A Guide to the Most Useful Lighting Technical Information

The internet is full of technical lighting resources, but deciphering which ones are correct, up to date and applicable to residential lighting can be difficult. Recently, ALA’s Director of Engineering Terry McGowan, FIES, LC, complied a list of some of the most relevant technical lighting information resources for ALA members to reference.

Residential Lighting Application Information & Standards

IES Lighting Ready Reference App
The new, free, IES Lighting Ready Reference App is available through the app store for both Android and iOS. This app contains basic information on subjects such as light and color, glare, quality lighting, light sources, lighting controls and vision. Built-in calculators help design general lighting or analyze lighting costs. The Residential Lighting section of the extensive Illuminance Tables includes the recommended lux values (horizontal and vertical) for dozens of specific indoor and outdoor residential areas. More information is at:

ALA Engineering Committee
The ALA Engineering Committee meets annually for a two-day exchange of lighting technical information. The meeting content and presentations are published soon after the meeting, and include presentations by both ALA technical members as well as outside experts. Reviewing this published material is a fast and efficient way to get up-to-date information on technical subjects of interest to the industry. See the list of subjects at:

Product Safety & Electrical Installation Standards

National Electrical Code
The National Electrical Code (NEC), officially NFP 70®, can be viewed online at: To view this resource, users must create an NFP profile. Once signed in, McGowan recommends choosing the “Free Access” tab, then going to the code language itself. Lighting information is consolidated in Articles 410 and 411 on pages 70-267 in the 2017 Edition. Users can also select the specific articles they want from the table of contents, which is found in blue at the right of the screen.

UL Standards
The UL Standards Catalog Page at is another good resource. Once on the page, users can enter a key word such as “luminaire” to see a list of standards. By entering the number of a particular standard, users can see the table of contents and other information, including how to purchase the standard. The key UL standards for residential lighting fixture products are UL-1598 “Luminaires,” UL-153 “Portable Electric Luminaires,” and UL-8750 “Light Emitting Diode (LED) Equipment for Use in Lighting Products.” Note that UL-1598 is harmonized, so it is virtually the same for the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

CSA Standards
Canadian electrical and lighting standards are available from the CSA Group,, and include the Canadian Electrical Code, which is officially titled, “Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 (24th edition), Safety Standard for Electrical Installations” C22.1-18. Start at:

Lighting Design and Applications

ALA Website
Look carefully at the new ALA consumer-facing website. This site has excellent lighting design and application information on design-focused/consumerfacing site, as well as the site intended for member lighting professionals. This content includes technical information and an abundance of application pictures illustrating quality lighting. Examples of helpful content include “Bulb Basics,” “LEDs and Dimming,” and “RF Interference from LEDs.” Members can visit and click the yellow button next to the ALA logo on the top left of the page for a list of topics. To switch between the consumer-facing and lighting professionals pages, use the yellow button at the top right of the page or utilize the two different URLs, and

The new IES/ALA/ANSI RP-11-17 “Lighting for Interior and Exterior Residential Environments” is the new North American Standard on the subject. This document is thorough, up to date and oriented to the design professional. ALA members can order copies for $63 USD at:

National & State Energy Codes and Product Performance Requirements

California Energy Commission
California has broad and stringent lighting product and installation requirements based upon lighting energy efficiency. These are written and administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC). The Title 20 requirements apply to products such as light bulbs, portable fixtures and controls. California’s Title 24 is a building code mandating the installation
of certain, qualified energy-efficient lighting products. Lighting products sold in California must be approved and registered on a CEC database called the MAEDBS. To find out if a specific lighting product is listed on the database, visit ApplianceSearch.aspx. For information about testing, product performance requirements, labeling and marking, visit Details about technical performance and updates can be found in the ALA Engineering Meeting presentations and minutes. See: for the topic listings.

U.S. Department of Energy and Federal Trade Commission
Bulbs, torchieres, ceiling fans, ceiling fan light kits and several other lighting products are regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). There are also labeling and marking requirements, which are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for some products. A good overview can be found on the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) site at: where users can find requirements and compliance information by general product type.

Members aware of other apps or online resources that are useful and would be helpful to fellow members and/or consumers are encouraged to send that information to McGowan at for him to review and add to the list. For the most up-to-date resources list, members can bookmark the page

Previous Article President's Letter - January 2019
Next Article Hinkley Lighting Acquires Regency Ceiling Fans