When shoppers look for light bulbs, one of the first things they check is the wattage. Starting next year, though, “lumens” will be the measure consumers will want to look for on light bulb labels.
“Wattage only tells you how much energy a bulb uses, but that is not as helpful with all the new energy-conserving bulbs that have entered the market during the last decade or so,” said Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. “Lumens measure brightness, so it’s a better way to compare how much light various light bulbs will provide.”
Beginning in 2012, new light bulb labels will help shoppers better understand what they are purchasing. McDaniel issued today’s consumer alert to help consumers prepare for this transition.
Newer bulbs — like halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) — last longer and use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, saving consumers money on their energy bills.
In 2012, according to the Federal Trade Commission, light bulb manufactures will begin listing lumens on light bulb packaging to help customers compare “apples to apples” when shopping for light bulbs.
Most often, lumen listings will range from “450 lm,” which is equivalent to the brightness of a 40-watt standard incandescent light bulb, to “2600 lm,” the equivalent brightness of a 150-watt-incandescent bulb. A standard 60-watt incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens of light. By comparison, a CFL bulb produces that same 800 lumens using less than 15 watts.
For more information about lumens and the new light bulb labeling, consumers can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s web site at www.ftc.gov/lightbulbs to view a video and a flyer explaining the new measure and labels.
Once a shopper knows how bright a bulb he wants, he may want to also compare other factors, like the yearly energy cost and the bulb’s light appearance, or color temperature. Light appearance ranges from warm to cool. Warmer light looks more yellow, like the light from a traditional incandescent bulb, while cooler light appears more blue.
To find out the light appearance of a light bulb and all of the other pertinent information, look at the Lighting Facts label on the package. The Lighting Facts label gives information consumers need to compare different bulbs, including:
Brightness (in lumens)
Yearly estimated energy cost
Expected bulb life (in years)
Light appearance (how warm or cool the light will look)
Wattage (the energy used)
If the bulb contains mercury
The label may also include the Energy Star logo if the bulb meets the energy efficiency and performance standards of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program. For more on Energy Star standards, visit energystar.gov.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission web site at www.ftc.gov/lightbulbs or contact the Public Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office at (501) 682-2341, (800) 482-8982 or www.ArkansasAG.gov.