A couple weeks ago, the FTC released a final rule relating to new labels for light bulb packaging.  The labels are designed to help consumers understand the differences between traditional incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. They’re also supposed to help consumers save money and energy, which is, after all, the ultimate goal with new technology.


A key aspect of the labeling program is the two-panel format.  The front panel includes brightness and energy cost information, while the back/side panel includes the same information, as well as wattage, bulb life, color temperature, and, sometimes, voltage and mercury information.

Wattage is not a mandatory disclosure on the front of product packaging.  Until this point, consumers have used wattage as a proxy for brightness when purchasing incandescent light bulbs.  But this won’t fly with other bulb types and consumers need to also look at light output information.

The label program does not require the disclosure of color rendering index or life cycle cost information either.  Inclusion of Energy Star information is voluntary, and there is no required disclosure of dimming capabilities, lead content, or cold weather performance.

Speaking about the new labels, Ginny Skalski, a contributor for the Cree LED Revolution Blog, said, “The new labels are exciting because they’re really setting the stage for the LED Lighting Revolution.”  That’s because LEDs last long, use a small amount of energy, and are becoming more competitive in cost and light output.  Plus, CFLs have the mercury issue.

You should start seeing these label disclosures in the middle of 2011.

[+] Learn more about New Labels for Light Bulb Packaging.

Media credits: FTC.