LIGHTING BY CRAIG DILOUIE
The DLC is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to promoting energy-efficient
lighting. Its membership represents
some 100 utilities and energy-efficiency
programs across the United States and
Canada. The DLC publishes the Solid-State Lighting QPL, which identifies
light-emitting diode (LED) products
that have been verified as being both
high-performing and energy-efficient.
Currently, more than 175,000 LED
products are listed in the Solid-State
Lighting QPL in eight categories.
The DLC’s members and many other
utilities rely on the QPL as a way to qualify products for rebate programs, giving
it extraordinary influence. In 2014, U.S.
and Canadian programs allocated an estimated $2 billion in lighting incentives.
Lighting controls are commonly recognized in rebate programs, but adoption
in existing construction remains low. For
example, the U.S. Department of Energy
reports only 2 percent of the country’s
commercial buildings have daylight-har-vesting controls. According to Navigant
Research, Boulder, Colo., in the North-west—where strong energy-efficiency
programs and energy codes have been
in effect for 20 years— 73 percent of
commercial lighting is still manually
controlled. Also, nearly all prescriptive
rebate programs do not recognize networked lighting controls.
Networked lighting controls promise significant energy-savings potential.
These systems have come a long way as
manufacturers innovated to reduce the
cost and complexity of installation and
commissioning. New luminaires are being
packaged with onboard wireless sensors,
and systems are becoming simplified so
they are scalable even to very small projects and less sophisticated customers.
Regulators are increasingly tasking rebate program managers to save
energy beyond energy code mandates.
As a result, they are shifting their focus
to high-performing LED products and
networked lighting controls. The Networked Lighting Controls QPL identifies
qualified systems for inclusion in rebate
programs. Gabe Arnold, program manager at the DLC, said some utilities have
already developed programs to launch in
the second half of 2016. Others will roll
out their own programs in 2017.
“DLC members report that net-
worked lighting controls are used in
less than 1 percent of the lighting proj-
ects seen by their programs every year,”
Arnold said. “DLC seeks to change the
current paradigm to a new future where
90 percent or more of projects incorpo-
rate networked controls.”
The specification covers both
required and reported capabilities.
Required capabilities must be verified to
achieve listing in the QPL. These include
networking luminaires and devices;
luminaire and device addressability in
the network; continuous dimming; zon-
ing; and occupancy sensing, daylight
harvesting and high-end trim control.
In addition, the system must be com-
mercially available and carry a minimum
five-year warranty for all components in
Reported capabilities are additional
features that the DLC will publish in
the product’s listing, providing more
information about it to ensure appro-
priate application. These include
luminaire-level control (integrated
or nonintegrated); distributed intelli-
gence; building management systems
integration; energy monitoring; device
monitoring/remote diagnostics; type of
user interface; operational and standby
power; and time-scheduling, load shed-
ding, personal and plug-load control.
Arnold said the specification is flex-
ible so as to include different approaches
manufacturers use with their systems.
“Lighting-control technology is
undergoing a period of rapid change
and innovation with minimal standardization,” he said. “The specification
provides an inclusive and flexible framework to build from. It enables options
and customer choice.”
The specification is the cornerstone
of a larger market transformation effort
that DLC is rolling out over the next year
to increase adoption of networked controls. Other program elements include
training, demonstration projects and an
energy-savings estimating tool for layered lighting controls. The DLC also is
developing a unified incentive strategy to
simplify the rebate process and streamline it across rebate program territories.
The DLC estimates that about 40
systems currently on the market may be
eligible for inclusion in the list.
“Learn about qualified systems and
use them in your next project,” Arnold
said. “Get educated on the technology.
Attend training. Take advantage of the
new rebates. LEDs shook up and changed
the lighting industry, but the potential
changes from networked lighting con-
trols have far greater implications.”
To learn more about the specifica-
tion and the first systems listed in the
Networked Lighting Controls QPL, visit
The energy-saving system you should get to know
IN MAY 2016, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) released Networked Lighting Controls System Specification V1.01. By the end of June, the DLC published a Qualified
Products List (QPL) for networked controls. This may have a profound impact on
demand for networked controls in existing buildings. Electrical contractors now
have increased incentive to get to know these systems.
DILOUIE, L.C. is a journalist and educator specializing in the lighting industry. Learn
LightNOWblog.com. I S T