time that we have been stuck at home, our environment gained a brief respite, yet our wallets might have suffered.
Image: New Delhi on 17/10/2019, and 08/04/2020.
After 21 days of lockdown, the lack of human industrial activity has allowed air pollution levels to drop.
(Photos taken by: Anushree Fadnavis and Adnan Abidi/Reuters).
Staying home means using our air-cons/ fans for longer. This translates into higher electricity bills, made worse if our appliances are of low energy efficiency. But our environment also pays, because the more energy we use, the higher our carbon emissions. This worsens global warming. According to Prof van Oldenborgh and colleagues, a rise of 2°C in global temperatures would see Australia type bush fires occurring at least 4 times more often (source). However, we can still change things by making smarter purchasing decisions. So, to save the environment and our wallets, let us discuss energy efficiency labels.
The Minimum Energy Performance Standard (or MEPS) refers to the minimum energy efficiency an appliance must fulfil in order to be sold or supplied in Malaysia. It was introduced following an amendment to the Electricity Regulation in 2013. The list of appliances requiring adherence to the MEPS is constantly being updated, and whilst there are yet plans for further inclusions, these are the items currently regulated:
4) Domestic Fans
6) Washing Machines (added Sep 2018)
7) *Microwave Ovens (added Mar 2020)
8) *Electric Rice Cookers (added Apr 2020)
*Depending on the time of your reading, labelling for these appliances may have yet been fully implemented.
Except for lamps, all appliances that have passed the MEPS, are required to affix an energy efficiency rating label.
Energy efficiency label for MEPS-compliant appliances in Malaysia (Energy Commission of Malaysia, 2018).
Most of us have probably seen this label. If you have read the previous post about Singapore’s label, the concept is similar: the more stars awarded, the better the energy efficiency. That said, there are important differences. Whether or not you have read the other post (don’t worry), I will run through the important details, including the scope, the star rating and the calculations for the annual energy consumption.
Each appliance category has specific guidelines outlining the scope, MEPS values and the methods of assessment for the star rating. A well-defined scope is necessary because even amongst light bulbs or televisions, there are different technologies and capacities that cannot be compared like apples to oranges. Certain appliances are also exempted. The scope of each category is given below:
So that you, our dear readers, do not have to suffer the same headache I had poring through the details, I have summarised the calculations into a few key points:
Confusingly, the stars on the labels go from 2-5 since a rating of 1 star is deemed to have failed the MEPS.
The different capacities and technologies have been accounted for mathematically, so do not worry about bad comparisons.
For TVs and fridges, 3 stars denote the average energy efficiency. Therefore, try to go for 4 or 5 stars.
While other appliances do not follow the same calculations, a higher star rating is still preferable.
Lamps do not have a star rating since they are not labelled. However, they must adhere to minimum performance values.
For more information on exact MEPS values and the mathematical equations used, check out the references for the guidelines.
This portion of the label may seem straightforward. However, everyone uses their appliances differently, and if there is a huge discrepancy between the label and your utility bill, this table might help you adjust your estimations:
Now that you know more about the labels, you are better equipped to make smart choices for both the Earth and your wallet. Even if more energy efficient appliances sometimes cost more, the long-term savings you get from utility bills would more than cover it.
https://www.st.gov.my/en/contents/article/consumer/2014/EE-29_april_2014/Calc_Domestic_fan-29_april_2014.pdf (Domestic Fan)
https://www.st.gov.my/contents/2020/Label%20Cekap%20Tenaga/Guidelines/Energy%20Efficiency%20Labelling%20Guideline%20for%20Washing%20Machine.pdf (Washing Machine)
https://www.st.gov.my/contents/2020/Downloads/Guide%20on%20MEPS%20Microwave%20Oven%20Issue%20Date%2001%20MARCH%202020.pdf (Microwave Oven)
https://www.st.gov.my/contents/2020/Label%20Cekap%20Tenaga/Guidelines/Energy%20Efficiency%20Labelling%20Guideline%20for%20Electric%20Rice%20Cooker%20(3).pdf (Rice Cooker)