Lighting, non-domestic fans, swimming pool pumps, commercial refrigerated storage and display cabinets, airconditioning, and domestic fridges and freezers have been named the six priority areas of the national Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program.

Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg said that as chair of the COAG Energy Council, the federal government had “led the way” in establishing the new priority areas.

“These changes could save Australian households hundreds of dollars on their energy bills,” he said. “For example, using energy rating labels on appliances like air conditioners will better inform consumers about appliance efficiency and could save an average household more than $240 a year.

“Further, [the changes] could have substantial environmental benefits, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 29 million tonnes to 2030 and significantly reducing mercury content in fluorescent lamps.”

The Lighting Council of Australia welcomed the focus on lighting, and said the E3 program was engaged in “significant work” around lighting, including an option to phase out a range of existing lighting technologies in favour of LEDs.

“LEDs can deliver significant environmental and other benefits compared to traditional halogen lamps and gas discharge technologies such as fluorescent lamps,” LCA chief executive Bryan Douglas said.

Aside from being five times more energy efficient than halogen lamps, Mr Douglas said LEDs also had the benefit of being free of mercury, as well as outperforming on longevity, durability, controllability and maintenance costs.

“While there have been quality problems with LEDs, particularly in the early stages of their development, there are excellent products now available for the vast majority of applications,” Mr Douglas said.

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia welcomed the focus on airconditioning and refrigeration equipment.

AREMA president Mark Padlock said a recent government report had found that the airconditioning and refrigeration industry used just over 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity.

“Energy efficiency benefits the economy by ensuring we have new and efficient technologies that keep energy use and costs low,” Mr Padlock said.

“It benefits industry by providing certainty to enable long-term investments, particularly in research and development, and it further benefits the environment by reducing energy use and the emissions they create.”

He said that the government’s work on improving products at point of sale was “absolutely necessary”.

“We also ask the government to develop policy to better ensure that products are installed and maintained appropriately so that the public and environment actually gains the benefits on offer with this new highly efficient equipment.”

Mr Frydenberg said the changes would help significantly with the government’s National Energy Productivity Plan, which aims to increase energy productivity by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2030.