Federal Trade
Commission (FTC)
Lighting
Facts Label

The handy Lighting Facts label on Sunco packaging and our website looks like the familiar food content labels used in America.

There’s a good reason for that. The Lighting Facts label was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Energy (DOE) in 2010 to help consumers make educated choices when comparing products, just like you do with food serving sizes. The label breaks down the Estimated Yearly Energy Cost of each bulb and provides you with key facts.

The Federal Trade Commission was created in September 1914 as a bipartisan federal agency to protect the consumer, while encouraging innovation and promoting competition. The FTC strives to stop “unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace,” according to their website, and collaborate with law enforcement on complaints. Their task is to ensure open and free markets by enforcing antitrust laws, among other important duties.

The voluntary DOE LED Lighting Facts initiative, which led up to the creation of the Lighting Facts label, was created at the time “to foster ‘truth in advertising’” per the Department of Energy’s website. That program gathered thousands of lighting products into a searchable database. That database has since been closed, but the FTC rules requiring the Lighting Facts Label to appear on packages are still in place.

The Lighting Facts label is designed to show details about a single bulb, though you may have purchased more than one in a package. Since every manufacturer is required to display a Lighting Facts label on their bulbs or tube packaging and website, you can easily compare the pertinent details of each bulb to see which one delivers what you need in terms of brightness, wattage, and potential energy savings.

Here is a sample label:

What’s on the Lighting Facts Label?

These details appear on the Lighting Facts label:

  • Brightness
    (in Lumens)
  • Estimated Energy Cost
    (in $USD)
  • Life
    (hours)
  • Light Appearance
    (warm vs. cool, color temperature in degrees Kelvin)
  • Wattage
    (energy consumed)

The data on a Lighting Facts label is obtained using test procedures established by the DOE.

Brightness

Brightness is shown as a measurement of light output in Lumens.

Lumens is a measurement of the quantity of visible light emitted from a single bulb. Lumens are a way we can express how lights of equal power, but different wavelengths, compare in brightness. The more lumens, the brighter the light produced.

Americans used to buy their light bulbs based upon the amount of wattage. Remember that watts measure energy usage, rather than brightness. If you focus on the lumens instead of watts, you can purchase lights that produce the amount of light you need for specific uses.

In each label, the average initial lumens are rounded to the nearest five.

Estimated Energy Cost

This section reveals the estimated annual energy cost of the bulb(s) in the package you bought, shown in dollars. This cost is also based on an average usage rate of 3 hours per day.

The cost is based upon:

  • Average initial wattage
  • A usage rate of three hours per day, and
  • Amount per KWh [example: 11 cents ($0.11) per KWh]

Once you start comparing different types of light bulbs, you will see the advantages of LED bulbs versus traditional incandescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes.

Lifetime Hours

The “Life” data refers to the life of the bulb, expressed in years and rounded to the nearest tenth. Again, this is based on the average of 3 hours of operation per day.

One of the reasons this information is important to be displayed on all light bulbs, is that it allows you to compare a traditional incandescent bulb and an LED A19 or the lifetime average of a fluorescent linear tube and an LED tube.

Light Appearance - Warm vs. Cool & Color Temperature

The light appearance scale shows the comparison of the warmth or coolness of a light, along with the color temperature in degrees Kelvin. The lower the temperature, the warmer the look; the higher the temperature, the cooler the look.

Absolute color temperature is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. This measurement allows you to describe the quality of a light. Typically, in commercial and residential lighting applications, Kelvin temperatures fall somewhere on a scale from about 2000K to 6500K. In this chart, the FTC requires a proportionate scale from 2600K to 6600K. You may see the term Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) used when discussing light or while referencing technical specs. This is a way to measure a light’s appearance in the warmth or coolness of the light emitted.

Warm Light – Red, amber, orange, and yellow

Cool Light – Green, blue, violet and purple

Wattage

Watts measure energy usage or how much energy is consumed. The standard in previous years was to shop for lights using their wattage. Example: a 60W bulb consumes 60 watts of energy.

On this label, wattage is expressed as energy used in average initial wattage.

Technical Specifications Assist You

In addition to what you will find clearly stated on the Lighting Facts label of each Sunco product, the technical specifications or specs are displayed on our website for your reference. Tech specs will help you define whether a particular bulb includes the light properties you require for each unique project.

Although Color Rendering Index (CRI) is not included on the Lighting Facts label it is key to analyze the quality of a light bulb.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

This measurement indicates the accuracy of the light source. CRI is measured on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the closest to natural sunlight.

High CRI features accurate color rendering and the textures of an item lit by the light source will stand out. Sunco's products usually run from CRI80 – CRI95 to provide you with clear definition and vibrant colors. High CRI is visually closer to sunlight.

The human eye recognizes unnatural colors when items are viewed under a low CRI light source. This is one reason lighting a retail business properly is so important. Otherwise, the consumer might find the item they purchase looks different when they view it in sunlight or at a higher CRI. You will easily see this when viewing items under traditional fluorescent linear tube lights in a clothing store and then viewing the item outside in sunlight.

Where Will I Find the Lighting Facts Label?

You can see the Lighting Facts label in the Support tab of each Sunco LED product on our website. We also include the label on the packaging for each bulb.

Several of our blogs can help you learn more about the colors in the Visible Spectrum or explore more about warm/cool light and better understand color temperature. You can also learn more details about the elements of lighting under our Lighting 101 page.