What Does DLC Mean in Lighting?

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If you’re looking for the most energy-efficient lighting products available, you may find it helpful to look at DLC approved products.

In this article, we’re taking a look at one of the questions you may have … what does DLC mean in lighting?

What Does DLC Mean in Lighting?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘DLC Approved’ get thrown around in relation to the lighting industry, but what does DLC mean in lighting?

Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies the energy-efficiency of commercial lighting products.

DLC collaborates with the US and Canada’s local and federal governments as well as utility companies, lighting manufacturers, and lighting designers.

What’s more, DLC’s product certification program was launched in 2010, which is synonymous to the year LED light fixtures began to gain popularity, thanks to the organization’s effort.

The organization’s goal is to promote the production and widespread use of quality and energy-efficient lights for commercial applications by influencing public policy and promoting strategies and education.

According to DLC:

“When you purchase a product with DLC certification you can rest assured that you’ve chosen a highly scrutinized product that has been produced to some of the highest industry standards for quality and efficiency.”

Let’s take a closer look at the question – what does DLC mean in lighting?

Timeline of DLC History

DLC is a member of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), which was first targeted at the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas.

In 1988, NEEP members launched DLC in a quest to provide energy-efficient lights that also offer great illumination.

To that effect, a “knowhow series’ was launched at the time to guide electrical contractors and lighting distributors on how to install energy-efficient, functional, and appealing lights in commercial spaces.

Later in 2006, distributors were also informed of the benefits of High-Performance T8 (HPT8) fluorescent lighting, which was believed to be energy-efficient.

Finally, the DLC Qualified Products List (QPL) was launched in 2010 to highlight the top-quality, energy-saving luminaires from different manufacturers.

What are DLC Rated Light Fixtures?

DLC rated light fixtures are luminaries that are contained in the DLC Qualified Products List.

These luminaries have been tested to meet the technical requirements for a product to be included in the DLC list.

DLC certified products include:

Furthermore, DLC rated light fixtures are easily identifiable in the market using the DLC logo on them.

This because manufacturers whose products have been verified by the organization can add the DLC logo to their products.

Manufacturers can also take the extra step to apply and pay a fee to a DLC-approved third-party for their products to be tested.

Consumers, on the other hand, who see the DLC logo on these products have the confidence that the manufacturer has delivered a product that can provide energy-efficient lighting.

DLC Product Testing Process

DLC rated light fixtures have been tested to meet the quality and energy performance benchmarks for their particular fixture applications.

The process of testing involves using IES LM-79 and LM-80 procedures to examine the fixtures in a certified testing laboratory.

In this case, they must meet certain technical requirements and minimum benchmark values such as light output, luminaire efficacy, zonal lumen density, CRI, L70 lumen maintenance, allowable color temperatures, and warranty.

It is also worth noting that the requirements may vary depending on the purpose the fixture is intended.

For instance, would it be an outdoor area lighting; office ceiling; floodlighting; parking garage lighting, etc.

Benefits of Choosing DLC Rated Light Fixtures

Some benefits of choosing DLC rated light fixtures include:

1. Energy Efficiency

DLC commercial LED fixtures are energy-efficient since they use 80 percent of the power they consume to provide light.

The remaining part is given off as heat, which is less compared to traditional light fixtures that give off 70 to 80 percent of the light they consume as heat.

With less heat generated by these lights, it means that cooling units can be used in commercial buildings infrequently.

2. Cost Savings

DLC listing provides luminaries that consume less power since they use energy efficiently.

Moreover, the infrequent use of ACs also reduces the amount of power that is consumed in a facility.

Coupled with energy-efficient lights, this can result in huge cost savings for a facility.

DLC’s certification also highlights the highest performance products and solutions.

3. Healthier Environment

Energy-efficient lights emit less heat and harmful toxins into the environment.

As such, their use is encouraged since they do not emit UV or contain mercury.

Therefore, consumers who promote a greener and healthier environment can settle for the DLC listed products.

4. Better Lighting

DLC listed products provide good illumination to complete a list of activities.

These lights can be used in outdoor avenues, shopping malls, industrial facilities and lots more.

And as such, it brings about a need for lighting that can enhance productivity and safety, which is what these fixtures can provide.

5. Rebates

Consumers who purchase DLC qualified LED lighting from their local electrical utility provider are often offered cash rebates.

Therefore, you can earn money on the sideline by exchanging your high-pressure sodium or other bulbs for LED Fixtures.

The latter is an incentive to encourage the use of high-performance lightings.

Impact of DLC

DLC’s solid lighting QPL consists of 300,000 commercial lightings, which shows that these ones have been tested to meet the DLC Technological Requirements.

Therefore, this means that there are currently 300,000 products that perform at least 50% better compared to those from five years ago.

In line with that, lighting accounts for 7% of USA electricity requirements and 17% of all energy consumed in US business buildings.

To that effect, the use of 300,000 energy-efficient products can help to reduce emissions into the environment.

Manufacturers are also encouraged to deliver innovative and energy-efficient light fixtures.

Therefore, DLC has impacted significantly in the US and Canada.


The DLC Qualified Products list of commercial-grade LED lights is especially useful for both manufacturers and consumers.

In the case of the former, it enables these makers to strive to offer energy-efficient lights that are on par with their competitors.

Consumers, on the other hand, who prioritize cost savings in their building as well as environmental friendliness are more willing to purchase the DLC rated light fixtures.

Understanding the DLC certification and its benefit in helping you in choosing the best lighting fixtures can prove very useful.

Generally, DLC has encouraged the production and use of energy-efficient lights that can provide good illumination, which is why the demand and supply of these lights have increased significantly over the past decade.

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