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Same name, two different labels

Same name, two different labels

The Dept. of Energy has something called a Lighting Facts label for lighting products. To make matters slightly more confusing, the Federal Trade Commission will soon require its own Lighting Facts label on medium screw-base light bulbs. But the FTC Lighting Facts isn't the same thing as the DoE Lighting Facts though the two share the same name.

Two different programs that have the same name, both referring to the same kind of product, but with completely different purposes, might make sense only to a bureaucrat.

As of next Jan. 1, the FTC “Lighting Facts” label becomes mandatory. It is modeled after the “Nutrition Facts” label currently found on food packages. The label on the front of the package will emphasize bulb brightness as measured in lumens, rather than in watts. The new front-of-package labels also will include the estimated yearly energy cost for the particular type of bulb. Additional information on the bulb will include the bulb life expectancy (based on three hours of usage a day) and light appearance (for example, if the bulb provides warm or cool light). Bulbs that contain mercury will also be labeled as such.

The DoE says after Jan. 1, it won't encourage the use of its own label on the packaging of SSL replacement bulbs. But its Lighting Facts label will still be found on manufacturing specification sheets as well as at its Lighting Facts website.

The DoE label also indicates the efficacy (in lumens/W) and the color accuracy (expressed as the color rendering index). But the DoE label specifically doesn't call out a bulb lifetime. The reason, they say, is that, at present, there's no standard method for predicting the lifetime of an LED lamp, though a working group is trying to hammer out a standard in this area.

It should also be said that the DoE Lighting Facts program is more than just labeling. The Lighting Facts Website houses numerous tools for manufacturers trying to evaluate different lighting technologies and products:

The FTC Lighting Facts info is here:

More useful information on energy-efficient lighting can be found here:


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