DLC 4.0 is a new standard set by the Design Lights Consortium(DLC) for lighting products to meet certain performance and efficiency standards. Since lighting technology has improved so rapidly over the past decade, the DLC is continually evaluating their standards and making them more demanding to meet the evolution of the products they evaluate. The new 4.0 standards went into effect on January 1st, 2017, and products are available now to consumers.


Who is the DLC?

DLC 4.0 certification logoThe DLC (an acronym for the Design Lights Consortium) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage the development and implementation of efficient lighting technologies. The way that they do that is to create certifications for products that meet efficiency standards, and update those standards as lighting technology advances. The DLC is supported by 85 member organizations. Most of them are electric utilities who provide rebates for qualifying lighting products.  You may recognize the logo to the right, which is displayed on products that meet the DLC's standards. The DLC took shape around 1998, but did not become the Design Lights Consortium until 2008 when solid state(LED) lighting sbecame a big player in the lighting market.

Basically, the DLC evaluates all lighting products that apply for a certification for the following:


Why should I care about DLC certification?

Quickly identify efficient lighting products

If you are someone who purchases lighting products(which is probably just about all of us), look for the DLC logo on lighting products. This quickly ensures that you are choosing one of the most efficient and high-performance products on the market. Lighting technology is changing rapidly, so knowing which products are the most efficient for today is no easy task. The experts at the DLC will do the work so you don't have to.


The member organizations of the DLC are mostly electric utility companies. They use the DLC-certification to decide which products are eligible for rebates. It is important to first check with your local utility company to find out which certifications they honor. More often than not, the standard they use is DLC. Once you determine that your local electric company honors rebates for DLC-certified products, just start looking for the DLC logo when you are shopping for light fixtures, lamps, sensors, and more.

Achieve other efficiency certifications

As humans strive to form a society that works in symbiosis with our planet, certifications for buildings, homes, events, and more exist to qualify for energy-efficiency. Using DLC products may qualify you for those certifications. At the very least, it ensures that you are making the best choice for cutting your electricity demand.


How can I know if my product is DLC certified?

For the most part, you can check the packaging or online product listing for a DLC logo to be present. If you do not trust the accountability of the lighting manufacturer or retailer that you are purchasing from, you can check DLC status for any product on the DLC website. They have a search engine for DLC-listed products on pretty much every single page.


What is new about DLC 4.0?

The main change for the 4.0 certification is in efficiency of the LED(light emitting diode). This is measured as lumens per watt(LPW). According to Haitz's Law LPW will improve by a factor of 10 every decade. By that law, 1 watt produces 10 times more light from the most efficient LEDs in 2017 than it did in 2007. To put it simply, every lighting product must produce more lumens per watt under DLC 4.0 than they did from the previous certification. 

While we wish we could give you a LPW number that you can use across the board, the DLC sets a different standard specific to each type of light fixture and bulb. To give you an example, the requirements for an LED troffer went from 110 LPW to 125 LPW, and increase of around 14% emitted light using the same amount of power. 


When does DLC 4.0 take effect?

  • - DLC 4.0 went into effect on January 1st, 2017.
  • - The DLC began taking applications for DLC 4.0 certification on September 1st, 2016. 
  • - Products that do not meet 4.0 standards(but were previously certified) will be removed from the list on April 1st, 2017.


So, what do I need to know about DLC?

Unless you are a lighting manufacturer(and if you are we hope you knew all of this already), you don't need to worry about the specifics of the qualifications of DLC 4.0. After all, the DLC was created to make our lives easier. We just need to look for the DLC logo when shopping for efficient lighting products. Fortunately, when shopping on ShineRetrofits.com, you will find the DLC logo displayed just below the product specs on every product that qualifies(see below).


screen shot of shineretrofits.com showing you where to identify a DLC 4.0 product