An IC Rated downlight

Not all downlights are created equal. Energy Makeovers, for example, can install a premium, or IC rated (or modular) downlight in your home or business.

Please note: As of 1st February 2023, FREE Lighting upgrades are no longer available for Victorian homes. This is in accordance with the Victorian Energy Upgrades program (VEU).

The lure of the 100% free LED upgrades available through the VEU program can sometimes leave this unsung hero of a light overlooked, but here’s why an IC Rated downlight deserves your attention:

What are IC Rated downlights?

IC Rated stands for an insulation contact rated downlight. If a downlight has been rated as ‘IC’ it means it has met the requirements set out by the New Australian Standard on Recessed Luminaires standard (AS/NZS standard 60598.2.2:2001). And, it means these products are deemed suitable for use when covered in building insulation. This means the light fitting can come into close contact with insulation, which is not the case with most downlights.

Your home or business (hopefully!) has insulation in the roof. It’s an excellent way to keep your property at a comfortable temperature, improve your energy efficiency and decrease your heating/cooling costs. However, insulation can be flammable and installation of any lighting or electrical appliances near insulation can be a fire hazard. Ceiling downlights, especially halogen downlights can reach incredibly hot temperatures in order to generate light. Halogens reach temperatures of 300°c and this is obviously dangerous to keep near flammable materials. LEDs can be installed closer to ceiling insulation because they’re much cooler and can’t, therefore, combust and generate fire.

Lights that are not IC Rated cannot come into contact with insulation. IC Rated downlights CAN come into contact with insulation.

The aesthetic benefit of an IC Rated downlight is that it can sit flush in the ceiling with no gap around its edge, unlike other downlights. This provides a premium look in your ceiling. IC Rated light fixtures also reduce moisture from condensation and, because the fixtures are fitted with insulation there is no lost heat in your property through fixtures.


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This is no longer a factor with IC Rated downlights.

IC Rated lights can be abutted or covered with insulation making the process of downlight installation or upgrade faster and easier.

What’s the difference with an IC Rated downlight?

So you now know that an IC rated downlight can be used in close proximity to insulation, but what about the technical differences? Are those the same?

Below we have compared the most popular downlight we see; the MR16 LED to an IC Rated LED downlight.

MR16 vs IC Rated

As you can see the IC Rated downlight provides a longer lifespan, warranty, beam angle and lumen output, for 3 watts more input power.

Here is the spec for our IC Rated (modular) downlight

When you upgrade from standard downlights to IC Rated downlights your aesthetic is not only improved but your lighting system becomes more efficient as we remove any transformers your system previously needed. IC Rated downlights do not need a transformer. This creates a more reliable system and prevents any transformer failures.

Why upgrade to IC Rated?

In some circumstances, upgrading to IC Rated LED downlights might be your only option if you have halogen downlights. For example, if you have a dimmer with MR16 halogen downlights we do not recommend, nor will we undertake, an upgrade to dimmable MR16 LEDs. They are notoriously unreliable and we recommend upgrading your fittings to IC Rated downlights instead. IC Rated downlights provide the benefit of adjustable lighting and lighting systems that basic MR16 halogens just can’t match.

Upgrading from MR16 to IC Rated means we can remove your transformers and you have a more efficient lighting system in your property.

What is the cost?

Unfortunately, under the current regulations of the Victorian Energy Upgrade program (Previously VEET), an upgrade to IC Rated downlights from inefficient halogen downlights is not completely free of charge. It is subsidised because it is an energy-efficient upgrade but there is more work involved as the fittings need upgrading, not just the globes. Fitting IC Rated downlights requires an A-grade electrician that can take some time. This means there is an additional charge (per fitting) for an IC Rated LED upgrade. Talk to us directly about the cost of an upgrade as the price is subject to change.

Please note: As of 1st February 2023, FREE Lighting upgrades are no longer available for Victorian homes. This is in accordance with the Victorian Energy Upgrades program (VEU).

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Our premium range is available for Victorian and NSW properties. We have more information about our products here, including warranties and specs.


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