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Energy Labeling Changes Proposed for Light Bulbs, Appliances, Etc.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Trade Commission is accepting comments through Aug. 18 on a supplemental proposed rule that would make the following changes to its Energy Labeling Rule.

Light Bulbs. The “Lighting Facts” label (which discloses information about brightness, estimated annual energy cost, life, color appearance and energy use) would be required for decorative and other specialty light bulbs that have energy use or light output similar to general service bulbs already required to bear that label.

This proposal applies to bulbs that are rated at 30 watts or higher or produce 310 lumens or more; have a medium, intermediate, candelabra, GU-10 or GU-24 base; and do not meet the definition of “general service lamp.” It excludes black light bulbs, bug lamps, colored bulbs, infrared bulbs, left-hand thread bulbs, marine bulbs, marine signal service bulbs, mine service bulbs, sign service bulbs, silver bowl bulbs, showcase bulbs, traffic signal bulbs, G-shape bulbs with diameter of five inches or more, and C7, M-14, P, RP, S and T-shape bulbs.

The proposal includes special marking provisions for some bulb types and provides a smaller, single-label option for the smaller packages often used for specialty bulbs. For consumer light bulbs not covered by the proposed requirements, manufacturers could use the “Lighting Facts” label if they follow the specified content and format requirements.

Online Label Database. FTC and Energy Department staff are considering requiring manufacturers to post to the DOE’s Compliance and Certification Management System a link to the Web page displaying the EnergyGuide labels corresponding to each of their covered products.

Labeling. Hang tags would have to be affixed to products using cable ties (zip ties), double strings with reinforced punch holes, or material with equivalent or greater strength, connected with reinforced punch holes.

Air Conditioners. Manufacturers would have to print or affix EnergyGuide labels on room air conditioner boxes instead of adhering them to the units themselves. Labels would have to appear on the package’s primary display panel, that part of a label that is most likely to be displayed, presented, shown or examined under normal and customary conditions of display for retail sale.

In addition, EnergyGuide labels would be required for portable air conditioners in light of a recent DOE proposal to designate these items as covered products under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Ceiling Fans. Estimated annual energy cost information would be the primary disclosure on the labels of ceiling fans. The proposed label follows the EnergyGuide label format.

Refrigerators. The comparability ranges for refrigerators would be consolidated into three categories: automatic defrost refrigerator-freezers, manual or partial manual refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers, and refrigerators with no freezer. This would consolidate ranges for automatic defrost models purchased by the vast majority of residential consumers while maintaining separate categories for less common models. The proposal also maintains the three freezer categories for upright manual defrost models, upright automatic defrost models and chest freezers.

Heating and Cooling Equipment. Changes to labels and comparability ranges for boilers and oil furnaces would be required as of Nov. 1, 2014. Revised labels for gas furnaces would be effective as of Jan. 1, 2015. Capacity would be eliminated from EnergyGuide labels for heating and cooling equipment, but model numbers would be maintained.

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