DesignLights Consortium Publishes New Technical Requirements for Networked Lighting Controls

June 11, 2019

Policy aims to speed wider adoption of NLCs and boost the technology’s value by addressing issues such as cybersecurity and energy monitoring

MEDFORD, MA – June 11, 2019 – Continuing efforts to unlock the untapped energy savings and smart building potential of networked lighting controls (NLC), the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) has published a new specification.

The DLC’s Networked Lighting Control System Technical Requirements V4.0 took effect yesterday, with a 12-month grace period for products qualified under the V3.0 requirements. It reflects two rounds of stakeholder comments, as well as robust discussion at the DLC’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting in April, and includes updates in two key areas: energy monitoring and cybersecurity. NLC systems that meet the DLC’s requirements are included on a Qualified Products List (QPL) that guides the design of energy efficiency incentive programs across the US and Canada.

“We know that networked lighting controls have vast and largely unrealized potential to reduce energy use and subsequent carbon emissions, while providing a gateway to building intelligence. With V4.0, the DLC is addressing issues critical to wider market acceptance and adoption of this transformational technology,” DLC Executive Director Christina Halfpenny said.

A 2018 DLC study showed that, when installed along with light emitting diodes (LED), NLCs can boost the energy efficiency of stand-alone LED commercial lighting projects by up to 47 percent. In addition, networked lighting can be equipped with sensors programmed to collect a wealth of data – making NLCs an ideal pathway toward smarter buildings that respond to the real-time needs of facility managers and occupants alike.

First introduced in 2016, the DLC’s NLC Technical Requirements cover a range of capabilities that are either “required” or must be “reported” for a product to attain listing on the QPL. The DLC revises these requirements annually to keep pace with evolving technology and standards. The newest version adds energy monitoring as a required capability – while allowing for a 12-month grace period and exempting room-based NLC systems. V4.0 permits manufacturers to use both automated and manual methods to measure and report the energy consumption of single or groups of luminaires, a capability intended to help inform the design of utility efficiency programs, educate end-users on product efficacy, and better predict manufacturers’ energy efficiency claims.

Regarding cybersecurity, V4.0 establishes criteria for acceptable standards designed to defend against malicious attacks. To claim “cybersecurity capability,” an NLC system must certify utilization of one or more of these standards in the past two years. This newly introduced and currently optional capability is expected to become mandatory for QPL listing with the DLC’s next update, V5.0, in 2020.

Another new aspect of the Networked Lighting Control System Technical Requirements allows building energy management systems (BEMS) that control networked lighting (as well as other building systems such as HVAC) to quality for the NLC QPL. BEMS will need to meet all NLC-specific requirements to qualify, but the DLC will not qualify any HVAC-specific capabilities of listed systems.

V4.0 also introduces interoperability as an important asset manufacturers will need to focus on going forward, although it is not yet required as a mandatory capability of qualified NLC systems. The DLC defines interoperability as “the ability of systems or systems components to transmit, receive, interpret, and/or react to data and/or power and function in a defined and appropriate manner.” This capability allows different systems and system components to work together to unlock new energy savings. The DLC plans to continue researching and developing a multi-year plan that will be included in the 2020 Technical Requirements.

The new Technical Requirements are available to view in detail on the DLC website:  The DLC will host a webinar to explain and take questions on the new policy on June 25, 2019 at 1 pm ET:

About DesignLights Consortium: The DesignLights Consortium® (DLC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the widespread adoption of high-performing commercial lighting solutions. The DLC promotes high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products in collaboration with utilities and energy efficiency program members, manufacturers, lighting designers, and federal, state, and local entities. Through these partnerships, the DLC establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides information, education, tools and technical expertise.


DesignLights Consortium


[email protected]

Web site: