What are DLC listed LED Grow Lights? And why does it matter?

Design Lights Consortium to include horticultural lights

The Design Lights Consortium (DLC) has started a horticultural lighting program and the first LED lights for indoor growing have been approved. Thrive Agritech, supplier of LED lighting for greenhouses and indoor farms, encourages this. "Buying DLC listed products provides peace-of-mind that the lights meet rigorous performance, safety and reliability standards", they state, explaining why they are amongst the first to get their projects listed.

Design Lights Consortium is a non-profit organization with a mission of advancing the adoption of energy efficient lighting. The organization historically focused on general lighting applications such as retail lighting and street lighting. But very recently DLC started accepting submissions of LED grow lights for qualification testing and inclusion in its Horticulture Lighting Qualified Products List (QPL).

A few of the critical performance and reliability requirements to achieve DLC listing include:

  • Efficacy > 1.9 umol/J between 400-700nm
  • Long-term performance:  Q90 > 36,000 hours photon flux maintenance
  • Driver Lifetime: > 50,000 hours
  • Warranty:  > 5 years

In addition to performance and reliability, DLC requires products to be certified by a relevant safety certification body in the United States or Canada. Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), for example, has defined UL 8800 for the review and safety certification of horticulture lighting products.

"LED lighting for controlled environment agriculture (CEA) continues to mature as new standards and regulations are implemented across the industry", the team with Thrive Agritech explains. "And the emergence of the Design Lights Consortium (DLC) horticulture lighting program is an important step forward." 

Since the horticulture program is new for DLC, there are not currently any qualified lights on the horticulture QPL. However, Thrive Agritech is in process of having its LED grow light fixtures qualified by DLC, and anticipates having some of the first lights listed.  

"DLC listing of an LED lighting fixture is a critical requirement in general lighting because many utilities mandate the listing to receive an energy efficiency rebate. In general lighting most LED lighting manufacturers won't bring a product to market if it isn't capable of achieving DLC listing. We see the exact same scenario emerging in horticulture", they explain. 

"For growers, buying DLC listed products provides peace-of-mind that the lights meet rigorous performance, safety and reliability standards. Further, utilities are likely to begin mandating DLC listed lights in order to qualify for energy efficiency rebates." 

A comprehensive overview of DLC horticulture lighting requirements is here.

For more information:

Thrive Agritech, Inc.
(800) 205-7216


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