Residential Lighting and Title 24

For residential buildings and spaces, all of the lighting requirements are mandatory measures. There are no tradeoffs between lighting and other building features and lighting is not part of any component package under the prescriptive method.  The residential lighting Energy Standards apply only to permanently installed luminaires, including luminaires with easily interchangeable lamps, but do not apply to portable luminaires such as table lamps or freestanding floor lamps.


The 2016 Energy Standards have simplified the residential lighting requirements through the following important changes:


  • All luminaires installed in residential construction must qualify as “high efficacy luminaires.” This eliminates varying requirements by room and type of controls. This also eliminates the need to calculate the wattage of low versus high efficacy luminaires in the kitchen.
  • The definition of “high efficacy luminaires” has been expanded. It includes the light sources identified as efficient in 2013 (linear fluorescent, pin based compact fluorescent, GU-24 base CFL, HID, and induction lighting), and now also includes any luminaire that contains a JA8 compliant lamp or other light source that is appropriately marked. JA8 contains requirements that ensure that light sources, including lamps and luminaires, provide sufficient color quality, life, and energy efficiency. Table 150.0-A of §150.0 contains the definition.
  • Recessed downlight luminaires and enclosed luminaires are required to contain a JA8 compliant lamp that meets the elevated temperature requirement. Recessed downlight luminaires with screw based sockets are no longer permitted to be installed.


Single-Family Outdoor Lighting


All lighting attached to the residence or to other buildings on the same lot must be high efficacy, and must be controlled by a manual ON and OFF switch and one of the following automatic control types:

  • Photocontrol and motion sensor.
  • Photocontrol and automatic time switch control.
  • Astronomical time clock control that automatically turns the outdoor lighting off during daylight hours.
  • EMCS that provides the functionality of an astronomical time clock, does not have an override or bypass switch that allows the luminaire to be always ON, and is programmed to automatically turn the outdoor lighting off during daylight hours.

Manual ON and OFF switches must not override the automatic control functions listed above, and any control that overrides the automatic controls to ON must automatically reactivate those controls within six hours.  Lighting that is not permanently attached to a building on a single-family site, such as decorative landscape lighting, is not regulated by the residential lighting requirements. However, providing high efficacy lighting and controls such as a time clock or photocontrol will help save energy and ensure that the lighting is not accidentally left on during daylight hours.


(Excerpted from the CEC Title 24 Residential Compliance Manual)