New labeling requirements will make it easier for consumers to conserve both energy and cash when it comes to buying light bulbs. It will also enable them to more accurately compare the brightness of different types of lighting. The Federal Trade Commission's ruling that requires new labeling on light bulb packaging will go into
effect mid-2011. It means that front-of-package labels will be required to feature the estimated annual energy cost for that particular type of bulb as well as indicate the brightness of the bulb in terms of lumens.
Currently, most consumers rely on wattage measurements to compare the brightness and costs in terms of energy use when shopping for light bulbs. Even thought the wattage measurements of light bulbs have been indicated on front-of-package labels for decades, watts are actually a measurement of energy use, not brightness. The new labeling will make it easier for shoppers to compare traditional incandescent bulbs with newer high-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) ones.
The new back-of-package "Lighting Facts" labels (see example at right), which are modeled on the "Nutrition Facts" labels on food packaging will provide information on the bulb's life expectancy, appearance, and wattage. The labels will also indicate if bulbs contain mercury. The Lighting Facts labels will repeat the information on brightness and energy cost found on the front-of-package
labeling. Lumen measurements and mercury disclosures (where applicable) will be required to be printed directly on light bulbs under the new ruling.