How to Ensure LEDs Are High Quality and Safe.
Everyone is betting on LEDs.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting products are fast becoming the lighting solution of choice in both residential and commercial applications. With a quick turn-around on investment, reduction in energy consumption, lower utility bills, and reduced maintenance requirements, it’s no wonder LED related lighting products have been flooding the market in recent years. But, not all LEDs are created equal.
Today, millions of dollars in incentives offered in communities around the country are tied to LED lighting that meets strict performance standards designed to support broad, long-term consumer acceptance. But with the myriad of choices available online (a simple Google search pulls up like a gazillion options) how do you narrow it down? And more importantly, how do you ensure that the product you’re purchasing is high quality and safe?
The easiest way to identify safe, well manufactured products (without diving into a rabbit hole of product reviews) is to look for some key labels. These labels aren’t there just for show, they indicate quality and are granted to a product based on strict, standardized sampling and testing.
Here are a few key labels to look for on LEDs.
To ensure your product selection is the highest quality and most eco-friendly, look for LED light bulbs that have received the Energy Star stamp of approval. Energy Star has become a household name and is something easily recognizable in both residential and commercial spaces. (Read more on our blog, What is Energy Star, and Why Does it Matter?)
Residential light bulbs and fixtures seeking to receive the Energy Star stamp of approval must undergo testing to ensuring they meet strict efficiency, quality, and lifetime criteria including: energy, life rating, cool operating, guaranteed warranty, dimming, light output, color temperature and rendering. Feel confident when you purchase a product with an Energy Star label.
Design Light Consortium
While some products are identified by their Energy Star certification for residential and light commercial compliance, others stand apart for their DLC accreditation and are important for compliance with utility and government-sponsored funding programs for commercial and industrial applications. Maybe not as well known, the Design Light Consortium (DLC) label is a valuable and hard-to-achieve stamp of approval sought after by many manufacturers within the lighting industry. (Read more on our blog about the DLC.)
Both Energy Star and the DLC promote energy efficiency and customer confidence in LED products, but they are different – Energy Star rates consumer (residential) products and the DLC rates commercial products. The DLC provides a central place for all commercial lighting manufacturers to submit their products with 3rd party testing for evaluation against all state and utility standards across the United States and Canada. If their product meets the DLC standards and requirements, it becomes part of their Solid State Lighting Qualified Products List. It’s a big deal, and any commercial product with the DLC rating is required to meet efficiency standards.
The UL Listing Mark (Underwriters Laboratories)
If a product carries this mark, Underwriters Laboratories found that samples f this product met UL’s safety requirements. These requirements are primarily based on UL’s own published Standards for Safety. This type of mark is seen commonly on appliances and computer equipment, furnaces and heaters, fuses, electrical panelboards, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, personal flotation devices like life jackets and life preservers, bullet resistant glass, and thousands of other products.
UL, which has been testing lightbulbs for safety and reliability for decades, has expanded its certification offerings to help ensure quality control and consistency of new LED lights. Meanwhile, UL continues to test for a number of voluntary and regulatory programs, such as Energy Star. UL’s testing methods are updated often, and UL is an active participant in the development of new and updated test methods as the industry evolves.
The ETL Listing Mark
ETL stands for Edison Testing Laboratories and a listed mark is proof of product compliance to North American safety standards. Retailers across the United States and Canada accept the ETL listed mark as proof of product safety.
More often than not, building codes will require lighting fixtures to be either UL or ETL listed. These standards ensure that electrical products are safe. Both UL and ETL listings apply to most electrical products, not just lighting products.
All our EarthBulbs contain the UL listing mark and many are Energy Star or DLC certified as well. At EarthTronics, we strive to go the extra mile to not only meet, but exceed, consumer expectations. Trust that when you invest in EarthTronics LED bulbs and LED fixtures, we’ve already taken the time to invest in our ourselves and in our product line, ensuring a safe and quality bulb every time. Take a big step towards reducing your budgetary bottom line and energy usage with EarthTronics.
If you lead lighting retrofit or new construction projects, but need a supplier with the right mix of LED lighting fixtures and LED bulbs, you’ve come to the right place. Give EarthTonics a call today!