Some time soon in the near future the end user/consumer will be talking lumens instead of watts. Lumens will no longer be a term familiar to people only in the lighting industry.
The US Federal Trade Commission has published new rules for light bulb labeling, which go into effect January of 2012 in the USA. These rules require manufacturers to publish lumen information on their light bulb packages.
Traditionally, wattage has been the most prominent piece of information on a light bulb and its packaging. In the old days when there were just one or two types of consumer light bulbs (most importantly incandescent, and then the halogen later on) this metric served the purpose to a certain extent. Although wattage is only an indication of how much electric power is being consumed and not of how much light is being produced, it was still useful information. Higher the wattage, brighter the light coming out of the bulb.
However, today, with so many more efficient technologies available to the end user, wattage no longer serves the purpose of light output comparison between different light sources. Therefore, this new FTC rule will enable better comparisons and encourage use of higher efficiency technologies like CFL and LED. The consumer will soon be looking for light sources based on lumen output, not wattage consumption. This will help consumers to learn that, for eg: a CFL that uses only 13W could replace a 60W incandescent, using lesser energy and giving more or less the same quantity of light.
Under the new rule, light bulb packages will have the ‘Lighting Facts’ label on the back.
This label will provide information about:
- energy cost;
- the bulb’s life expectancy;
- light appearance (for example, “warm” or “cool” light);
- whether the bulb contains mercury.
For more information visit the FTC website here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/06/lightbulbs.shtm
For a quick snap shot on similar standards, rules etc, for LEDs visit my blog post “Standards Please for LEDs!”