Let There Be Light (Efficiently): Navigating Title 24’s Lighting Regulations
Title 24 covers all aspects of energy usage that apply to the design, construction, and renovation of a facility, building or site. Though Title 24 has more to it than just lighting, we’re here to help you navigate the full code of lighting and controls requirements. Understanding what Title 24 is, why it was created, and the code’s lighting system requirements will help you begin your project in California on the proper path.
What is Title 24 in the California Code of Regulations?
Title 24 is the Building Energy Efficiency Standards portion of the California Code. This set of energy standards applies to both new construction and building renovations within the residential and commercial sectors. It is unique to the State of California and managed by the California Energy Commission. The Commission updates these standards every 3 years, the latest one being the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (effective January 2023).
What is the purpose of Title 24?
The ever-evolving Title 24 Energy Code encourages decarbonization of buildings and promotes sustainable and efficient energy solutions. The goal is to reduce avoidable energy consumption. Title 24 covers a wide range of building components and systems, including lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and insulation.
By setting minimum energy efficiency standards for building components and systems, Title 24 aims to ensure that new and renovated buildings in California are designed to use energy more efficiently. Compliance with Title 24 is mandatory, and failure to learn and implement the requirements can result in fines and other penalties.
Lighting Systems Requirements of Title 24
Because lighting accounts for a notable portion of a building’s energy consumption, energy-efficient lighting paired with controls can assist in reducing energy consumption. Title 24 specifies the maximum power density for lighting in different types of spaces, based on the size of the space and the type of activity that takes place in it. Additionally, Title 24 requires the use of energy-efficient lighting technologies, such as LED lighting and controls.
An underlying goal of Title 24 is to improve the quality of life for building occupants. The standards require adequate natural lighting and ventilation in living spaces, as well as the use of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.
Where can I find the lighting systems requirement in the building code?
The section of the Building Energy Efficiency Standards that details requirements of lighting systems for Title 24 is Subchapter 4: Mandatory Requirements for Lighting Systems and Equipment, and Electrical Power Distribution Systems in Sections 130.0 through 130.5. These sections outline lighting controls requirements for indoor, outdoor, and signage. The sections also lay out installation certification and electrical power distribution requirements. Tables within the code specify the maximum allowable lighting power density for various types of spaces, such as offices, retail spaces, and outdoor areas.
The scope of requirements laid out in Sections 130.0 – 130.5 applies to new construction. Section 141.0 goes into specifics on which of these requirements of Sections 130.0 through 130.5 applies to additions, alterations, and renovations of existing buildings.
Now we understand what Title 24 is, why it was created, and where to find the code’s lighting system requirements. Because the requirements of lighting and controls are specific to the size and location of a space or building, it’s important to work with a lighting professional with tenure in the construction industry. From power allowances, segregating circuits, simple and complex controls, a great lighting professional will help you by managing the needs of your facility as well as the exemptions to avoid installing unnecessary systems.
Access the Title 24 California Energy Code online at www.energy.ca.gov/title24/. The website provides access to both current versions of the California Energy Code, as well as previous versions. View the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards document here (energy.ca.gov)