The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is in the process of finalizing a Lighting Facts label to be included on all light bulb packages, starting in 2011. Designed to look like the Nutrition Facts label found on food and beverage packaging, the Lighting Facts label aims to make it easier for consumers to compare light bulbs and make informed decisions about which bulb is best for them.
|When the law goes into effect, manufacturers will be required to have a small label on the front of the package that lists the light output and estimated yearly energy cost of the bulb. After conducting consumer research, the FTC has determined that the average residential consumer does not understand lumens as a measurement of light output. Many consumers still look at the wattage of a bulb, which makes it difficult for consumers to understand which energy efficient alternatives will provide the right amount of light in their homes because the perception is that lower wattage bulbs will not produce as much light as higher wattage bulbs.
However, watts are a measurement of energy use, not brightness. As a result, reliance on watt measurements alone makes it difficult for consumers to compare traditional incandescent bulbs to more efficient bulbs, such as CFLs. A compact fluorescent bulb may be able to produce the same amount of brightness as a traditional incandescent bulb, while using significantly less energy, or watts. For these reasons, the FTC is not requiring the wattage on the front of the package and is changing the verbiage of “light output” to “brightness.”
The back of the light bulb package will have the Lighting Facts label, which will include information about the bulb’s brightness, estimated yearly energy cost, life expectancy, light appearance (color temperature), wattage, and whether the bulb contains mercury. The new rule will also require the bulb’s brightness, measured in lumens, and mercury disclosure, if applicable, to be printed on each bulb. This will help consumers remember what light output to look for when shopping for replacement bulbs – or make adjustments for more or less light if necessary – and help remind consumers to properly recycle bulbs containing mercury.
As the new energy standards mandated by Congress begin to phase out traditional low-efficiency incandescent bulbs from the