New changes to California's Title 24 standards

By Kim Banks on September 18, 2013

Our friends at the American Lighting Association recently shared an important update to California's Title 24 standards. In short, on January 1, 2014 the new code will require all permanently-wired LED lighting fixtures installed in California residences during new construction or major remodeling must have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 90 or more to be classified as High Efficacy. However, not all installed fixtures must be high efficacy as the new standards do allow for a percentage (by wattage) of Low Efficacy fixtures to be installed, as well. Ceiling fan light kits with permanently installed LEDs must also meet the new 90 CRI requirement to be classified as high efficacy; otherwise, they are classified as low efficacy.  Light kits with screw-based bulbs, no matter what type of bulb is used, can only be classified as low efficacy. While low efficacy LED residential fixtures can be sold in California without limit, the new edition of Title 24, has increased the percentage of high efficiency fixtures required in some rooms. On January 1, 2014, the new requirements are as follows: Bathrooms
  • These rooms are required to have one high efficacy fixture with any other lighting controlled by vacancy sensors. (The requirement to have one high efficacy fixture is new.)
Garages, Laundry Rooms and Utility Rooms
  • All lighting must be high efficacy and controlled by vacancy sensors. (Previously, the luminaires could be high efficacy or low efficacy as long as they were controlled by vacancy sensors)
Lighting in other rooms-bedrooms, hallways, etc. (No change.)
  • Must be high efficacy or controlled by vacancy sensors or dimmers.
Outdoor Lighting-all lighting mounted on buildings (No change.)
  • All luminaires must be high efficacy or controlled by a motion sensor plus a photocontrol or time clock.
Kitchens (No change.)
  • Fifty percent of the lighting watts installed must be high efficacy with some tradeoffs if occupancy controls are used.
For our California readers, how is this change affecting the lighting plans for your home? Do you welcome the improved CRI requirement, or does it restrict your options when choosing LED fixtures?