As a business owner, company manager, and/or entrepreneur who wants to optimize their spending on the lighting infrastructure in their commercial premises, you need to buy those lighting devices that suit your business needs to a T and are also cost- and energy-efficient. On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that you should install only approved and certified lighting devices in your business premises.
Various industrial regulatory bodies have laid down rules regarding the safety standards and working conditions to be maintained in commercial spaces. There are also guidelines regarding the lighting devices to be installed. Failure to adhere to these guidelines will invite penalties. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to stick to these guidelines and use only those lighting devices that have been duly certified by trusted bodies. Knowing about the important lighting certifications will help you make the best buying decision.
Given below are six lighting-specific certifications that every business owner should be aware of.
The DesignLights Consortium (DLC) is a certification issued for commercial LED lights based on their color rendering capabilities, light distribution and output, lumen maintenance, longevity or the ability to withstand stress, and the duration of the warranty period. The certification is issued for lighting products like retro-fit kits, commercial and industrial-grade lighting panels, roadway luminaires, high bays, and wall packs.
The DLC lighting guide lays down strict operational regulations for a variety of commercial LED products. LED manufacturers have to get their products tested by independent accredited laboratories to obtain DLC certifications.
The CEE (Consortium for Energy Efficiency) has its own exhaustive list of performance and operational safety and efficacy guidelines for a range of commercial lighting products like lamps and ballasts. These guidelines are updated regularly to include the latest energy-efficient reduced wattage (28 and 25 watts) lighting fixtures that hit the market. Many jurisdictions across the United States make it mandatory that commercial spaces should install T8 (Low-Watt T8 or High-Performance T8) ballasts that have been certified by the CEE. Some of the critical CEE guidelines for T8 ballasts are that these devices must have a power factor of at least 95 percent, have a Class A sound rating, and shall not contain PCBs.
Title 24 (California)
Apart from the lighting performance and safety guidelines laid down by nationally-recognized bodies, several jurisdictions across the United States have formulated their own regulations that have to be followed by business owners operating within the state limits. For instance, the California Energy Commission has laid down the Title 24 lighting guidelines to help business owners find out the lighting devices in the market that are most energy-efficient. The Title 24 guidelines are modified regularly to keep pace with the developments in the market and the latest energy-efficiency insights.
The ENERGY STAR certification for electrical appliances and fixtures is one of the most well-known all over the world, and is also widely used by business owners who want to save on their energy bills. ENERGY STAR-certified lighting devices use almost a quarter of energy less than conventional bulbs and last between 10,000 and 50,000 hours.
This means that you are spared the costs of replacing these bulbs often and can use the money saved to fund business-critical ventures. These lights also produce a consistent amount of light throughout their lifespans. Some ENERGY STAR rated bulbs come equipped with motion sensors and are ideal to be installed in the lobby area of your office or hallways and parking lots.
The longevity and high-performance of CFLs and LED lights encourage many business owners to install these lighting devices within their business premises. Checking the Federal Trade Commission's Lighting Facts® certification issued only by a few approved laboratories is a fool-proof way to ensure that the devices you buy can suit your business needs and perform optimally. The certification is issued after testing light bulbs for their brightness, energy consumption, lifespan, and light appearance.
The Lighting Facts® certification makes it mandatory that bulb manufacturers display the lumens value (a measure of the brightness of light emitted by the bulb) on the packaging instead of watts (a measure of the energy consumed by the bulb during a specific time period). Manufacturers have to also display information like the approximate energy cost of using the bulb in a year. In case of CFLs, the manufacturers have to display the amount of mercury present in the bulb on the packaging.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is the premier body engaged in the research and development work on the issues of light pollution and how to restore the natural night environment. The Dark Sky certification by the IDA is issued under the Fixture Seal of Approval (FSA) program.
The IDA issues the Dark Sky certificate to outdoor lighting fixtures that lessen glare and light trespass. The source of light in such lamps is shielded, and the light output is never projected to more than 90 degrees in the vertical plane. If you are an environmentally-conscious business owner, then you should buy the outdoor lighting fixtures for your commercial space after checking the Dark Sky certification.
The above-mentioned six important lighting-specific certifications help you buy a lighting device that delivers stellar performance and helps you optimize your investment and resources while being eco-friendly.