About every three years, California’s Building Energy Code is updated with the aim of improving the efficiency of energy consumption, for both residential and nonresidential buildings. In 2016, changes were introduced which built upon and improved the existing code from 2013. These changes specifically target buildings which will be freshly constructed, or which will have new additions built on to them. In particular, title 24 lighting of the 2016 changes focuses on the codes of both residential and nonresidential buildings. In title 24, new lighting standards were introduced which will ultimately improve energy consumption efficiency. All of these changes from title 24 officially went into effect on January 1, 2017. Let’s take a closer look at these energy code changes, first in regards to nonresidential lighting, and then in regards to residential lighting.

Regarding nonresidential title 24 lighting, there are four significant changes to the energy code that were introduced. Firstly, the amount of power one may use for lighting has been reduced in many key spaces, including both indoor and outdoor areas. Large indoor buildings such as auditoriums, schools, and restaurants which generally use much lighting power will be the most affected. Secondly, so-called power adjustment factors have been tweaked such that it is now more encouraged to harvest natural daylight. The aim of this change is to encourage buildings to completely extinguish all lighting during peak daylight times, and to use side windows or skylights instead. Thirdly, certain title 24 lighting control codes have been simplified concerning multilevel and occupancy lighting. That is, those codes relating to lighting throughout the various levels of a room, as well as automatic on and off lighting controls in rooms such as bathrooms, have been simplified and made more consistent. Finally, the fourth change that title 24 brings concerns lighting alterations. The requirements included in altering your lighting – whether that be replacing an entire lighting system, replacing components within a lighting system, or replacing wiring – have been simplified.

In regards to title 24 lighting the residential building energy code has introduced three significant changes. Firstly, all lighting on new homes, whether it is indoor or outdoor, is required to be high efficacy. This lighting is, by definition, energy efficient. Secondly, title 24 has clarified what is considered to be high efficacy lighting. In particular, all lighting in accordance with the requirements of the so-called Joint Appendix JA8 code now passes as being high efficacy. This is intended to remove the complicated old model of having to calculate various wattages in order to check whether your lighting is high efficacy or not. And thirdly, the final major change introduced for residential lighting aims to simplify lighting control requirements. A new set of requirements have been introduced, explaining in detail what type of lighting is required in what area of the residence. This makes it much easier to pinpoint what type of lighting will be required in your bathroom, garage, kitchen, and so on.