FTC Amends Energy Labeling Rule to Create Online Label Database

Since 1979, America’s consumers have benefited from the the Energy Labeling Rule, which requires energy labeling (specifically the EnergyGuide label) for major home appliances and other consumer products.

The Rule was promulgated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), America’s competition and consumer watchdog agency.

In some important amendments to the Rule published last month, the FTC has added several elements, most significantly an online label database (label image reporting).

Other changes include revised labels for ceiling fans, central air conditioners, and water heaters, as well as new refrigerator comparability range information and dual mode refrigerator labeling.

The amendments add to the existing reporting requirements a provision that manufacturers need to to provide links to online labels for existing products.  The links can be submitted either when they certify their models or as part of manufacturers’ regular annual FTC reporting.

Going forward, manufacturers will have to submit the required label links as part of all new model and annual reports.

The final rule provides three options for submitting label information: (1) through direct URL links to the labels themselves; (2) through links to a PDF download; or (3) through a link to a web site from which users can obtain labels by searching by product model number.

According to the regulations, the online label database requirement is intended to benefit both consumers and retailers by making it easier to research and access and energy data for appliances.

More particularly, retailers can use the data for advertising and replacing missing labels, obviating the need to obtain labels from individual manufacturers.  And consumers can use it to easily research comparative efficiency.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.