Bright Idea: Better Light Bulb Labeling Ahead

Photo (cc) by Creative Tools

The Federal Trade Commission announced last week that, starting in mid-2011, light bulb labeling will no longer be just about watts (a measure of how much electricity a bulb uses) and will include lumens as well (a measure of how much light a bulb puts out).

The change will affect all types of bulbs: incandescents, compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The new labels will also include estimated average annual energy usage, expressed not just in energy consumption but in dollars and cents, as well as a bulb’s estimated useful life.

Under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, the FTC announced the new labeling as a “final rule,” meaning the new labels will start showing up next year, absent any changes resulting from public feedback.

The new labeling proposal stems from a desire to make it easier to compare different types of light bulbs. For decades, the only choice was incandescent, so the “watts” label was sufficient to make apples-to-apples comparisons of different bulbs. However, with the introduction and growing acceptance of more efficient technologies, the FTC wants to make it easier for consumers to compare the amount of light offered by LEDs, CFLs and incandescent bulbs, as well as the cost to operate each.

Lighting Facts Per BulbHere’s what the FTC’s press release has to say:

Under the new rule, the back of each package of light bulbs will have a “Lighting Facts” label modeled after the “Nutrition Facts” label that is currently on food packages. The Lighting Facts label will provide information about:

  • Brightness.
  • Energy cost.
  • The bulb’s life expectancy.
  • Light appearance (for example, if the bulb provides “warm” or “cool” light).
  • Wattage (the amount of energy the bulb uses).
  • Whether the bulb contains mercury.

The bulb’s brightness, measured in lumens, and a disclosure for bulbs containing mercury will be printed on each bulb. A sample of a mercury bulb labels appears below:

New Back Label for Bulbs Containing Mercury

If you think this new labeling will be illuminating, expect to start seeing it in about a year. But if you think the folks at the FTC aren’t the brightest bulbs in the box, now’s the time to comment on the proposed change. Information on how to submit public comments can be found here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money
The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money

These home improvement projects basically never pay off.

This Is the Best Online Savings Account for 2021
This Is the Best Online Savings Account for 2021

The rate of return is just one of several reasons this account stands out.

9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

7 Mistakes Guaranteed to Ruin Your Retirement
7 Mistakes Guaranteed to Ruin Your Retirement

Make even one of these money mistakes, and you’ll probably end up eating ramen noodles in your golden years.

Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You
Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You

Streaming TV might sound like the antidote to sky-high cable bills, but cutting the cord is easier said than done.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

15 States With the Largest Homeless Populations
15 States With the Largest Homeless Populations

Some of the states with the highest rates of homelessness might surprise you.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.