What is DLC 4.0?


A common designation for LED lamps and fixtures released in recent months is “DLC 4.0 rated”. Previously manufacturers touted products with a vague DLC status. What implications will there be for the rebate process on DLC 4.0 products as well as those that qualified previously?

If you are unfamiliar with DLC, it stands for the Design Lights Consortium. The Design Lights Consortium is a non-profit organization that evaluates lighting products and encourages manufacturers to implement the most efficient technology possible. This then works it’s way down to the consumer, with rebate companies creating incentives for purchasing qualified LED lighting.

Older DLC-rated products are no longer going to qualify for rebates, as the standards have been raised. DLC 4.0 is the new criteria (active April 2017) that requires certain efficacy levels for LED lamps and fixtures to be met in order for them to qualify for maximum rebates from energy companies.

Take LED T8 lamps for example. The previous designation, DLC 3.0, required the bare lamp to produce 100 lumens per watt (LPW) with 85 LPW out of fixture. The new DLC 4.0 rating requires the bare lamp to put out 110 LPW with 100 LPW delivered out of the fixture. When considering the light lost through reflection as well as lumen levels being lowered based on power factor, this equates to 130-140 LPW in order for 100+ to be out of the fixture.

DLC 4.0 is not to be confused with a DLC Premium rating. DLC Premium is a rating for retrofits and luminaires requiring an L90 greater than 36,000 hours, integral controls, and temperature ratings for the LED driver within the fixture, among other factors.

Curious about the DLC status of your LED product? Search up the part number on the DesignLights Consortium website to see the active DLC status. This is the only way to know if the product will qualify, as even if you have a cut sheet with a DLC logo on it, that may mean it qualifies for a previous DLC certification.

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