New packaging for lightbulbs on the way

new light bulb labels
new light bulb labels

As many consumers interested in saving money (and perhaps the planet) replace their incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient ones, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced new packaging rules to help them determine a bulb's true brightness.

Light bulbs have been marketed for decades according to their wattage -- but watts measure energy use, not brightness. For instance, a 23-watt compact fluorescent bulb can produce the same amount of brightness as a 100-watt incandescent bulb, rendering wattage-based labeling obsolete.

Under the new FTC rule, beginning in mid-2011, consumers shopping for light bulbs will notice new labeling on packaging designed to help them choose among the different types of bulbs on the market, be they traditional incandescent bulbs or newer high-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.