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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy


There are two different approaches for lighting products to qualify as compliant for the ETL. White LED lighting modules for backlist illuminated signs and Efficient White Lighting Units are ‘listed’ technologies. For a product to be ETL compliant it must be specifically listed on the ETL product list here.

Lighting Controls is an ‘unlisted’ technology. This is mainly because there are too many individual product combinations in the market, with rapidly changing product ranges, for product listing to be effective.

For unlisted technologies it is up to the supplier to provide the customer with confirmation that the product meets the current ETL criteria at the time of sale. Guidance on the information that should be provided can be found here.

For more detailed guidance on how lighting technologies are treated on the ETL, see the Lighting Guidance Note 10.


Lighting uses around 20% of the electricity generated in the UK. Given that many of the current lighting systems in use are reliant upon inefficient lighting sources, there are numerous opportunities for savings. Due to the pace of lighting technology developments, opting for more efficient luminaires such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) need not be expensive nor disruptive for any organisation. Upgrading from conventional lighting to LED technology can deliver significant cost savings of up to 80% for a business.

Efficient Lighting Solutions

There are a wide variety of highly efficient lighting options now available, including LEDs, and some modern fluorescent and high intensity discharge lamps. Selecting ETL compliant lighting can offer over three times the brightness (lumens) per watt as other non-ETL compliant lighting.

LEDs have the highest efficacy and last significant longer than fluorescent lamps, are cost effective to run and are easy to control and maintain. The use of LED lighting can also work towards improving the quality of light that is provided. The high performance of LEDs ensures that colour rendering is high, a factor which enables natural colours to remain unaltered. An LED solution can give a 70% energy saving compared to older fluorescent technology.

Cost Saving Opportunities

Use of appropriate lighting controls including: daylight detectors, presence detectors, time controls and flexible manual controls can all help to avoid wasting energy.

Controls should be selected that are appropriate to the type of space and whether it is day-lit or intermittently occupied. Savings of 30-50% are common for circumstances where automatic controls are used.

Efficient, well designed lighting can also boost a business’s productivity by providing a better working environment. Low energy lighting is also one of the most visible ways that an organisation can demonstrate concern for the environment.

Efficient White Lighting Units (EWLUs)

EWLUs are products that are specifically designed to provide efficient, high quality, illumination. EWLUs are a combination of a light fitting (or luminaire), one or more light sources, and associated control gear that have been assembled either into a single packaged unit or a luminaire with remote control gear. EWLUs may also incorporate lighting control devices such as dimming and ‘presence’ controls. The luminaire could also include an optical system that reflects and/or focuses the product’s light output onto the item(s) being illuminated.

An EWLU may be equipped with any high efficiency light source, such that it meets the eligibility criteria. The ETL Scheme covers three categories of products: 

  1. Amenity, accent and display lighting units
  2. General interior lighting units
  3. Exterior lighting units

Efficient White Lighting Units have been included on the Energy Technology List (ETL) because they offer substantial energy and carbon savings. A wide variety of products are available with a range of performance levels. The ETL scheme aims to encourage the purchase of higher efficiency products that meet certain minimum quality, design and performance standards.

To be featured on the ETL, eligible Efficient White Lighting Units shall comply with the requirements set out in the criteria here.

For the installation of 25 18W LEDs lighting to replace 25 existing 36W T8 fluorescent luminaires within a typical 100m2 retail store operating sixteen hours per day seven days a week, the potential annual savings are calculated as:

  • £440
  • 3.9 MWh
  • 1.3 tonnes CO2
  • 0.9 year payback

White LED Lighting Modules for Backlit Illuminated Signs

This is a new sub-technology category added to the ETL in 2018 to cover products which provide white light by means of solid state lighting, including appropriate control gear, to illuminate signage. As they are directional sources, LEDs can be particularly effective for back-lighting of display signage

White LED lighting modules must be integrated with electronic gear to meet ETL criteria and they must include one or more LED light fittings.

Lighting Controls

The ETL aims to encourage the purchase of lighting controls that realise energy savings by automatically switching or dimming lighting. Five different categories of lighting control are covered by the ETL:

  • Time controllers to automatically switch off lighting at predetermined times. Time controls are appropriate in places with fixed operating hours, such as a shop or restaurant.
  • Presence detectors with associated switching controllers that monitor occupancy and automatically switch off or dim lighting when not required.
  • Daylight detectors with associated switching controllers that monitor daylight and automatically switch off lighting when daylight is sufficient.
  • Daylight detectors with associated dimming controllers. Usually, lighting is switched off after the sensor fails to detect movement, but in areas where safety is very important dimming is used.
  • Central control units that manage the operation of electric lighting installations including some or all of the categories of lighting controls above.

The five control categories may be installed either individually or in combination. There are various requirements that controls must meet in order to feature on the ETL. For example, controls do not meet the ETL criteria in installations where individual users can change the settings of the control to undermine its energy saving operation.

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