What are Lumens?
Watts measure the amount of energy required to light products, whereas lumens measure the amount of light produced. The more lumens in a light bulb, the brighter the light.
- 40-watt incandescent bulb = 450 lumens
- 60-watt incandescent bulb = 800 lumens
- 100-watt incandescent bulb = 1600 lumens
With new light bulbs, shopping by lumens will be more important than shopping by watts when choosing which energy-efficient bulb to purchase.
The Federal Trade Commission has worked with manufacturers to develop a new label to help consumers purchasing the energy-saving bulbs. It looks similar to nutrition labels on food and will have more concise information about the bulb’s output and savings (seen in the image on the right).
The labels will include:
- Brightness (in lumens),
- Estimated Yearly Energy Cost,
- Life-expectancy of the bulb,
- Light appearance and,
- Energy used.
Manufacturers are also changing the look of their overall packaging to help even more. For instance, the CFL in the photo on the right says the Sylvania Super Saver CFL is a replacement for a 100 watt bulb with a lumen (brightness) output of 1500. The energy used is 24 watts, saving you $60 in energy costs and will last for 7 years. The color is a soft white, which is similar to soft white incandescent bulbs.
Remember, an easy way to compare bulbs is to use the government label, which should appear on all bulbs by January 2012.