January 31, 2023
Changes Coming to Lighting Facts Label
FTC proposes numerous changes to address sources, online shopping, updated kWh and language
The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Energy Labeling Rule (Rule) may soon be expanded and updated to address the changing landscape of LED lamp market. The Rule currently requires light bulb manufacturers to provide a Lighting Facts label that gives consumers key information about the light source in an easy-to-read format. The Lighting Facts label gives shoppers the information they need to buy the most energy-efficient bulb to meet their lighting needs.
In October, the FTC published in the Federal Register an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the Energy Labeling Rule ("Rule"), with a December 27, 2022, comment deadline. The Commission has since decided to extend the comment period to today, January 31, 2023. This measure was brought to our attention by David Shiller at LightNOW and Lighting Solution Development.
Lighting Facts is still a thing
Confusion may have arisen years ago due to the closure of the voluntary Department of Energy (DOE) LED Lighting Facts® program, which is separate from the FTC labels. On March 1, 2018, the DOE stopped accepting new lighting facts products for that agency’s program. The end of DOE’s program does not affect the existing consumer Lighting Facts labels that the FTC Rules require.
Additional Lamps (Light Bulbs):
The Rule does not currently require labels for all types of lower-brightness lamps. However, these products can consume a significant amount of energy. Specifically, the current coverage does not include lamps lower than 310 lumens and 30 watts. This leaves certain lamp types, particularly 25-watt incandescent bulbs, uncovered. A single such incandescent bulb can cost consumers more than $3 per year in electricity costs, which can add up if multiple bulbs are used in a home. The LED equivalent for such bulbs, however, has an annual energy cost of about 50 cents. These products are not currently covered by DOE standards.
In addition to the general questions listed above, the FTC is also seeking input on whether the Commission should amend the Rule's coverage to include such lower brightness bulbs or any other lighting products (e.g., full color “tunable” lamps with adjustable color and CCT)
Requiring Links to Online Lighting Facts Labels
The Commission also seeks comment on whether the Rule should require lamp manufacturers to include information regarding their Lighting Facts labels with their data reports required by the DOE. The Commission did not extend this requirement to Lighting Facts labels in 2016 given appropriation restrictions at the time placed on DOE spending related to light bulbs.
Updating Cost Figures for Lighting Facts and Ceiling Fan Labels
The Commission also seeks comment on whether it should update the electricity cost disclosure on the Lighting Facts and ceiling fan labels to reflect recent DOE national estimates. Currently, the Lighting Facts label uses 11 cents per kWh, while the ceiling fan label uses 12 cents. The current (2022) DOE national estimate for electricity (rounded) is 14 cents per kWh.
The Commission seeks comment on whether it should update these numbers and, if so, when the change should become effective to allow manufacturers to incorporate such changes into routine package updates and thus minimize any burden associated with such changes.
Bilingual Label Guidance
The current Rule offers guidance to manufacturers who choose to use bilingual labels for Lighting Facts, including guidance on label content and format. Should the Rule offer similar guidance on bilingual labels for the other consumer products covered by the Rule? Are there other improvements that could be made to the Rule that would help non-English speaking or multilingual consumers with their purchasing decisions?
Individuals seeking to learn more or seeking to submit comments can learn more on the FTC website.