With new higher energy efficient light bulbs becoming the norm as compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) models begin to appear more frequently in stores, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has apparently decided now is the time for new information-style labeling on bulb packages. This labeling, according to Consumer Reports, takes a somewhat similar look to that of the nutrition labels found on food packaging.
The new Lighting Facts labeling, according to the FTC, will enable consumers to “save money by selecting the most efficient bulbs that best fit their lighting needs.” Emphasized on the packaging will be the bulbs’ brightness as measured in lumens, rather than a measurement of watts. The change is being made because watts are a measurement of of energy use, not brightness. This is said to make it harder for consumers to “compare traditional incandescent bulbs to more efficient bulbs, such as compact fluorescents.” A typical CFL may produce the same level of brightness, but at a fraction of the energy usage of an incandescent.
The FTC said that “the new labels that focus on brightness in lumens will help consumers make purchasing decisions as they transition to more energy-efficient types of bulbs.” The labeling will take two forms: on the front of packaging, consumers will find a label with information on the brightness in turns of lumens as well as the estimated yearly energy cost for the particular type of bulb. On the back, meanwhile, one will find information on brightness, energy cost, life expectancy of the bulb, a light’s appearance (i.e. if the bulb provides “warm” or “cool” light), wattage and, if the bulb is a CFL, if it contains mercury.
The bulb’s brightness, measured in lumens, and a disclosure for bulbs containing mercury, also will be printed on each bulb.