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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

White LED Lighting Modules for Backlit Illuminated Signs

1.1    Scope

The internally illuminated box signage and built up letters that, for example, spell out company names, logos or other messages and pictures, have been included in the Energy Technology List (ETL) scheme because they offer substantial energy and carbon savings, considering their usual long hours of operation. These products are designed to provide a more efficient solution to back-lit Illuminated signs, which have traditionally been using fluorescent batten fixtures or cold cathode systems.

These products are a form of Display Lighting, i.e. lighting used to highlight displays of exhibits, signs associated with the business function, merchandise, and display case lighting used predominantly in the services and the retail industries either indoors (e.g. shop vitrines) or outdoors (e.g. hotels and restaurant facades).

The ETL criteria are only applicable for situations where the white LED lighting modules are integrated with the electronic control gear. Neither the individual white LED lighting module or electronic control gear alone can be said to ‘comply with the ETL’. 

The internally illuminated signs with white LEDs may also incorporate lighting control devices such as dimming and presence controls.

To be eligible for inclusion on the ETL products shall meet the requirements as set out below.

1.2    Definitions

White light emitting diode (LED) lighting modules for backlit illuminated signs are products which provide white light by means of solid state lighting to illuminate signage. 

The technology is used to internally illuminated box signs and built up letters using white LEDs and modules, in combination with appropriate control gear, in both internal and external applications.  

1.3    Requirements 

1.3.1    Eligibility requirements  

To be eligible, white LED lighting modules for backlit illuminated signs shall:

  • Be used exclusively to back light illuminated signage;
  • Not be used as road traffic signs, safety signs or fire safety signs, trackside railway signs or airside airport signs.
  • Include one or more LEDs, driven by suitable electronic control gear;
  • Not be designed to incorporate or be supplied with LED based ‘lamps’ that retrofit to traditional light sources;
  • Include only appropriately Conformity Assessment marked components;
  • Be capable of producing white light. White light is defined in Annex 2, paragraph 3b of EC Regulation 245/2009 “Implementing Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to Ecodesign requirements for fluorescent lamps without integrated ballast, for high intensity discharge lamps, and for ballasts and luminaires able to operate such lamps”;
  • Only include components that are compliant with the Ecodesign requirements and energy labelling regulations in force, where applicable. At the finalisation of this ETL criteria, the relevant regulations were:
    • Commission Regulation (EU) No 1194/2012 of 12 December 2012 under the Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to Ecodesign requirements for directional lamps, light emitting diode lamps and related equipment.
    • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 874/2012 of 12 July 2012 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of electrical lamps and luminaires

In addition, lamps and control gear shall comply with the following British standards:

  • BS EN 50107-3. Product standard covering luminous signs with discharge lamps and/or LED (light emitting diodes) and/or EL (electroluminescent) light sources with a nominal voltage not exceeding 1000 V, with the exclusion of general lighting, traffic- or emergency purposes
  • BS EN 61347-2-13:2014, “Lamp control gear. Particular requirements for d.c. or a.c. supplied electronic control gear for LED modules”. 

1.3.2    Performance requirements 

Eligible white LED lighting modules for backlit illuminated signs shall:

  • Have a lighting efficacy that is greater than, or equal to, 93 lumens per circuit watt1, when tested after 100 hours of continuous operation. If the product incorporates dimming control it shall be tested at its highest light output level. 
  • Have a power factor that is greater than, or equal to, 0.9 at ≥75% of designed driver load at highest light output level.
  • Be able to provide a light output (in lumens) after 6000 hours of continuous operation that is not less than 90% of their initial light output (in lumens).

In addition: 

  • The electrical power consumed (in circuit watts) is defined as the total power consumed by the whole unit from main circuit connection point to the LED light source, including losses in the control gear.
  • Individual control gear shall have a standby power not exceeding 0.5 Watts when the lighting unit incorporates an electronically addressed dimming or switching circuit. If the product is not fitted with an automatic switching or dimming circuit, the product shall not consume power when it is switched off. 

1.4    Measurement and Calculations

1.4.1    Measurement standards

All products shall be tested in accordance with the procedures laid down in one of the following standards:

  • BS EN 13032-1:2004 +A1:2012, “Light and lighting. Measurement and presentation of photometric data of lamps and luminaires. Measurement and file format”.
  • IESNA LM-79-08, “Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products”. 
  • BS EN 62722-2-1:2016, “Luminaire performance Part 2-1: Particular requirements for LED luminaires”. 

1.4.2    Rounding  

For the avoidance of doubt test data should be presented to zero decimal places by rounding down. As an example, an efficacy of 99.9 lumens per circuit Watt for backlit illuminated signs would be expressed as 99 lm/W and deemed to be a fail.

1.5    Verification for ETL Listing 

Any of the following testing routes may be used to demonstrate the conformity of products against the requirements:

  • Independent testing
  • Representative testing (see clause 1.5.1)

Further information regarding the first route can be found in Guidance Note 5 on the ETL product testing framework . 

1.5.1    Representative testing

Where applications are being made for a range of two or more products that are variants of the same basic design, test data may be submitted for a representative selection of models, provided that all variants conform to the following condition:

1. Parameters such as size, shape, power rating and constructional design do not reduce product energy efficiency performance or basic functionality.

The representative models shall be selected by dividing the range of products into groups of models with similar design characteristics, and testing a model in the lowest quartile of predicted performance in each group. The performance of each model in the group shall be predicted using a validated mathematical model. 

It should be noted that: 

  • If a manufacturer voluntarily removes the representative model from the ETL then other products linked with that representative model may or may not be permitted to remain on the ETL. 
  • If any product submitted under these representative model rules is later found not to meet the performance criteria when independently tested, then all products based on the same representative model will be removed from the ETL.  

1.6    Conformity testing

Products listed on the ETL may be subject to the scheme’s conformity testing programme in order to ensure listed models continue to meet the ETL requirements.


Lumens of light output emitted by the module per circuit watt of electrical power consumed.