Embrace Lumens!

An article in the Washington Post this morning said it well: “America, prepare to embrace lumens.”

When the FTC made the announcement last July, we got our first look at the new “Lighting Facts” labels.  If you missed our blog post in July, here’s a quick recap: The “Lighting Facts” labels represent a redesign in light bulb packaging, created to make shopping for energy efficient bulbs easier.

Why did light bulb packaging need a change?  It’s all about lumens.  In the past, consumers bought bulbs based on wattage.  Everyone knew a 100W incandescent bulb was much brighter than a 40W.  However, that logic doesn’t work for highly efficient fluorescent bulbs and LEDs.  

Watts are a measure of energy consumption, not light output.  An energy efficient bulb might use only 11 watts of power but might emit 600 lumens of light – which is the equivalent output of a 40-60 watt incandescent.

So you see, it’s time to embrace lumens.  To get an idea of what you should be looking for, here’s a chart showing the lumen output of incandescent wattages we are all familiar with:

Incandescent Wattage Lumen Output
40W 360 lumens
60W 615 lumens
75W 960 lumens
100W 1100 lumens
150W 2850 lumens

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.

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