In the later part of my childhood – in the 1970s and 1980s – we had incandescent light-bulbs, and we knew that only a small part of the so-called light they emitted was in the visible part of the spectrum. We often used this light-bulb type, because we had no better alternative. We knew that the visible part of the emitted light might have been 15% or 10% of the consumed energy.
Granted, in Industrial or Commercial Lighting, there existed other types of fixtures, such as mercury-gas-discharge tubes, that excited a phosphor with ultraviolet light, so that the phosphor was made to fluoresce. Or in some cases simply – a gas-discharge tube, with a gas-mixture of a composition unknown to me.
But, when I go to buy light-bulbs today, as an adult, like all the other customers, I see Compact Fluorescent Light-Bulbs, as well as LEDs, the brightness of which is stated in Lumens. What I generally tend to find, is that light-bulbs of the fluorescent family, which are meant to be equivalent to the ~Old, 100W~ incandescents, tend to draw approximately 23W, and are stated on the packaging to produce about 1500 Lumens.
Lightbulbs of the LED family with the same equivalence, are stated to draw about 16W, and to produce about 1500 Lumens. I have actually found LEDs, which are stated to draw about 17W, and to produce 1600 Lumens of visible brightness, but which possess a visibly-larger base, from the other types.
If I could just hazard a guess, I’d say that one way to understand Lumens, is to start with the Watts of light in the visible part of the spectrum, and to multiply those by 100. What this would suggest, is that the most-efficient LEDs waste about 1W as heat, while then fluorescents still tend to waste a bit more energy, such as perhaps 8W – some of that in the form of UV light, making those approximately 65% efficient. But this would also mean, that the efficiency of modern LEDs is hard to improve upon. If the brightest variety only seem to produce 1W of waste heat, out of 16W or 17W consumed, it would make most sense to infer that in that range of efficiencies, the Wattage can be translated into Lumens quite easily. More Watts will simply produce more light, and fewer Watts will produce less light. In percentages, the LEDs would seem to have an efficiency of about 94%.
If we have a new light-bulb type, that draws 4.5W, but that produces visible light amounting to 350 Lumens, it would follow from this thinking, that this type is wasting about 1W / 4.5W. In percentages, this would imply an efficiency of 78%.
I suppose that I can offer a comment on the temperatures which the light-bulb-bases of household LEDs reach…