How Will Proposed DLC Controls Specification Affect LED Lighting Solutions?


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How Will Proposed DLC Controls Specification Affect LED Lighting Solutions?

Design Lights Consortium (DLC) continues to remain deeply involved in the standardization of SSL products.  Although DLC is not a government entity, they have partnered with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) to ensure initial alignment of efforts. The NEEA is an alliance which currently consists of more than 140 utilities located in the northwestern portion of the US.

The objective of this latest proposal (which is currently in draft form at this time) is to identify and define system “capabilities” and “attributes” that must be met or reported for lighting control systems to be listed on a future DLC Networked Lighting Controls QPL. This list is a critical element for LED Source as those products that are listed on the QPL may be eligible for incentives or rebates with DLC member programs in the US and Canada that utilize the Networked Lighting Controls QPL resource. The luminaires must also comply with the Luminaire Level Lighting Control (LLLC) concept as identified by the NEEA.  In general terms the LLLC concept is one that calls for luminaires to have controls and sensors mounted into each individual fixture as opposed to being installed in the room or large area.

To verify system capabilities and other requirements, look for the DLC to develop an application type of form that will be used by manufacturers to qualify their system(s) in accordance with the final specification.

Many of the required system capabilities in the draft clearly deliver improved energy efficiency or “Energy benefits”.  However, some system capabilities in the document do not lead directly to improved energy performance, such as requirements for system security or graphical user interface.  I for one must ask “Why do DLC and the various utility driven efficiency programs care about system capabilities that are not related to energy?” It is because many of these capabilities can be leveraged to increase adoption and the successful application of the integrated technology. Of course it is also imperative that the utility customer is satisfied and are receiving rebates. Therefore, both energy as well as non-energy aspects are addressed by the draft.

The draft is filled with references to capabilities and attributes that are “required” or “reported”.  To differentiate, “Required” capabilities must be present in all systems to be included in the QPL. They are minimum requirements of systems that may be used by member energy efficiency programs to determine incentive eligibility.

“Reported” capabilities are those that are not required to be present, but inclusion must be reported.  Here are some examples of both:


  • System must have occupancy Sensing capability.
  • System must have Daylight Harvesting Capability
  • System must have Task Tuning with High End Trim Capability.


  • Whether a system has Demand Response capability.
  • Whether controllers and/or sensors can be integrated into luminaires
  • Whether the system is capable of reporting device energy consumption.

Table 1 summarizes which capabilities are required in order for the system to be included in the QPL. And which capabilities must be reported.

Table 1: Summary Of Required Vs. Reported Capabilities  (Source DLC Draft)

DLC Controls Specification

The tables below show the required as well as reported attributes. When required, it is important to note that the systems must have them to be included on the QPL. However, some of the capability attributes are only reported.  As an example, DLC requires that systems have occupancy sensing in order to be included, but does not require a specific type of sensor. Therefore, the sensor technology will instead be reported information.

Table 2: Networked Capability (Source DLC Draft)

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Table 3: Capability – Occupancy Sensing (Source DLC Draft)

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Table 4: Capability – Daylight Harvesting (Source DLC Draft)


Table 5: Capability – Task Tuning w/High End Trim (Source DLC Draft)

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The proposal goes on to include the same required and reported attributes for:

  • Continuous Dimming
  • Security
  • Graphical Interface
  • Autonomous Processing / Distributed Intelligence
  • Luminaire Integration
  • Scheduling
  • Personal Control
  • Load Shedding (Demand Response)
  • Plug Load Control
  • BMS / EMS and/or HVAC Integration
  • Energy Performance Monitoring
  • Device Monitoring / remote Diagnostics
  • Operational and Standby Power
  • Other Capabilities

Please remember that this is a “Draft” at this point and has not been adopted as an official document by the DLC. DLC has sent out requests to various manufacturers asking for their input as they move forward. I also fully expect the DLC to phase in or to gradually implement any new QPL requirements as it relates to control systems. They have done this in the past and there is no reason to think that they wouldn’t do it in this instance. Considering the technology associated with the implementation and control of this proposal, I further expect to see more limited competition with a much higher price point associated with integrated luminaire controls.

If you would like to receive more information on this proposal, please contact: Tim Hardy – Director of Franchise Business Development at [email protected]

Tim HardyHow Will Proposed DLC Controls Specification Affect LED Lighting Solutions?

Written by: Tim Hardy, P.E., IESNA