Welcome to the Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow Competition

Imagine a connected, efficient home where systems such as lighting, appliances, heating and cooling, security, and home entertainment seamlessly communicate and optimize valued amenities. Where an entire home automatically addresses consumer preferences through established settings combined with occupancy data, energy prices, algorithms, and machine learning. A home that enables improved consumer experience – customized recommendations on ways to save money on energy bills, feel comfortable in their homes, contribute to more reliable energy delivery, and prevent and repair equipment failures more easily.

LHFT is looking to identify and support products on today’s market that will help achieve this integrated home vision. The competition is seeking connected devices and systems in the home that meet consumer expectations in terms of interoperability, reliability and simplicity of use with an emphasis on delivering energy and demand savings.

Is your connected home product or system innovative? Does it offer a unique value proposition? Provide a seamless consumer experience? Deliver energy savings and load management capabilities?

If so, Enter Now to submit your product for evaluation to garner support from the utility industry and receive a year of promotion!

The Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow competition provides manufacturers the opportunity to push the industry forward by introducing high quality and innovative designs, contribute to the greater energy efficiency movement, and gain exposure for their brands and products among industry leaders and consumers alike. In particular, the exceptional products identified by the judging panel are heavily promoted by Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow for a full calendar year.

The 2020 competition launched at the AHR Expo on February 3, 2020. This year, the competition seeks connected lighting and lighting controls, connected HVAC and thermostats, connected windows and window attachments, connected plug load controls, and other connected home devices.

Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow is organized by the American Lighting Association (ALA), the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and UL. Sponsors of the competition are currently developing a detailed plan for 2020; it is anticipated that the competition will launch on February 3, 2020.

Sign up here to receive future competition and event notifications.

Additional Competition Information


The annual Lighting for Tomorrow competition was created in 2002 to recognize the best decorative, energy efficient lighting fixtures in the market. Since its inception, Lighting for Tomorrow has encouraged manufacturers to develop well designed, energy efficient lighting products with a specific goal of increasing the availability and market adoption of ENERGY STAR® certified residential lighting products.


Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow competition kicked off on February 3. Competition deadlines have been modified due to impacts of COVID-19. Key competition deadlines are:

  • June 5: Final submission forms due
  • June-July: Entry screening by LHFT Steering Committee
  • July: Finalists notified
  • TBD: Product shipment deadline
  • TBD: Judging Event
  • TBD: Winners Notified
  • TBD: Awards Ceremonies

If you do not feel like you can meet the June 5 deadline for final submission forms due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, please reach out to to discuss how we can include your product in this year’s competition.

Please download the Competition Timeline and relevant Entrant Guide from the Enter Now page for more detailed information.


The diverse judging panel will include experts from fields such as the integrated home, specific product areas, home builders, sales experts, and more. The judges will score each entry according to the following criteria:

Energy & Carbon Savings



Data Sharing



Value to Cost

Simplicity: Value Proposition

Simplicity: Installation, Set Up, and Use

Future Proofing

Innovation in Design / Form Factor

Innovation in Engineering

Quality (including appearance and style, as applicable)

In addition to the above criteria, the judging panel may award bonus points for entries exhibiting other desirable characteristics such as resiliency, accessible design, and field serviceability. All entrants will receive feedback from the Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow Steering Committee after the screening process, or from the expert judging panel after the in-person evaluation.

Download the Entrant Guides from the Enter Now page to learn more about the specific judging criteria and desired capabilities.


Winners will be awarded at relevant industry events. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will make updates to the promotion of winning products as applicable.

2020 ALA Conference, September 13-15, 2020 – Lighting, Lighting Controls, and Plug Load Controls Awards

AERC Fall Meeting, Fall 2020 – Windows and Window Attachment Awards

HARDI Annual Conference, December 5-8, 2020 – HVAC and Connected Thermostat Awards

Winners will also be promoted through press releases to both consumer and trade publications and among CEE members, the Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow website, CEE Industry Partners Meeting, and materials at key industry events. In addition, CEE member efficiency program administrators may choose to recommend winning entries to their customers.



  • Connected Lighting and Lighting Controls
  • Connected Windows and Window Attachments
  • Connected HVAC and Thermostats
  • Connected Plug Load Controls
  • Open Category

Frequently Asked



Are chips and other product components eligible?

It is strongly encouraged that any unique or innovative components be integrated into a product and submitted in partnership with a manufacturer. LHFT is happy to recognize both parties if the product is selected to receive an award. If this cannot be arranged, please contact the LHFT organizers to discuss.

Are battery powered or dual-powered products eligible?

Entries should be wired products. Wired products with a battery backup are allowed and encouraged.

Are commercial lighting products eligible?

No. Product entries must be intended for primarily residential applications, which could include multi-family and hospitality.

Does my product already have to be ENERGY STAR® certified to enter?

No. Products are expected to demonstrate energy and carbon savings consummate with the functionality provided. Those that meet CEE or ENERGY STAR® efficiency criteria are preferred.

Does my product have to be manufactured in the U.S.?

No, but LHFT products must be sold directly into the U.S. and Canadian markets.

My connected submission has multiple components (i.e. product, hub, app, interface). Do I need a separate entry number for each component?

No, any components that are necessary to access the connected functionality of the product should be submitted together under a single entry number.

For example, if you have an HVAC system that requires a connected thermostat to access the product remotely, or a window attachment that requires a hub to access key functionality, then you should submit the product (in this case, the HVAC equipment or window attachment) and the additional component (in this case, the thermostat or hub) as the same entry.

I have a different connected product – is it eligible for the open category?

Innovative connected products are encouraged to enter the open category. Please contact the LHFT organizers at to discuss the possibility of judging your product.

Submission Process

Is there a fee to enter?

No, Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow does not charge for product entry. The only cost associated with entering the competition is shipping products to and from the judging location.

How many products can be submitted per company?

There is no limit on the number of entries per company, but please note that the intent to submit process only allows ten submissions per account. If you would like to submit more than ten products, an additional submission form is required. Please contact us at with any questions.

What should I do if I have a product family or system that I am interested in submitting?

LHFT recommends that a manufacturer select one or two products as a representative for a product family and submit them individually along with a mention that the product is part of a larger family within the product description in the submission form. Manufacturers are also invited to submit images of other products within the family as well as marketing materials.

If you are submitting multiple products packaged and intended to be used together, please contact us at

What type of information is required to submit?

Guidance for the competition is posted on the Enter Now page.

What is the difference between the intent to submit and the final submission forms?

The Intent to Submit Form assigns entrants with individual entry numbers, as well as provides the LHFT organizers an overview of the number of expected entries; it is intended to be easy to complete and includes details such as entry category, manufacturer name, and product name.

After completing the Intent to Submit Form, entrants will receive an individualized link to the Final Submission Form for each entry, which includes more detailed product performance information and product descriptions for the judges to review.

How do I classify my product?

Please see the information above for more information about submission category details.

What qualifies as ‘senior friendly’?

See the guidance on senior friendly qualities in the Bonus Point Guidance.

What is meant by ‘field serviceable’?

Field serviceable means that if a component of the product fails it could be easily replaced by the consumer or technician. For example, fixtures using light engines that are easily accessible and could be swapped out would be considered “field serviceable.” An alternative would be inseparable luminaires that would require the entire product to be replaced if a component should fail or luminaires that would need to be shipped back to the manufacturers for replacement parts. See the Bonus Point Guidance.

What are the supporting documents? Are they required?

LHFT requires the submission of installation instructions, marketing materials (product package, POP signage, and advertisements – videos encouraged but not required), and one product photo to support product identification during the installation and judging process. Additional supporting documents can include optional items such as additional product photos and test reports. Please see the Shipping and Supporting Documents sections for more information.

What test reports are required?

Laboratory reports for energy performance and DR functionality (if available and applicable) are only required for products selected as winners by the judging panel. However, if these reports are available, it is strongly recommended that they be submitted as part of the final submission process. At the very least, we ask all entrants to indicate whether or not products have already completed this testing via an EPA recognized laboratory for energy consumption, NFRC recognized facility for windows, or AERC certification report in the Final Submission Form.

How does the screening process work?

The LHFT Steering Committee will review submissions to identify the most promising candidates for further assessment based on the evaluation criteria. All entrants will be notified of their results. Finalists will move on to in-person evaluation by a panel of experts.


How is the LHFT competition impacted by COVID-19?

The LHFT sponsors have decided to extend the timeline of the competition in response to COVID-19. You will have more time to prepare your entries, and we are exploring possibilities for in-person or remote product judging later in the year. We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.

I have/my company has been impacted by COVID-19 and I’m not sure if I can complete my entry or ship the product. What do I do?

Please email to share the details of your situation. We want to support you during this challenging time, and understanding your needs will help us better support you and all entrants.

Shipping Entries

When do I need to ship my entry?

Shipping is not required for all entries or product categories. All entrants will be notified in July if their entry was selected as a Finalist by the LHFT Steering Committee. Finalists the Connected HVAC will not be expected to ship their entry. See the Competition Timeline and Entrant Guides for more information.

What do I need to include with my shipment?

Please see the checklist here for a full list of what to include with your shipment. Read this list carefully to ensure you have everything you need prior to shipping.

Are prototypes okay?

Yes, prototypes or production-quality products are acceptable. Paper designs, computer renderings, or product photographs may be submitted as supplementary material, but at least one working sample must be submitted in fully operable condition (for all product categories).

Number of samples to include?

Products will be evaluated for ease of installation and there are certain product categories that benefit from having multiple samples. For example, product categories of lighting retrofit kits and thermostats, will likely require two samples. Please note that both samples must be marked with the entry number. Other product categories need only provide one sample. Entrants will be instructed on the number of samples to provide when asked to ship products.

What qualifies as ‘plug-and-play’?

Plug-and-play products do not require any type of installation. Examples include desk lamps or other portable products, as well as replacement lamps and plug load management devices that simply require power. Plug-and-play products typically have a later shipping deadline than products requiring installation.

What UL is able to provide to install and what will need to be provided by the manufacturer for installation?

The manufacturer should provide all necessary components for installation along with the complete installation instructions. Products should arrive as they are intended to be received by the consumer. In addition, adapters should be sent for uncommon base types or configurations. Please note there is an exception for lighting control systems. Please see the HVAC Entrant Guide for other notable exceptions.

How should I submit my control system (lighting, thermostat, windows, or other)?

All control system products submitted to LHFT for consideration must provide a plug-and-play working sample of the system which includes the various components, similar to a portable demonstration that might be used for customer demonstrations or at a trade show. If you don’t have a portable demonstration unit, as a minimum, wire the control sample with a cord and plug on the input and a cord and convenience outlet on the output.

Can I ship multiple products in one box?

Yes. However, each individual product must be clearly marked with the entry number. The outside of the box should also include ALL the entry numbers of the products within.

How does return shipping work?

On your competition agreement form, please indicate how you would like your shipment returned, whether by including a return shipping label, providing an account number for billing to recipient, or by indicating that you do not need the product sample returned. The agreement form should be shipped along with your product(s).


Do finalists have to meet ENERGY STAR® to receive an award?

No. Products are expected to demonstrate energy and carbon savings consummate with the functionality provided. Winners are expected to submit laboratory energy reports if selected. See the individual product criteria for more information or contact

What will winners need to provide?

Winners must provide high resolution photos (standalone and application shots), laboratory energy reports, completed LHFT cybersecurity questionnaire, cybersecurity certification if applicable, ENERGY STAR® certification status if applicable, product description, and product availability information.

When can awards be announced publicly?

Awards can be announced publicly following the formal awards ceremony for each product category. Date and location of these conferences vary by year, but will be communicated to winners. Winners are invited to attend the ceremony portion of the conference to receive their award.

What do the winners get?

Winners receive a year of free promotion by LHFT. Winners are featured on the LHFT website, an LHFT press release, and other promotional materials. Winners are recognized at an award ceremony at a relevant industry event, receive an award, along with files of promotional materials that display their winning products, as well as access to the LHFT logo to develop additional promotional materials. Winning products are featured in several relevant industry publications. Products are promoted at relevant tradeshows, such as Lightovation, the AHR Expo, and AERC Fall Meeting through product displays.


Are holiday lights, lighted signs, or night lights eligible?

No, entries must be intended for general illumination.

Are colored LED products eligible?

No, entries must be white light products intended for general illumination. This includes color tuning in white light ranges as well as warm to dim products, but excludes colored or mood lighting.

After winners are notified, when are the photometric reports due?

If photometric reports weren’t provided as part of the final submission process, they should be completed and submitted to LHFT as soon as possible in order to determine whether award eligibility. If a manufacturer is unable to furnish a report in three weeks, it may jeopardize receipt of their award.

HVAC and Thermostats

Do I need to submit a thermostat/controller if I am submitting an HVAC product?

If a connected thermostat or other controller is necessary to access the connected functionality of the HVAC product, then you should plan to submit a thermostat as part of your HVAC entry (without a separate entry number).



Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)
UL logo
American Lighting Association (ALA) logo

Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) logo

Air Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Logo

BC Hydro logo

Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) logo
Commonwealth Edison

Consolidated Edison (ConEd) logo

Consumers Energy logo

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Logo

DTE Energy

Duke Energy Logo

Efficiency Vermont

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) logo

Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) logo

Natural Resources Canada / Ressources Naturelles Canada (NRCan) logo

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) logo 


Parks Associates

Seattle City Light logo

Silicon Valley Power logo
Southern California Edison logo

United Illuminating (UI) logo