Title 24 (California Energy Code) outlines broad requirements for “energy conservation, green design, construction and maintenance, fire and life safety, and accessibility” that apply to the “structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems” in a building. The requirements apply to both new and existing buildings privately and state owned.

The energy code is updated every three years, and construction project applications must follow the current Title 24 standards. For example, building permits submitted on or after January 1st, 2023, must follow 2022 requirements.

Even though Title 24 encompasses multiple aspects of a construction project, we are going to take a look at what this means for lighting compliance.

Lighting Compliance and Title 24

Anytime a building permit is pulled in California, Title 24 goes into effect. This means that your plans are reviewed or the building is inspected to ensure compliance standards are being met. All new additions and construction projects must adhere to Title 24 requirements.

Lighting retrofits can also fall under Title 24 code standards but general lighting repairs are often exempt. For example, if you are converting 10% or more of your light fixtures, you need to ensure the wattage per square and lighting controls meet Title 24 requirements.

As you are working to meet the current energy code requirements, these are the main areas you should focus on.

We are currently running on the 2022 updates to Title 24. For additional information on Title 24 lighting compliance, we suggest reading, 2022 Title 24 – What You Need to Know for Lighting Compliance.

Wattage and Lighting Control Compliance


Title 24 is focused on reducing energy usage across the state. To meet the state’s goals, a large part of Title 24 deals with lighting. There are two ways commercial facilities can lower energy usage rates. These are installing lower-wattage bulbs and using lighting controls.

In some commercial buildings, lighting controls are a state requirement.

Daylighting Standards


Buildings with side-lit zones and skylights must install daylighting controls to meet Title 24 standards. The controls must be approved by a technician. The controls must automatically adjust and stabilize light levels to meet compliance requirements.

For more information, see Sections 110.9(a), 110.9(b), 130.1(c), 130.2(c), 130.5(d), 140.6(a), 141.0(b), and 150.0(k) or Tables 140.6-A, 141.0-E, and 141.0-F of the state’s energy code.

Demand Response Compliance


Buildings larger than 10,000 square feet will need demand lighting controls that reduce the lighting load by 15 percent or more, after receiving a signal from the energy provider.

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Requirements for Lighting Power Density (LPD)

A large part of Title 24 covers lighting power density. The code defines LPD as “the total rated wattage of lighting fixtures used in a building or space per square foot.” In other words, a specific wattage is required in certain spaces in a facility.

You can meet these requirements by designing and installing a prescriptive, performance-based, or tailored lighting system.

Most building owners and managers choose to meet the requirements using a prescriptive method. The requirement gives a baseline wattage standard per space. The easiest way of meeting the requirement is to use the maximum rated wattage of the luminaire or fixture instead of the bulb or lamp.

For more information on this standard, see Sections 130.1(d-e), 140.3(c), and 140.6(a-c) or Tables 140.6-A, 140.6-B, 140.6-C, and 140.6-G of the California Energy Code (Title 24).

Vacancy and Occupancy Sensors

Rooms in nonresidential buildings must have either occupancy or vacancy controls. The controls must be automatic and programmed to turn the lights on and off depending on the activity in the space.

You can find more information in Sections 110.9(a), 110.9(b), 110.10(b), 130.1(b), 130.1(d), 140.3(c), 140.6(d), 141.0(b), and 150.0(k) or Tables 141.0-E and 141.0-F of Title 24.

Outdoor Lighting Requirements

Outdoor lighting requirements vary according to the type of business. For example, car lots may be required to install controls that reduce lighting by 50% during the night.

When daylight is adequate, the controls should also include automatic shutoff capabilities.

To learn more about outdoor lighting requirements see Sections 110.9(a), 110.9(b), and 130.2(c) of the California Energy Code.

Let Us Help You Meet Title 24 Requirements

California’s changing energy codes can be confusing, so let us help you plan your lighting project. Contact Action Services Group today to find out how we can help you meet energy compliance standards. Contact us by calling 610-558-9773, emailing [email protected], or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.

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