Why are we reviewing hot water systems?

  • Hot water makes up 23% of residential energy use in Australia and 28% in New Zealand.
  • Consumers do not have the appropriate information to make informed choices about the energy use of hot water systems and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) date back to 1999 for electric and gas storage water heaters and are overdue for review. Other water heaters are not subject to MEPS.
  • There is no agreed or consistent way of comparing products across technologies or incorporating new developments in water heating. However there are some industry-based systems.

What outcome are we seeking?

A review of the hot water policy will offer a number of potential benefits and opportunities for change, including:

  • consistent regulation of all hot water systems available for purchase irrespective of technology type
  • consistent, mandatory energy labelling allows consumers and installers greater access to information to make well informed purchasing decisions
  • changes to consumer purchasing behaviours to favour more energy efficient hot water products will reduce household energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • greater alignment of the standards and regulations for hot water products across Australia and New Zealand with potential to use international standards and test methods

How is this work happening?

Government wants to work with the hot water industry to come up with practical and effective solutions.

The first phase of the project was the development of a policy framework and roadmap.

Hot water systems policy framework [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Hot water systems roadmap [PDF, 496 KB]

Industry and stakeholder engagement

Stakeholders were invited to comment on the discussion document and the proposed policy framework document. Twenty-four written submissions were received from a range of interested parties with diverse perspectives.

Phase 2 (the current phase) of the project will develop a relational database of current hot water systems available in Australia and New Zealand. This includes and an evaluation methodology suitable for assessing the energy efficiency of all hot water system technologies. Water draw off profiles (tapping profiles) will be conducted across Australia and New Zealand. This will to provide consumer hot water consumption data to enable comparability of technologies for different consumer profiles. These activities will address stakeholder feedback from Phase 1.

What systems are being reviewed?

  • Electric storage
  • Gas storage
  • Instantaneous gas
  • Heat pump technology
  • Instantaneous electric
  • Solar hot water with electric boost

How will consumers benefit?

New standards and better information on hot water systems can save households money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.