The FTC “Lighting Facts” Label: Questions and Answers for Manufacturers
Shopping for light bulbs is becoming easier. Thanks to changes in the Appliance Labeling Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, light bulb packaging will soon give consumers key information in an easy-to-read format.
The Lighting Facts label, modeled on the Nutrition Facts label on food packages, will give shoppers the information they need to buy the most energy-efficient bulb to meet their lighting needs. The label will include a light bulb's brightness, energy cost, life, light appearance and wattage. In addition, the principal display panel on the front of packaging will now focus on lumens, a measure of brightness, rather than watts, a measure of the amount of energy used, and will include the estimated yearly energy cost for each bulb. Bulbs themselves also will feature lumens, and in the case of CFLs, a mercury disclosure.
To help you comply with the new labeling requirements for common household light bulbs, FTC staff have prepared the following Q's and A's. The Commission's Federal Register Notice also has basic information about the new label requirements for light bulbs.
This information will simplify comparison shopping as new, higher efficiency light bulbs become available.
Which products require the new labels?
The FTC Lighting Facts label and principal display panel information must appear on packaging for most general service "lamps," or light bulbs, with medium screw bases. That includes most incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs. The Appliance Labeling Rule has several exceptions for various lamp types, so it's a good idea to review specific definitions for answers about coverage.
See 16 CFR § 305.2.
You must use Department of Energy (DOE) test procedures for general service incandescent lamps and medium base compact fluorescent lamps, which you can find at http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov:
|Lamp Type||DOE Test Procedure|
|General Service Incandescent Lamps||10 CFR § 430.23(r)|
|Medium Base Compact Fluorescent Lamps||10 CFR § 430.23(y)|
For lamp types not covered by these DOE tests, you must have — and rely on — competent and reliable scientific tests substantiating any representations on the Lighting Facts label. For representations of the light output and life ratings not covered by existing DOE tests, the FTC accepts, as a reasonable basis, scientific tests conducted according to the following applicable Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) protocols:
|For measuring light output (in lumens):|
|Compact Fluorescent||IES LM 66|
|General Service Incandescent (Other than Reflector Lamps)||IES LM 45|
|General Service Incandescent (Reflector Lamps)||IES LM 20|
|General Service Light-emitting Diode (LED or OLED) lamps||IES LM 79|
|For measuring laboratory life (in hours):|
|Compact Fluorescent||IES LM 65|
|General Service Incandescent (Other than Reflector Lamps)||IES LM 49|
|General Service Incandescent (Reflector Lamps)||IES LM 49|
See 16 CFR § 305.5.
Where can I get a copy of the labels to use on the packages I manufacture?
The FTC offers templates you can download and use to create your Lighting Facts and principal display panel labels.
You must ensure that you enter the correct data for your products. In addition, you may use labels with the ENERGY STAR logo only on qualified models listed on the ENERGY STAR website. Visit EnergyStar.gov for qualifications and qualified products.
What information must appear on the principal display panel?
The principal display panel on the front of the product package must be labeled clearly and conspicuously with:
- the light output of each lamp included in the package, expressed as "Brightness" in average initial lumens rounded to the nearest five; and
- the estimated annual energy cost of each lamp included in the package, expressed as "Estimated Energy Cost" in dollars and based on the average initial wattage, a usage rate of 3 hours per day, and 11 cents ($0.11) per kWh.
See 16 CFR § 305.15.
What information must appear on the Lighting Facts label?
The Lighting Facts label must be on the side or rear package panel. It must include:
- the light output of each lamp included in the package, expressed as "Brightness" in average initial lumens rounded to the nearest five;
- the estimated annual energy cost of each lamp included in the package based on the average initial wattage, a usage rate of 3 hours per day, and 11 cents ($0.11) per kWh;
- the life of each lamp included in the package, expressed in years rounded to the nearest tenth (based on 3 hours operation per day);
- the correlated color temperature of each lamp included in the package, as measured in degrees Kelvin, and expressed as "Light Appearance," and by a number and a marker placed proportionately on a scale where the left end equals 2,600 K and the right end equals 6,600 K;
- the wattage for each lamp included in the package, expressed as "Energy Used" in average initial wattage;
- the ENERGY STAR logo for qualified products, if you wish. Only manufacturers who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Energy or the Environmental Protection Agency may add the ENERGY STAR logo to labels on qualifying covered products, and they may add the ENERGY STAR logo to labels on only those products covered by the Memorandum of Understanding;
- the design voltage of each lamp included in the package, if other than 120 volts;
- for any general service lamp containing mercury, the following statement:
- "Contains Mercury / For more on clean up and safe disposal, visit epa.gov/cfl." You also may print an "Hg[Encircled]" symbol on the label after the term "Contains Mercury."
See 16 CFR § 305.15.
May I put other information on the Lighting Facts label?
No. The Lighting Facts label may not include any marks or information other than those specified in the Rule.
See 16 CFR § 305.15.
What information must appear on the light bulb itself?
You must print the following information on general service lamps:
- the lamp's average initial lumens, expressed as a number rounded to the nearest five, adjacent to the word "lumens," both in minimum 8 point font; and
- for general service lamps containing mercury, the following statement: "Mercury disposal: epa.gov/cfl" in minimum 8 point font.
See 16 CFR § 305.15.
What if the package is too small to fit the Lighting Facts label?
If the total surface area of the product package available for labeling is less than 24 square inches — and the package shape or size cannot accommodate the standard label — you may provide the information using a smaller linear label.
May I use a bilingual version of the label?
You may present the information in a second language in one of two ways: either by using separate labels for each language or by using a bilingual label with the English text in the format required by this section, immediately followed by the text in the second language. See a sample bilingual label. All required information must appear in both languages. Numeric characters identical in both languages need not be repeated. Note that the amendments don't allow a trilingual label.
See 16 CFR § 305.15.
What information must retailers post in catalogs and on websites selling general service lamps?
Any manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or private labeler who advertises a general service lamp on a website or in a print catalog must disclose clearly and conspicuously — on the page listing the lamp — all the information on the product's Lighting Facts label, either in the form of the manufacturer's Lighting Facts label, or in an otherwise clear and conspicuous manner. However, this requirement applies only to websites and print catalogs that contain the terms of sale, retail price, and ordering instructions for consumers.
For the "Light Appearance" disclosure on the Lighting Facts label, the website or catalog must disclose only the lamp's correlated color temperature in Kelvin (e.g., 2700 K).
See § 305.20.
What are the reporting requirements under the Rule?
The Rule has two reporting requirements for general service incandescent lamps and CFLs, but none yet for other general service lamps, like LEDs.
Before you distribute a new model (or a model subject to design or retrofit alterations that change the energy data), you must report the energy consumption or efficiency of the model to the FTC.
- Annual Reports for All Models
You must submit an annual report with information for all general service incandescent and CFL models in current production, as well as data for models that have been discontinued within the last year and are no longer in production. Annual reports are due March 1 for medium base compact fluorescent lamps and general service incandescent lamps.
- New Models
The FTC makes the data available to the public at ftc.gov/appliancedata.
See 16 CFR § 305.8.
Do the labels need approval by the FTC before they're placed on the products?
No. The Rule doesn't require you to get FTC "approval" before labeling and selling these products. But you must meet the FTC reporting requirements before distributing covered products. In addition, you must comply with the Rule's testing requirements (See What test procedures must I use for the Lighting Facts label?).
What prompted this change to the labeling requirements?
In the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Congress directed the Commission to consider the effectiveness of its labeling requirements. After seeking and reviewing comments, the Commission published its final amendments to the Appliance Labeling Rule in July 2010.
When do the new labeling requirements take effect?
The new labeling requirements become effective January 1, 2012, but don't apply to 100-watt or 75-watt incandescent bulbs, which will be phased out by January 2012 and January 2013 federal efficiency standards, respectively. However, 100-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulb packages must continue to display lumens, watts, and life (in hours).