California Title 24

Title 24 is an energy law that was first established on June 1, 2001.  This energy law was created to conserve the high consumption and demand of energy in California.  The new compliance standards are applicable to both commercial and residential lighting.  Lighting for commercial buildings and residential homes require high efficacy luminaires or dimming controls in each room.  Here are the 2005 CA Residential Lighting Requirements*:

Changes in Brief:

Title 24 will require high efficacy luminaires, occupancy sensors, and/or dimmers in most spaces:

  • Kitchens: At least 50% of the total wattage of kitchen lighting must be from high efficacy luminaires. Non-high efficacy luminaires must be switched separately from high efficacy            luminaires.
  • Bathrooms, utility rooms, garages and laundry rooms: High efficacy lighting or manual-on occupancy sensors required.
  • Exterior, attached to building: High efficacy luminaires or combined photo sensors/occupancy sensors required.
  • All other interior spaces: High efficacy luminaires, occupancy sensors, OR dimmers required.
  • Recessed lighting: When installed in insulated ceilings, must be both Type IC (insulated covered) and airtight (AT) rated.
  • Electronic ballasts: Electronic ballasts are required for all fluorescent luminaires 13 watts or greater.

               (1) High Efficacy Luminaires:

It is necessary to differentiate between low efficacy and high efficacy lighting systems. 2001 Standards required high efficacy lighting to be not less than 40 lumens/watt. The 2005 Standards require a minimum of 40 lumens per watt 15 watts or less; minimum of 50 lumens per watt for 15 to 40 watts; and minimum of 60 lumens per watt over 40 watts.

Many Energy Star fixtures will qualify as high efficacy luminaires, although some lower efficacy Energy Star products may not be compliant.

In general, the following are high efficacy luminaires:

  • Fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) fixtures with electronic ballasts.
  • High intensity discharge lamps.

              In general, the following are NOT high efficacy luminaires:

  • Any fixtures with incandescent sockets (regardless of the lamp type installed in it)
  • Most fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) fixtures with magnetic ballast

            Specify the appropriate light output (lumens): When specifying high efficacy luminaries, install the right amount of light in each room. Often this will not be a “one-for-one” replacement: In some cases you may install fewer luminaires, while other installations may require more.         Rule of thumb: You should be able to “lumen match” the incandescent luminaires by specifying fluorescent systems that use one-third or one-fourth as much power.        

Specify the appropriate color: Unlike incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lamps come in a wide variety of colors, from “cool-white” to “warm-white.” For most residential application it is most appropriate to specify warmer lamp colors (CCT = 2700-3000K) as it gives a warmer feel.

Specify electronic ballasts: Electronic ballasts, which are mandated in all high efficacy luminaires of 13 W or higher, should improve lighting quality by eliminating the flicker and hum associated with some magnetically ballasted systems.

(2) Dimmers:

Dimmers can be used instead of high efficacy luminaires or sensors in many applications throughout the house. This often may be the least costly code compliant measure and will increase the lighting quality in the space by allowing much greater control over lit environments. Some considerations when using dimmers:

  • Standard incandescent dimmers will not work with most high efficacy luminaires or fluorescent luminaires. Dimming is possible with fluorescent luminaires, but they need to have special dimming ballasts and compatible dimmers rated for such use.
  • Appropriate applications for dimmers include dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms.

        (3) Occupancy Sensors:

With the exception of kitchens, occupancy sensors can be used instead of high efficacy luminaires in most applications throughout the house to satisfy Title 24.         Quality occupancy sensors must have the following characteristics:

  • Must be manual-on/automatic off only.
  • Time delay cannot be greater than 30 minutes.
  • Time device cannot be locked in a permanent “on” state.
  • Outdoor sensors can have automatic-on/off operation and must also include a photocell that does not turn lights on during daylight hours.

         To help assure the installed occupancy sensors will function properly:

  • Sensors need to be installed so that they can “view” the space or area that is to be occupied.
  • Many wall box occupancy sensors do not work well in 3-way applications and are not recommended.
  • Recommended residential applications: bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, laundry rooms, hallways (non-3-way).
  • Pay attention to the electrical load requirements of the sensor selected. For example, if the occupancy sensor has a minimum load rating of 25 watts and then the lamp is changed to a 13 watt compact fluorescent, the switch will no longer operate the load.

        (4) Special Notes on Kitchens:

Kitchens are treated very differently than other application in the new code because of their high potential for energy savings. Kitchens are the only application that specifically requires the usage of high efficacy luminaires. Specifically, the code requires at least 50% of the installed wattage in the kitchen be from high efficacy        luminaires.

Kitchen applications:

  • Incandescent and magnetically ballasted 13 watt CFL recessed cans (downlights) are some of the most popular luminaires types in kitchens today, and builders will need to find alternatives in 2005.
  • Using a 26 watt CFL high efficacy luminaire downlight approach may actually allow you to reduce the total number of downlights typically used to achieve a specific light level in a kitchen.             Rule of thumb: If you used eight 65W incandescent downlights in a kitchen, you may be able to use six 26W CFL            downlights.
  • Note that downlights in kitchens with insulated ceilings (1-story applications) will be required to be insulated covered (IC) and airtight (AT) rated. Because electronic ballasts can be sensitive to heat, be sure that the manufacturer warrantees the downlight for these conditions.
  • Under cabinet lighting, and ceiling mount linear fluorescent lighting (2×4 box, clouds, etc.) remain viable approaches for satisfying the 50%            requirement.
  • For every 1 watt of fluorescent lighting installed in the kitchen, you can install up to 1 watt of incandescent lighting.