Pacific Island countries (PICs) should now be able to better gauge the energy efficiency of refrigerators and freezers with new energy smart calculators that were developed by SPC’s Pacific Appliance Labelling and Standards (PALS) programme.

The energy smart calculator can be used to calculate the estimated running costs of refrigerators and freezers over one month, one year and ten years.

Energy Efficiency Adviser at SPC and project manager for the PALS programme, Makereta Sauturaga, said that often the main consideration when purchasing an appliance is the upfront price, and the running costs are ignored.

‘The energy smart calculator is a tool that can assist consumers in purchasing an energy efficient product, as they will know the energy consumption and running costs of the fridge or freezer before purchasing it,’ she said.

Using the paper-based calculator is simple: you identify the energy consumption (kWh per year) provided in the red box on the energy rating label attached to the appliance; select the same or the closest energy consumption from the calculator and it provides you with the estimated running costs.

Currently, the calculator is developed for refrigerating appliances only, as the majority of electrified households in the Pacific region have refrigerators. For example, recent studies conducted by SPC indicate that about 95 per cent of electrified households in Fiji, 73% in Tonga and 61% in Samoa have refrigerators.

So far, SPC has developed calculators for Fiji, Samoa and Kiribati; work on the Tongan version is in progress. All twelve PICs that are participating in the PALS programme will have their own versions of the calculator.

Ms Sauturaga stressed that developing legislation is a critical first step to underpinning a standards and labelling programme in PICs.

The PALS programme is designed to assist PICs implement labelling and standards for energy-using equipment such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and lighting. Australia has committed AUD 3 million over two years (2011–2012 and 2012–2013) and this will align with existing programmes and focus on building capacity in the region.