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Tips: Shopping for Lighting

With an array of lighting options, use the Lighting Facts label to determine the right lightbulb for you. | Photo courtesy of Michelle Vigen, <a href="">Clean Energy Resource Teams</a>.

With an array of lighting options, use the Lighting Facts label to determine the right lightbulb for you. | Photo courtesy of Michelle Vigen, Clean Energy Resource Teams.

When shopping for lighting, you can now use the Lighting Facts label and lumens to compare bulbs and purchase a bulb with the amount of brightness you want.

The Lighting Facts Label

Lighting facts per bulb label. The label is an example showing the brightness at 800 lumens, estimated yearly energy cost at $1.57, based on 3 hours per day and 11 cents per kWh. Cost depends on rates and use. The life is 9 years and is based on 3 hours per day. Light appearance is warm at 2700 K. Energy used is 13 watts, and the bulb is ENERGY STAR rated.

The Federal Trade Commission requires the Lighting Facts label on all light bulb packages to help consumers easily compare energy-efficient bulbs.  The label includes:

  • Brightness, measured in lumens
  • Estimated yearly energy cost (similar to the EnergyGuide label)
  • Lifespan
  • Light appearance (from warm to cool)
  • Light appearance, measured by correlated color temperature (CCT) on the Kelvin (K) scale, from warm to cool.

Like the helpful nutrition label on food products, the Lighting Facts label helps you to understand exactly what you are buying and to buy the lightbulbs that are right for you.

Lumens: A New Way to Shop for Light

In the past, we bought lightbulbs based on how much energy, or watts, they use. Wouldn't it make more sense to buy lights based on how much light they provide?

When you're shopping for lightbulbs, you can choose your next lightbulb for the brightness you want by comparing lumens instead of watts. A lumen is a measure of the amount of brightness of a lightbulb -- the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the lightbulb.

If you're replacing an inefficient 100W bulb, look for an energy-saving bulb that puts out about 1600 lumens. To replace a 60W equivalent, look for a bulb with about 800 lumens.

So when you're looking for a new bulb, look for lumens -- or how bright the bulb is. Now that's a pretty bright idea!

New Lighting Standards

Beginning in 2012, the efficiency standards of the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) required the common light bulbs we use to be about 25% more energy efficient.

The standards took effect as of January 1, 2012, to make traditional 100 W incandescent light bulbs unavailable to consumers. This standard extended to traditional 75 W incandescent bulbs as of January 1, 2013, and to traditional 40 W and 60 W incandescent bulbs as of January 1, 2014. However, you have many lighting options that are EISA-compliant and will save you money.