Are you standing in the store with a light bulb package in your hand, wondering how am I supposed to know how bright this will be? Will it be white light? Will it be efficient? What is this nutrition-label looking thing on the back of the packaging? What does all this mean?
Relax, Wolfers is here to help break it down for you.
The new Lighting Facts Label, shown here, provides a summary of a light’s performance data. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, it is formatted in the style of a “nutrition facts label” and protects consumers from exaggerated claims, ensuring a satisfactory buying experience.
According to Wolfers lighting expert, Janice Park, “The label helps consumers navigate their choices in the wake of confusion brought on by recent legislation regarding lamps and LEDs. Though the new labels were designed for LED comparisons, we are now seeing this information on other lamps as well.”
Park says, “The major point is to get people to recognize that Lumens are the new Watts.”
Let’s break down the elements, as shown on the label above.
LUMENS measures LIGHT OUTPUT. The higher the number, the more light is emitted, therefore the brighter the light.
Watts measures ENERGY required to light the product. The lower the wattage, the less energy used.
Lumens per Watt measures EFFICIENCY. The higher the number, the more efficient the product.
This chart compares an incandescent, fluorescent, and LED light source.
Image Source: Lightology
Color Rendering Index (CRI) measures COLOR ACCURACY, or, in other words, how well a light source renders the colors of objects, materials, and skin tones. CRI is based on a scale from 1-100 (100 being the best). Therefore, a low CRI will make colors look duller, whereas a higher CRI (80 or above) makes colors appear more vibrant and is more preferable for residential applications.
Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) measures LIGHT COLOR. Colors with lower Kelvin temperatures (around 2700-3500K) are warmer tones, usually in red/yellow spectrum, whereas colors with higher Kelvin temperatures (3600-5500K) are cooler tones, usually in the blue/purple spectrum. When designing a space, it’s important to keep the CCT the same in all light sources.