Soon, when you buy a new light bulb you'll see a new Nutrition Facts-style label that details the numbers most important to you: how bright the bulb is, what the energy cost is and when they'll burn out.
The new lightbulb labels will be placed on the front of the lightbulb package and detail:
• Brightness (in Lumens) • Energy Cost • The Bulb's Life Expectancy • Light Appearance (for example, if the bulb provides "warm" or "cool" light) • Wattage (the amount of energy the bulb uses) • Whether The Bulb Contains Mercury
In old light bulbs, wattage was the main unit of measurement. That was nice and all but since wattage is more a measurement of energy usage, it wasn't really relevant to a lightbulb's primary purpose: brightness. With these new labels, lumens, a measurement of brightness, will get top billing.
But as cool as lumens and wattage sound when you say them, all I really care about is how it's going to affect my wallet (and secondarily, the world). Thankfully the new numbers tell you a bulb's typical energy cost and average lifespan. So you'll finally know if that $2 bulb is a real dealzmodo or not. The new light bulb labels are expected to hit sometime in mid-2011. [FTC]