History of the DLC

The DLC® has over ten years of experience promoting energy efficiency in the commercial lighting sector. 


The DLC kicked off the start of a new decade by launching two Technical Requirement updates in tandem for the Solid State Lighting QPL. The V5 requirements increase the emphasis on quality of light characteristics, while continuing a decade-long push to maximize energy efficient solutions through LED lighting.   


In 2018, the DLC set a new benchmark for energy efficiency in horticultural lighting with its launch of the Horticultural Lighting Program and Qualified Product List (Hort QPL). The DLC’s Horticultural Lighting Program is a suite of tools and resources to enable widespread adoption of energy-saving LED technology in the horticultural lighting sector. Working in partnership with utilities, energy efficiency programs, and the lighting industry, the DLC will build, distribute, and update these tools as this sector continues its rapid evolution.

2015 – 2018

In 2015, the DLC introduced the Commercial Advanced Lighting Controls (CALC) initiative. The project is designed to enable widespread implementation of lighting controls in commercial buildings and exterior environments by addressing market barriers to adoption of the technology. The controls initiative consists of several components, including a Networked Lighting Controls (NLC) Qualified Products List, educational resources and training curriculum, a savings estimator tool, demonstration projects, and more. The DLC controls initiative will grow and transform as this new and exciting technology evolves with  continued market adoption.


In 2010, the DLC launched its QPL for commercial grade SSL luminaires. Within a few months, efficiency programs from beyond the Northeast region requested to participate in the program as DLC Members. Today, DLC Members include utility, state, and regional energy efficiency programs from over 35 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. As of December 2016, the QPL contains over 250,000 luminaires from more than 1500 manufacturers and continues to expand with the rapidly-growing LED market.


In 2008, LED lighting for general illumination became commercially available and the energy efficiency community was anxious to reap its energy savings benefits. ENERGY STAR®, along with the DOE Solid State Lighting (SSL) team, created a qualification process for consumer-focused LED lighting products in order to avoid the market-introduction pitfalls that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) had experienced in the early 1990s. Soon it became obvious that similar needs existed for the commercial LED sector and energy efficiency program managers in the Northeast turned to the DLC to create a similar resource for commercial-grade LED luminaires. The resource became the DLC Solid State Lighting Qualified Products List (QPL).


In 2006, the DLC engaged middle-market players in a new commercial lighting initiative for High Performance T8 (HPT8) fluorescent lighting. The HPT8 program provided education to lighting distributors throughout the Northeast about equipment and utility program requirements, and encouraged them to stock qualifying HPT8 equipment. Within two years, the Northeast’s lighting distributors became fully practiced at stocking HPT8 equipment.


The DLC began as a commercial lighting initiative of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships in 1998 and initially consisted of a working group made up of energy efficiency program managers. In response to the fact that many energy efficiency projects fell short on lighting quality, the DLC developed the knowhow series™, a set of lighting design guides for individual commercial spaces. The guides highlighted up-to-date and efficient lighting equipment, best design practices, and codes and standards for commercial lighting. The knowhow series™ was embraced by architects and engineers alike as an instructional tool to promote services and to distinguish themselves against their competitors.