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Energy Labeling Changes for Ceiling Fans, Refrigerators, Other Goods Finalized

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a final rule amending its Energy Labeling Rule with respect to an online label database, new refrigerator comparability range information, dual mode refrigerator labeling, and revised labels for ceiling fans, central air conditioners, and water heaters. In a separate notice, the FTC will seek comments on issues that involve recent Department of Energy regulatory actions or new issues raised by commenters in this proceeding, including with respect to portable air conditioner labeling, plumbing disclosures changes, large ceiling fan labels, and electric instantaneous water heater labeling.

Online Label Database. Effective Sept. 15, 2017, this rule will require manufacturers to provide links to the online EnergyGuide or Lighting Facts labels corresponding to each of their covered products. Manufacturers may submit these links to the DOE’s Compliance and Certification Management System as part of their normal FTC reporting. The rule provides manufacturers three options for submitting label information: through direct URL links to the labels themselves, through links to a PDF download, or through a link to a website from which users can obtain labels by searching through model number.

Lighting products are not included in these reporting requirements.

Ceiling Fans. Estimated annual energy cost information will be the primary disclosure on the label of ceiling fans, which will follow the EnergyGuide label format. This label must be printed on a yellow or other neutral contrasting background. Manufacturers must begin labeling their packaging with the new label no later than Sept. 15, 2018, but may begin using it as soon as they complete testing under the new DOE test procedure.

This label does not apply to large-diameter fans (i.e., those with diameters of 84 inches or greater) and high-speed small diameter fans.

Refrigerators. The rule organizes refrigerator comparability ranges by configuration, designating eight separate categories for refrigerators and three for freezers. These ranges disclose the energy costs of the most and least efficient model in each category and thus allow consumers to easily compare the energy use of similarly configured units. Manufacturers have until June 15, 2017, to implement the revised label.

Dual Mode Refrigerator-Freezers. Refrigerator models that can operate as either a refrigerator or a freezer must be labeled with the most energy intensive configuration.

Heating and Cooling Equipment. The rule makes changes related to regional standards labels for central air conditioners, single labels for packaged rooftop systems (which consist of a combination gas furnace and air conditioner or heat pump), manufacturer name disclosures, multiple model number disclosures, and retailer disclosure requirements.

Water Heaters. The ITC has revised the water heater label to include new information consistent with the revised DOE test procedure. Manufacturers will have until June 15, 2017, to begin using the new label. Electric water heaters and heat pump water heaters are combined for comparison purposes. The ITC will consider seeking comment on special labeling for grid-enabled residential electric water heaters in the future.

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