U.S. retailers who sell lighting products can use the information below to help their customers better understand energy-efficient lighting choices. New information will be added as it becomes available.

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U.S. retailers are welcome to use parts of these materials in their retail displays. In those cases, please do so without the Department of Energy's name, since we will not be approving your version. If you would prefer a different version that fits your requirements for size or layout better, and you'd like to keep the Department's name, you are welcome to submit that revised layout for approval. Native artwork files can be made available upon request. Please also see Information for Media for additional imagery available to retailers, utilities, and others.

Placard

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This placard shows how the U.S. Department of Energy is helping consumers to understand lumens, and the shift to lumens from traditional incandescent watts as the common measure of lightbulb "brightness."

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Tip Card

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This tip card provides the money savings from new lighting choices as well as information on lumens and the lighting facts label.

Presentation

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This presentation provides helpful background information on the new legislation and the types of energy-efficient lighting available today. Download it here.

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All of these lightbulbs -- CFLs, LEDs, and energy-saving incandescents -- meet the new energy standards that take effect from 2012–2014.

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Information on the new Lighting Facts label is available on the Federal Trade Commission website.

Learn More

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Lighting Blogs

Preventing Confusion in the Lighting Aisle Starts with Planning

A simple tally of the number and types of lightbulbs in your house can prepare you for a trip to the lighting aisle. | Photo courtesy of Allison Casey

We often talk about the small improvements you can make in your home to save energy. These are things that may not cost you much time or money, but that can make a difference in the overall energy used by your home. 

Lighting is one of these changes—it's so easy to change a lightbulb, right? Not unless you do a little planning first. 

My family moved to a new house last year, and it wasn't long before we realized just how many lights are in this house. Hallways! Closets! Nooks! Lamps! Some were burning out, some were obviously old traditional incandescents, and some were types I couldn't determine at first glance. We needed to review them all. 

Because of the variety of lights and fixtures in the house, I kept ending up in the lighting aisle of the store without a clue about what I actually needed. I had to create a full inventory before I could even think of buying new lightbulbs.

So, I grabbed a clipboard and a blank sheet of paper and started at one corner of my house. As I worked my way through, I wrote down the name of each room on the left side of the paper. Across the top, I started listing the types of bulbs: standard size, globes, recessed, small base, halogen, etc. (At some point, we may replace fixtures with ENERGY STAR-certified ones, but for now we're just doing bulbs.)

As I walked through the house, I made tally marks in each row and column, adding new rooms or lighting types as I went.  I also made notes where efficient working bulbs were already present. The whole walk-through took about 10 minutes, which included removing and examining several fixtures to determine the bulb type. We had a couple of surprise halogens. Be sure to check if you're not sure! By the end of my walkthrough, I had tallied more than 80 lightbulbs!

My next step was prioritizing which bulbs to replace immediately. I wasn't going to buy or replace 80 bulbs all at once, but I thought I could start with about 20. I looked over my list and decided which rooms to prioritize, based on how often the lights were on. Our kitchen and living room needed attention first. But looking more closely at my list, I also realized that some of the lights we tended to leave on weren't actually in a "room." They were hallway lights, especially those leading down dark stairs to the basement.

Obviously, we have habits we need to work on as well. (Note to kids: stop leaving a trail of lights on everywhere you go!) But changing out those bulbs for efficient LEDs was a good start. Once I knew the sizes and types of bulbs I needed, a quick read of the Lighting Facts label ensured I got the brightness and color I wanted.

Changing out the bulbs took a little longer than my walkthrough did, but I am now more conscientious about turning off lights. I also have a ready-made list of bulbs to buy when we're ready for our next round of bulb updates—no more clueless visits to the lighting aisle for me!

Buying the Perfect Energy-Efficient Light Bulb in 5 Easy Steps

Shopping for energy-efficient light bulbs just got easier! | Photo courtesy of iStockphotography.com/Thomas_EyeDesign

I can remember the day I bought my first light bulb. The row of light bulbs varying in wattage, color, size, and shape was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. I ended up buying a light bulb with the wrong number of watts and nearly melted my lamp shade.

But now shopping for light bulbs isn't as scary; not only have I matured considerably since then, but the Lighting Facts Label is much easier to read. And I've discovered Energy Saver has the answers to every question I could imagine about lighting

But if you want a few easy steps to buying the right bulb, I've broken it down for you.

Step 1: ENERGY STAR Means Energy Savings

First look for the ENERGY STAR label. It means that the bulb you're selecting is certified to save energy. ENERGY STAR bulbs are available in all shapes and sizes, and some are even dimmable.

Step 2: Location, Location, Location

Ask yourself, where is this light bulb going? A table or floor lamp? A ceiling fixture? The following chart can help you pick the best bulb for each fixture.

 Table or Floor LampsPendant FixtureCeiling FixtureCeiling FansWall SconcesRcessed CansAccent Lighting
SpiralXXXXX  
Globe X  X  
A-ShapeXXXXX  
Candle XXXX  
MR16 X   XX
Flood     X 
Spot     X 

 

Step 3: Lumens Not Watts

Next, look for lumens on the Lighting Facts Label. Since you are buying an energy-efficient bulb, you have to look for lumens rather than watts to discover how bright your bulb will be. Watts indicate energy consumed and lumens indicate light output. An ENERGY STAR bulb will consume fewer watts and still provide the same level of brightness. For example, a 100 watt incandescent bulb is about 1,600 lumens.

Step 4: Mood lighting

You're almost there, but first you have to pick your color. Energy-efficient bulbs now come in a range of colors. The light appearance (color) is displayed on the Lighting Facts Label as a number on the Kelvin (K) scale. Warm or lower K means the light will have more yellow/orange hue. A warm white, about 2,700 K, is roughly the standard color of an incandescent light bulb. A cooler white light, around 7,000 K, will look more like natural daylight.

Step 5: Buy It, Install It, Enjoy It

You are ready to go. You've selected the perfect bulb for your home and you're ready to save energy. Now you have to fork over the cash, but if you think your perfect bulb is too expensive, think again! The operating cost of an ENERGY STAR CFL is roughly $1.20 a year and an ENERGY STAR LED is $1.00—much less than the $4.80 per year that it costs to run a 60W traditional incandescent. AND your energy-efficient bulb will last 3%-25% longer! If you replace 15 old incandescent bulbs, you could save $50 a year.

So no more grousing about how difficult it is to pick out the perfect energy-efficient light bulb. Brighten up your home and save money and energy in the process!

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#AskEnergySaver: LED Lights

LED lights are six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights, cut energy use by more than 80 percent and can last more than 25 times longer. | Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, NREL.

To help you save money by saving energy, we launched #AskEnergySaver -- an online series that gives you access to some of the Energy Department’s home energy efficiency experts. During 2014, experts from the Department and our National Labs will be answering your energy-saving questions and sharing their advice on ways to improve your home’s comfort.

Did you know that about 10 percent of the average household’s energy use goes to lighting costs? If you are looking for ways to cut your energy costs, one of the fastest ways is to upgrade to energy-efficient lighting. One type that holds particular promise is LED bulbs -- they are six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights, cut energy use by more than 80 percent and can last more than 25 times longer. 

To help you understand this clean energy technology, we turned to Jim Brodrick and his team in the Energy Department’s Solid State Lighting Program to answer your LED questions. Through research and development, the Solid State Lighting Program is spurring improvements in LED efficiency and performance while helping to lower manufacturing costs for LEDs -- making them cheaper for consumers and businesses. The Department is also working with industry to speed up the development of good-quality, high-performing LEDs to help the country achieve significant energy savings -- switching entirely to LED lights by 2030 could reduce America’s electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and save $250 billion in energy costs.

Why do incandescent bulbs seem to project light farther [requiring me to install] more LED bulbs around the house?
-- from Andrew Strong on Google+

Jim Brodrick: Incandescent bulbs do not emit more light or project it farther than comparable LED bulbs. If an incandescent bulb seems to project light farther than a particular LED bulb, it means the two bulbs aren’t comparable.

Comparable bulbs are those that have the same lumen output. Lumens are a measure of the light a bulb emits and a better way to buy light bulbs than comparing watts. The more lumens, the more light.

The Lighting Facts label that the Federal Trade Commission requires on the packaging of every light bulb shows the lumen output, light appearance and estimated life and energy costs to make it easy to compare different products.

Fixtures are rated for certain size bulbs based on watts. Can LED bulbs be used in any fixture as long as it is below the recommended watt light?
-- from Phillip Krajewski via email

JB: Yes, that’s correct -- as long as the mounting base (also called a socket) is the same size and type, you can use an LED bulb in an existing fixture. If the mounting base isn’t the same size and type, the LED bulb won’t fit into the socket.

You should never use a bulb with a higher wattage than what is recommended for the fixture, but keep in mind that watts are not the same as the amount of light emitted. Watts are a measure of the electric power. LED bulbs have much lower wattage than incandescent bulbs, so it’s important to know the light output (in lumens) for the bulb you’re replacing. For example, a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb should emit at least 800 lumens, and many on the market only draw 11 watts of power.  

What is the best way to replace metal-halide lamps (around 12,000 lumens) with LEDs?
-- from @TrasherAlfonso on Twitter

JB: That level of light output (12,000 lumens) is common in outdoor and high-mounted fixtures. The best option is to replace the entire fixture (also called a luminaire in the lighting industry) with one that’s specifically designed for LEDs. In some cases, retrofit kits that adapt the existing fixture to LEDs are available.

Both options come with the LED light bulb included, and both are designed to be more efficient -- and to take better advantage of LED technology -- than merely replacing the metal halide lamp with an LED lamp.

Whatever option you choose, look for products that have the same lumen output as the lamp you’re replacing, and make sure that the other performance characteristics -- such as color rendering and color quality -- are at least comparable.

For more ways to save energy at home, check out Energy Saver.

Rebecca Matulka
Served as a digital communications specialist for the Energy Department.Served as a digital communications specialist for the Energy Department.
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<p>Federal incentives are <strong>not </strong>currently available for residential lighting products. <a href="http://energy.gov/savings/search">Find state or local incentives</a>.</p>