Air conditioners and heat pumps

Air conditioners and heat pumps must comply with minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) if they’re to be sold in New Zealand. MEPS currently apply to single phase and three phase units and multi-split units. Single-phase non-ducted air conditioners and heat pumps must also display the energy rating label.

In May 2019, New Zealand Cabinet approved the E3 policy proposal for air conditioners/heat pumps.

65kW and under

The proposal includes:

  • Adopting a new energy rating scale and label, based on international methodology, which identifies how air-conditioners perform in different climate zones.
      • The new rating scale will assess winter heating performance more accurately for New Zealand consumers.
      • The revised label has been available for use in Australia from April 2019 on a voluntary basis. Early voluntary registrations are also open in New Zealand for the purpose of labelling.
  • Increasing New Zealand’s residential cooling MEPS to Australia’s levels.
  • Lowering the MEPS level for double-ducted portable air conditioners and introduce MEPS at the same level for single-ducted models.
  • Resolving minor technical issues with air conditioner regulations. These include the removal of a separate H21 MEPS, simplification of multi-split2 registrations, application of MEPS to outdoor units sold as a stand-alone product, inclusion of noise rating requirements, update to the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio degradation co-efficient.
  • In addition, products not required to display an Energy Rating label must provide test data to calculate the total cooling seasonal performance factor and demand response capability. Where applicable, data must be provided for heating seasonal performance factor and sound power. All registrations must continue to declare whether a product is demand response capable as per AS4755.

At present, EECA and MBIE are working with the Parliamentary Counsel Office to amend the Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002 to include the above proposal. This is expected to come into force 1 July 2020.

Above 65kW

Larger air conditioning units rated at a capacity 65 kilowatts (kW) or more are not currently covered by minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) in New Zealand. They are used mainly in commercial and industrial premises.

The E3 proposal, agreed to by COAG in December 2018 and New Zealand Cabinet in May 2019, introduces MEPS for air-conditioners/heat pumps with a capacity over 65kW in New Zealand. This will commence no earlier than 1 April 2021. 

The Australian Exposure Draft Determination has been released for consultation. Whilst this document is an Australian legal instrument, EECA intends to implement these measures into the New Zealand Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002. It is our intention to harmonise New Zealand’s requirements and timing with those proposed for Australia.

For more information on the Exposure draft and how to provide comments visit the Energy Rating website below.

Exposure draft information - Energy Rating Website

Consultation and documents

Two rounds of consultation on this proposal occurred in 2016.

More information on the new requirements and the consultation that has occurred is available on the Energy Rating website.

Determination - Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Air Conditioners up to 65kW) 2019 - Energy Rating Website

Explanatory Statement - Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Air Conditioners up to 65kW) Determination 2019 - Energy Rating Website

Decision RIS – Air conditioners – Energy Rating Website

Updated policy proposals - Air conditioners and chillers - Energy Rating website

Air conditioners - Energy Rating website

To make an enquiry or be kept up to date on the progress of this proposal, contact regs@eeca.govt.nz.


H2 is the heating output performance factor of a heat pump when tested at 2 degrees ambient, this measure has been replaced by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating (SEER rating) which is the total seasonal performance factor (heating or cooling) divided by the total seasonal energy consumption (heating or cooling). The higher the SEER ratio the more efficient the appliance is at heating or cooling during a given summer or winter season.

A multi-split heat pump typically has one outdoor unit and a combination of indoor units.