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What’s New for Lighting Control in the New California Title 24

Guest post by Charles Knuffke, WattStopper

Lighting professionals in California are watching the approaching New Year with some apprehension, for 2014 brings with it a completely revamped and far more aggressive energy code. While California’s Title 24 Energy Code has had a reputation for being a leadership code in the past, the 2013 revision more than proves the point by adding several potent new lighting code requirements. Once again, California offers itself as a testing ground for hard-hitting new energy efficiency standards.

Front and center is the new multi-level general lighting requirement. The new requirement for spaces over 100 sqft and .5W/sqft is so sweeping—and dependent on specific lamp types—designers may well default to continuous dimming as a compliance strategy. Indeed, the code explicitly states that when LED fixtures are used for general lighting in these spaces, these luminaires must be dimmable from 10-100%.

Lots of changes in the area of daylighting and demand response also. The new code mandates automatic daylighting controls whenever there is more than 120W of general lighting in primary, sidelit, or skylit daylight zones. The new code also extends the demand response requirement to any building greater than 10,000 square feet, and now requires the ability to shed 15% of the total load.

Click to see the full educational infographic at the WattStopper website.

California policy makers are also willing to borrow good ideas from other codes. In the 2013 revision, for instance, provisions require automatic control of plug loads in private offices, open offices, reception lobbies, conference rooms, kitchens, and copy rooms. Likewise, Title 24 is now matching ASHRAE 90.1-2010 in the area of compliance thresholds, with a mandatory controls trigger at just 10% of the fixtures in the space. The new code now also includes metering requirements based on the size of the project’s electrical service, at the largest sizes requiring disaggregation of multiple types of electrical loads – including plug load, lighting, HVAC, water pumps, theatrical, commercial kitchens, elevators, and even charging stations for electric vehicles.

In addition to all the control requirements, California has created a new functional role for the construction process, in the form of a “Certified Lighting Controls Acceptance Test Technician (CLCATT). This individual is tasked with performing all the onsite acceptance testing and filling out all the forms required.

Editor’s Note: WattStopper has developed an extensive Title 24 infographic to provide a general overview and orientation for the 2013 code. Download it here.

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