The California Energy Commission’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 6) have continued to evolve since 1978. Statewide, over the past 40 years, Title 24 standards have not only helped save energy, but they’ve also saved Californians billions of dollars on utility costs. The 2019 standards that go into effect on January 1, 2020, bring significant changes to residential and nonresidential buildings. Nonresidential buildings will use 30 percent less energy than those built under the 2016 Standards. A significant portion of those savings are attributed to changes in the lighting requirements, which generate the single largest energy savings of all changes in the 2019 standards.

Title 24 2019: Nonresidential lighting changes

The biggest change is to the prescriptive lighting power allowances. Under the 2016 standards, high-performance T8 linear fluorescent lighting was used as the baseline for lighting power density (LPD) allowances. Under the 2019 standards, the baseline is LED lighting, which has significantly reduced LPDs. On average, LPDs have been lowered 28 percent when utilizing the area category method of compliance.

Because LED lighting is already widely used in the industry, this may not have a substantial effect on the way lighting systems are designed. It will, however, affect the overall energy consumption of these buildings, allowing fewer energy tradeoffs between lighting and other aspects of the building, like the building envelope.

Title 24 2019 standards will now regulate healthcare facilities, including hospitals. There is massive potential for energy savings in hospitals due to their continuous operation and high-energy intensity. Hospitals must meet lighting power allowance requirements and some of the mandatory lighting control requirements.

For existing buildings, prescriptive lighting compliance pathways have been simplified for lighting alterations. Retrofits are no longer separated into different categories or types. Lighting alteration requirements are now triggered when 10 percent or more of the luminaires in an enclosed space are affected. The required lighting controls will be dependent on the proposed lighting power. Additionally, reducing the existing lighting power continues to be a compliance-pathway option; but it’s now limited to alteration projects that are 5,000 square feet or less.

Other changes to the nonresidential lighting requirements include:

  • Line-voltage medium screw-base recessed luminaires can now utilize the rated wattage of the installed screw-base lamp if the lamp is certified to Reference Joint Appendix 8 (JA8).
  • Public restrooms will now require occupancy sensing controls to turn lights off when the restroom is vacant. Multilevel lighting controls are no longer required for public restrooms.
  • Exceptions to the automatic daylighting control requirements have been added. Side-lit daylight zones with overhangs and sky-lit daylight zones with external shading may be exempt from automatic daylighting controls if they meet specific criteria. Side-lit daylight zones in retail merchandise sales areas and wholesale showroom areas are now exempt from automatic daylight harvesting controls.
  • Power adjustment factors for clerestory fenestration, light shelves and horizontal slats that increase daylighting for indoor areas have been added.
  • Automatic scheduling controls are required for outdoor lighting. These must be capable of reducing outdoor lighting power by at least 50 percent to 90 percent during scheduled unoccupied periods.
Title 24 2019: Residential lighting changes

JA8 high-efficacy light source requirements remain relatively unchanged. However, products certified under the 2019 Title 24 standards must be labeled with the updated “JA8-2019” marking. Existing products certified under the 2016 Standards with the “JA8-2016” marking may be used for compliance under the 2019 standards. These products do not need to be retested or relisted in the California Energy Commission (CEC) Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System. Similarly, JA8-2019–certified products may be used for compliance under the 2016 Standards.

Other changes to the Title 24 2019 residential lighting requirements include:

  • Nightlights, step lights and path lights are not required to be high-efficacy light sources or controlled by a vacancy sensor if they are rated at 5 W or less and emit 150 lm or less.
  • Lights internal to drawers, cabinets and linen closets are not required to be high-efficacy light sources or controlled by a vacancy sensor if they are rated at 5 W or less, emit 150 lm or less, and are controlled to automatically turn off when the drawer, cabinet or linen closet is closed.

For the first time, newly constructed homes will be required to utilize a photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy. Overall, after incorporating the more rigorous efficiency measures and renewable energy generation, single-family homes will use 53 percent less energy than those built under the 2016 standards.

What’s next?

The CEC is responsible for adopting, developing, and updating the energy standards every three years. Development of the 2022 Standards is already underway, with a number of new efficiency measures under evaluation. For lighting, these measures include, but are not limited to: occupancy control in open-plan office spaces, daylight dimming-to-off control, further reduction of lighting power allowances, and networked lighting controls.

California’s energy standards provide an important contribution in helping to achieve ambitious statewide energy-efficiency, clean energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction goals. In order to meet these legislative goals, the standards will continue to evolve. The CEC will continue to work with stakeholders on minimizing the environmental impact of California’s buildings by reducing building energy use and GHG emissions through cost-effective energy standards.

Daniel Wong

About Daniel Wong

Daniel Wong, PE is a mechanical engineer in the California Energy Commission‘s Outreach and Education Unit. Specializing in the Title 24 lighting and electrical power distribution system requirements, he helps develop training, tools and resources to assist stakeholders with the code. He has been working in energy efficiency for eight years, performing research, evaluation, implementation and outreach activities.

Share This