Converting existing fixtures to LED is popular topic among commercial and industrial end users right now. Retrofitting, either through a screw-in bulb or a retrofit kit, is a great way to realize the benefits of LED with a lower upfront investment. Consumer demand is strong, and there are plenty of manufacturers in this space with a solution for just about any existing fixture. The business case for retrofitting is strong, but contractors and specifiers must also be careful not to violate the original UL listing of the fixture inadvertently in the process.



UL 1598C

Underwriter’s Laboratories is a third-party testing agency that certifies products to operate safely under certain conditions. In general, electrical products may be Listed, Classified or Recognized by UL. According to the their website, “UL Listing means that UL has tested representative samples of the product and determined that it meets UL’s requirements.”


Standard 1598 applies to most of the common fixtures we see every day in non-hazardous locations of 600V or less. Recently, UL added a new standard, 1598C, for testing the safe operation of LED retrofit kits in existing incandescent, fluorescent, induction and HID luminaires that fall under Standard 1598.  Retrofit products that are listed to UL 1598C mean that the fixture retains its original UL listing even if the key electrical regulation device (the ballast) is bypassed.


Light Efficient Design is one LED manufacturer that takes UL 1598C seriously. According to Mike Boyd, National Sales Manager, all of their mogul base and 120V Edison base lamps currently available are listed to UL 1598C. “Many other manufacturers have not gone the extra mile to get this UL 1598C listing and consumers need to be aware that it’s a standard they should be seeking,” said Boyd.


UL 1598C listing will be even more critical as Designlights Consortium (DLC) adds a new category for screw-in retrofit lamps to their qualified products list (QPL) this year. Boyd anticipates that many utilities will add incentives for screw-in lamps to their programs in 2017, driving even more demand for retrofit products. Light Efficient Design already has 65 models of product on DLC’s QPL, and they intend to develop more products to meet new categories as they come along.


A Word of Caution

UL 1598C only applies to fixture that fell under standard 1598 in the first place. Examples of fixtures that don’t fall under this standard include hazardous location or emergency lighting, among other categories. For these situations, it is generally best to seek out a new LED fixture (listed under the appropriate UL standard) or partner with an engineer to determine if suitable retrofit options exist.


Border States’ team of lighting and energy solutions specialists can help you navigate the process of retrofitting your facility to LED. Contact your local BSE branch to get started today.


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