What is a DLC Listing?
When it comes to lighting, one of the more commonly misunderstood terms is “DLC-listed.” What does it mean? What does it tell you about a lighting product? When should (or should not) a DLC listing factor into your decision to purchase a lighting product?
Read on to find answers to these common questions.
What is the DLC?
In short, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) is an organization that sets performance standards for light fixtures and lighting retrofit kits. In a sense, they are to lighting what UL is to electronics, BIFMA is to furniture, and NHTSA is to cars.
According to the DLC website, they’re “…a non-profit organization improving energy efficiency, lighting quality, and the human experience in the built environment. We collaborate with utilities, energy efficiency programs, manufacturers, lighting designers, building owners, and government entities to create rigorous criteria for lighting performance that keeps up with the pace of technology.”
NOTE: It’s important not to confuse the DLC with Energy Star. While both organizations rate products on energy efficiency, Energy Star is a separate program that was started by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What is a DLC listing?
A DLC listing means that a specific product has been tested to deliver superior energy efficiency.
DLC-certified lighting fixtures generally offer higher lumens per watt (LPW). The higher the LPW, the more energy is converted into usable light (and the less energy is lost to heat and other inefficiencies). What this means to the end-user is lower electric bills.
You can visit https://qpl.designlights.org/solid-state-lighting to search for DLC-listed lighting products.
What is a DLC “Premium” listing?
Introduced in 2020, the “DLC Premium” classification “…is intended to differentiate products that achieve higher energy savings while delivering light quality and controllability performance that exceed DLC Standard requirements.”
What this means is that in addition to superior energy efficiency, a Premium-listed product will offer:
- Excellent quality of light (e.g., accurate color rendering, even light distribution)
- Low glare (glare causes fatigue that can hamper productivity)
- Longer product life
- Accurate, continuous dimming
You can visit https://www.designlights.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/DLC_SSL-Technical-Requirements-V5-1_DLC-Premium_07312021.pdf to read about DLC Premium requirements in detail.
Should you avoid non-DLC-listed products?
While it is true that a DLC listing helps ensure a certain level of performance, it doesn’t mean a lighting solution without the DLC’s stamp of approval is inherently inferior. In many cases, it may simply mean the product is new and hasn’t had enough time to make it through the DLC testing process.
So, while it is a good rule of thumb to choose DLC-listed products, the lack of a DLC listing doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker.
When should you definitely choose a DLC-listed product?
In a word: rebates.
Oftentimes, a DLC listing is a requirement to receive a rebate from your utility company. In some cases, a Premium listing is required.
In fact, between 70% and 85% of rebates require DLC-listed products to qualify.
So, if your goal is to maximize savings on your utility bill, a DLC listing is well-worth seeking out.
You can visit https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/financial-incentives to find rebates in your area.
Want to learn more? Planning a large-scale lighting installation in your commercial facility? Contact our lighting pros by calling 888-454-4480.