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New lighting standards for saving energy

Sep 01, 2005 by to Lighting News

California uses a huge amount of energy, with peak demand growing every year. It's no surprise that they have what many consider the strictest energy code in the country - Title 24, Part 6, of the California Code of Regulations - which was updated for 2005 with even tighter mandatory requirements.

However, California estimates its efficiency standards have saved more than $36 billion in energy costs since 1978, and will save another $43 billion by 2013. Stricter efficiency standards also help avoid rolling blackouts, reduce peak demand, and avoid the need to build new generating capacity.

What does this have to do with the rest of us? Environmental concerns don't stop at the state border. With global fuel and energy costs continually rising, it is worthwhile to take a look at the Title 24 regulations for ways to increase efficiency and energy savings for projects all across the nation.

Title 24 Requirements
Title 24 requires high efficacy lighting, occupancy sensors or dimmers in almost all spaces. In general, "high-efficacy" lighting is what we usually think of as energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) fixtures with electronic ballasts, as well as certain high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps fall into this category. Fluorescent and CFL fixtures with magnetic ballasts, incandescent lights and fixtures with incandescent sockets (regardless of the bulb type installed) are not considered high efficacy.

Title 24 guidelines and requirements specify the fixtures that should be used in almost all spaces for homes and buildings. Here are some of the room-by-room details:

Kitchens:
At least 50% of the total wattage of the kitchen lighting must be from high efficacy lighting. Low-efficacy lighting must be controlled separately.

Bathrooms, Garages, Laundry and Utility Rooms: High-efficacy lighting or manual-on occupancy sensors are required.

Exterior Fixtures: Lighting that is attached to the home or building must be high efficacy, or a combination photo/motion sensor is required.

All Other Interior Spaces:
High-efficacy lighting, occupancy sensors or dimmers are required.

Recessed Lighting:
Housings must be both Type IC (insulated covered) and Type Airtight when installed in insulated ceilings.

Electronic Ballasts:
Electronic ballasts (instead of magnetic ballasts) are required for all fluorescent lighting rated 13 watts or greater.

Often, when installing high-efficacy lighting in a room, it is not a simple "one for one" change. In some cases, the high efficacy lighting will have a greater light output while using less power. Other times, you'll find you have to specify the color of light you want in a room. Keep these guidelines in mind while working on a project:

Specify the light output (lumens): While some high-efficacy fixtures have greater light output than incandescent lights, others will have lower output. For a rule of thumb, you should be able to "lumen match" the incandescent lighting by specifying fluorescent systems that emit the same amount of lumens, while using as little as one-fourth as much power.

Specify the appropriate color: Unlike incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lamps come in a variety of colors, from cool white to warm white. For most residential applications, it is better to specify warmer lamp colors (CCT equal to 2,700 to 3,000K), as these will give a softer, more comfortable feel.

Magnetic versus electronic ballasts: All ballasts are magnetic or electronic, but the electronic ballasts are more efficient. Magnetic ballasts can flicker, hum and have slow start-ups, all of which waste energy.

Specify the light output (lumens): While some high-efficacy fixtures have greater light output than incandescent lights, others will have lower output. For a rule of thumb, you should be able to "lumen match" the incandescent lighting by specifying fluorescent systems that emit the same amount of lumens, despite using up to one-fourth as much power.

Kitchen installations: Currently, incandescent and magnetic-ballast 13 watt CFL recessed housings/downlights are some of the most popular lighting types for today's kitchens. For an alternative, using a high-efficacy 26 watt downlight may actually allow you to reduce the total number of fixtures, while maintaining the same light level. This not only saves energy, but also saves time and labor.