There are two Lighting Facts programs designed to create a common set of measurements, and to standardize how they are displayed, in order to make it as easy as possible to compare products. The labels are designed to be simple to understand and are similar to the Nutrition Facts labels currently found on many food items.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) program
This applies to all bulbs with a medium screw base, which is the base type used for the majority of household lighting. After January 1st, 2012, this label will be mandatory on all applicable products sold in the U.S. This label will replace the DOE label on all LED bulbs with a medium base.
The FTC labeling will be found in three places: On the front of the packaging, a lumen or ìbrightnessî listing and estimated yearly energy cost will be required. On the back of the packaging, information on brightness, estimated yearly cost, wattage, light appearance, life expectancy, and whether or not the bulb contains mercury will be required. On the bulb itself, the lumen output and a disclaimer on mercury-containing bulbs will be required as well.
The Department of Energy (DOE) program
This applies to all LED products, regardless of base type. It is a voluntary program, manufacturers are encouraged to participate but it is not required. It is primarily directed to retail buyers, utilities, and lighting professionals, but the label contains information that is useful to consumers as well.
The DOE labeling is found primarily on the back of bulb packaging. The label includes information on light output (in lumens), wattage, lumens per watt (also known as efficacy), color accuracy (also known as Color Rendering Index), and a light color listing. Notably missing from the DOE label is a life expectancy listing. Because there is not yet an established standard to measure life expectancy for LEDs, DOE has decided not to include it on their Lighting Facts label.
The FTC and DOE have put out some excellent information of their own regarding Lighting Facts. If you would like to know more about the program, we recommend the following resources: