The Energy Star program began in 1992, and by now there isn’t an electrician or contractor around who doesn’t know about it. However, since then, energy efficiency in lighting products has become even more important and has led other groups to pop up and start rating lamps and other lighting products as well.
One of these other groups is the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which was formed in 1998. The DLC has become a major source of information for contractors and lighting distributors around the U.S. and even puts its seal of approval on specific products. This seal on product packaging may be confusing if you were looking for the Energy Star rating.
Both Energy Star and the DLC want to promote energy efficiency, environmental safety and consumer awareness, but they aren’t the same thing.
Here’s what you need to know about both programs:
- A voluntary product rating program created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Energy Star tests and rates lighting products to determine quality, energy efficiency and environmental safety
- Tests and rates products in more than 70 categories
- Manufacturers apply to receive an Energy Star rating on their products
- Products are rigorously tested by independent labs
- Products must meet specific standards set by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy
- Randomly tests off-the-shelf products to verify qualifications every year
- Publicizes ratings
- Ratings have become an international standard
- Has expanded beyond lighting products to electronics, appliances, residences, commercial buildings and industrial plants
- Currently in the lighting industry, Energy Star is used as a light bulb or lamp rating system
- A project created and maintained by nonprofit Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership
- Has 23 utility and energy organization members from around the Northeast and Midwest
- Rates lighting products on the market based on quality and energy efficiency
- Publishes a Qualified Products List (QPL) that is available to DLC members only
- Manufacturers apply to have products tested and added to QPL
- Products are tested by independent labs to determine qualifications
- QPL includes information regarding the product, its manufacturer, light output, luminaire efficacy, power factor, color temperature, rated lifetime and more
- The QPL is used throughout North America for efficiency program standards
- Products on the QPL may be eligible for state and utility incentives
- Is not affiliated with Energy Star
- DLC does not rate products that are covered by Energy Star
- If Energy Star begins to cover a new product category, DLC is required to no longer rate that category
- Currently in the lighting industry, DLC is used as a rating system for LED light fixtures and is the qualification standard for many utility rebates
If you’re looking for high-quality and energy-efficient lighting products, you should first look for the Energy Star rating. However, because not every type of lighting product is tested by Energy Star yet, you can use the DLC to learn about energy efficient products, as it’s a trust resource for information a wide variety of lamps and products.