Breaking news on light bulbs, folks. By mid-2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will require new labels for light bulbs to help consumers and homeowners figure out which lighting source is most appropriate for their lighting needs.
As incandescent light bulbs are phased out, it certainly hasn’t been easy for consumers and homeowners to know which lights will save energy and money over the long run. Consumers and homeowners have safety concerns about the mercury content of some of the new energy-efficient light bulbs. Some of these new energy saving light bulbs carry a significant cost and it’s unclear whether or not consumers and homeowners will realize energy savings over the long term. But, FTC believes that these light bulb labels should take the mystery out of which light bulbs, traditional incandescent bulbs, high-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, will work best in the home.
Federal Trade Commission Puts a New Focus on Today’s Light Bulbs
According to FTC, these new labels will help protect consumers and homeowners. How? They should help consumers and homeowners identify the most energy-efficient bulbs that best will suit their lighting needs. While this sounds simple, the biggest problem in recent years has been the lack of standard information and labeling that would make such a comparison easy. While light bulb packaging tout the benefits of each light bulb variety, there’s been little to help consumers and homeowners compare one light bulb to another in any objective way. While Energy Star ratings for qualified CFLs have certainly helped identify energy saving bulbs, it’s unclear if there’s a price point that would reduce the benefit of these energy savings or how CFLs compare to the new products being introduced in the marketplace.
As such, FTC has devised a new “Lighting Facts” label that should correct this problem. These new light bulb labels will be placed in a prominent place on all light bulb packages, beginning in 2011. These new light bulb labels are easy to read and spotlight several important features, among them:
Wattage. How strong is this light bulb? Does this light bulb have what it takes to light your apartment or home? Knowing the wattage will help consumers and homeowners understand the amount of power needed to support this lighting choice.
Brightness. Wattage isn’t the only factor that’s important in lighting today. With these new light bulb labels, it’s all about the lumens. FTC believes that you shouldn’t have to spend big bucks to discover the light bulb you bought was too dim for the job at hand.
Appearance. Now you’ll know what to expect from this bulb. Warm to cool, you’ll have a number of options from which to choose. Maybe you’ll want a warm light bulb for the living room and family room, but something a little cooler for the kitchen and food prep areas?
Annual Energy Cost. Consumers and homeowners will finally have something to gauge energy efficiency and savings. With this information, consumers and homeowners will be able to evaluate light bulbs across a broad spectrum of factors.
Life Expectancy. Finally, you’ll know for sure how much time you’ll have with this handy light bulb. This is important information for consumers and homeowners buying light bulbs that carry a higher cost than the traditional incandescent lighting variety.
Lighting Labels Spotlight Mercury Content
Light bulb manufacturers will need to disclose the mercury content of their bulbs. In addition, these labels must include links to information on their safe clean up and disposal. This is an enormous plus for anyone who has had the misfortune of breaking a new compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL).
Advantages of New Lighting Labels
The new consumer and homeowner-friendly labels will highlight brightness over wattage, the old standard of comparison. That way, it should provide a more effective means of comparing, say, a standard 60 watt bulb with a CFL. It should also help consumers and homeowners discern one product from another as the manufacturers continue to introduce new light bulbs to the marketplace. Of course, time will tell if these new labels strike a chord with consumers and homeowners. In the meantime, these light bulb labels will surely help us cut through the number of options for lighting available for purchase at Home Depot, Lowes and the local hardware store.
Examples of the “Lighting Facts” Labels
Press Release on “Lighting Facts” Labels
Federal Trade Commission
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