office buildings over a river

As the nation’s largest energy consumer, the US government has a keen interest in reducing the taxpayer costs and carbon emissions associated with energy use. And, with federal buildings accounting for 40 percent of the federal government’s energy usage, reining in the electricity needed to illuminate these public facilities is a priority for meeting carbon reduction goals.

To that end, the US General Services Administration (GSA) and the US Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) publish guidance documents outlining energy efficiency benchmarks federal agencies must meet when purchasing and installing lighting products. These efforts have tangible results. FEMP, for example, reports that federal agencies have achieved a nearly 27 percent reduction in energy intensity since 2003.

Though perhaps not widely known by our members and stakeholders, the DLC’s technical requirements plays a key role in the federal government’s energy efficiency procurement processes, as both the GSA and FEMP require agencies to use lighting products that are either on the DLC’s Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Qualified Products List or meet our Technical Requirements.

Mandated by law, FEMP focuses on key services that help agencies meet energy and water reduction requirements and goals. FEMP’s acquisition guidance applies to several product types, including indoor troffers, and indoor linear and high bay luminaires. FEMP’s “Purchasing Energy-Efficient Commercial and Industrial LED Luminaires” guide notes that buying and specifying LEDs can be challenging for procurement officers, and cites the DLC as an objective resource that provides “performance data, tests reports, case studies and product information that federal buyers can use to make more informed purchasing decisions”. It adds that LEDs compliant with the DLC’s Technical Requirements “can be easily found in the DLC’s searchable online database.”  

The GSA’s  “P-100 Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service” establishes design standards and criteria for a wide range of government-owned and leased facilities, including new buildings, repairs, alterations, modernizations, lease construction facilities, and historic structures. The latest version of this policy (2021) requires that all new solid-state luminaires, as well as LED retrofit kits, must meet the DLC’s SSL Technical Requirements, or be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure comparable quality and efficiency levels are being met in the case of lighting categories not covered by the DLC.

In addition, the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative recently published low carbon technology strategy toolkits whose recommendations point to high performance lighting and control products on the DLC’s SSL and Networked Lighting Controls QPLs. Ranging from “simple” and “intermediate” to “advanced”, the DOE toolkit recommendations apply to end-use building applications, including: large office, small to medium office, stand-alone retail and strip mall, primary school, secondary school, supermarket, hospital, outpatient healthcare, small hotel, and midrise apartment.

Federal agencies aren’t the only government entities relying on the DLC for objective, third-party verification of product efficacy and quality. As municipalities seek to reduce their electricity usage, many are moving to replace old-fashioned energy-wasting streetlights with high-efficiency, controllable LEDs. Communities across the country, from Smithfield, Rhode Island and Lebanon, New Hampshire to Memphis, Tennessee and Cedar Park, Texas, have referenced requirements for DLC-listed products in their streetlight replacement requests for proposals (RFP).

Consistent with our goal to mitigate climate change through lighting specifications that combine market solutions with positive outcomes for both people and the environment, the DLC is pleased that our QPLs and technical performance specifications meet government agencies’ needs for high-performing lighting products, helping to further critically important public sector efforts to reduce energy consumption.

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