The Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is a non-profit product certification program launched in 2010, the year manufacturers started ramping up production of LED luminaries.
The DLC promotes quality and energy performance standards for commercial sector energy efficiency solutions. The DLC collaborates with federal and local government energy agencies in the US and Canada, utilities companies, lighting manufacturers, and lighting designers.
The DLC Logo Means The Product Has Been Tested
For specifiers and buyers of commercial LED fixtures, the most visible work of the DLC is the Qualified Products List. Luminaires that meet quality and energy performance benchmarks for distinct fixture applications are included in the list. Manufacturers can add the DLC logo to products that qualify for the list.
Technical requirements with minimum benchmark values include: Light Output, Zonal Lumen Density, Luminaire Efficacy, Allowable Color Temperatures, CRI, L70 Lumen Maintenance, and Warranty. Each luminaire application type (eg. outdoor area lighting; flood lighting; office ceiling; parking garage, etc.) has different required values.
Listed products must be tested in a certified testing laboratory using IES LM-79 and LM-80 procedures.
DLC and Energy Star: Similar but Different
Both DLC and Energy Star produce lists of qualified energy efficient lighting products. One difference between the two is the composition of the organizations. DLC is a consortium of industry stakeholders from manufacturers to utilities. Energy Star is a government program operated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
At a functional level, the DLC does not get involved with any lighting product category covered by Energy Star. For the most part, DLC is focused on commercial applications and Energy Star on residential.
In either case, when buyers research lighting products, the logos these organizations on the product data sheets should provide an extra level of confidence that the claims of the manufacturer will actually be realized in energy efficient, quality lighting.
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