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New Lighting Facts Label

I’m a big proponent of compact flourescent light bulbs [3] because they use less energy, last longer, and are better for the environment when disposed of properly. They aren’t without downsides though but I believe the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

While I’m not going to run out to buy those 17-year LED lightbulbs GE [4] is releasing later this year, I am glad to see that there is more news about lighting technology. Prime on that list of “good things” is the new FTC labeling requirement [5]. Lighting manufacturers will soon be required to place a “Lighting Facts” label on the back of bulb packages, similar to Nutrition Facts on food. Additional, and almost more importantly, bulbs containing mercury will be labeled as such on that label.

Here’s what the label will look like:

Here’s one for bulbs that contain mercury:

Brightness will use lumens, which is a unit of measure we aren’t used to here in the United States. Unlike wattage, which is not an accurate measure of brightness when it comes to different lighting technologies (hence the labeling today of 100W equivalent, uses only 32 watts), lumens is a standardized measure of brightness. I found this chart of luminous efficiency [6] to be pretty interesting as it shows how incandescent bulbs are far less efficient than fluorescent and LED bulbs (though they’re better than candles and gas mantles!).

I think education is absolutely crucial and this will go a long way in informing people so they understand the choices they’re making. If you are dead set against CFLs and love incandescents, I hope you’ve reached that conclusion because you have all the facts and aren’t just a light snob. 🙂

(Photo: asurroca [7])