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Outdoor Lighting Controls

2016 Title 24 CASE Topics

Measure Overview

This measure would broaden the existing mandatory controls requirements by removing the exceptions from the occupancy-based bi-level/dimming controls requirements for Outdoor Sales Lots and Sales Canopies. These requirements, which are in Section 130.2(c), require control capability to dim the system to between 40% and 80% of full output wattage in response to vacancy, and to provide auto-on functionality in response to occupancy. The measure also proposes increasing the maximum allowable dimmed range to 90%. Other existing exemptions would remain unchanged, including those based on luminaire height and luminaire wattage.

Luminaires in Outdoor Sales Lots and Outdoor Sales Canopies are allowed to utilize a “Part-Night Outdoor Lighting Control,” which, as defined in Section 100.1 is a “time or occupancy-based lighting control device or system that is programmed to reduce or turn off the lighting power to an outdoor luminaire for a portion of the night.” By not requiring the installation of occupancy-based multi-level control systems a significant savings opportunity may be lost. Some, but not all, of the potential reasons for lost savings are provided here:

  • The part-night control requirement does not specify how much power must be reduced, nor for what portion of the night, so even in facilities that are closed for much of the night, these controls could be programmed to provide very minimal power reduction while still complying with code.
  • Many business owners may choose not to utilize (or to over-ride) part-night controls after business hours in order to ensure that lights are on at 100% in the event that anyone enters the property after hours.
  • If a business changes hands, changes operating hours, or experiences other changes to normal operation, part-night controls may not be re-programmed to provide optimal savings (or they may be over-ridden if they’re perceived to not fit the new operating practice).
  • The part-night control is not likely to be utilized during business hours when lights are kept on for occupants, so they do not save energy in 24/7 facilities.

Occupancy-based multi-level controls ensure greater savings relative to these scenarios. They achieve savings regardless of whether a business is open or closed at night, so there is savings potential both in 24/7 facilities, facilities that operate for significant periods of time during the night, and in facilities that are closed for much or all of the night but which often leave lighting on. In a business that operates at night but with only intermittent occupancy (such as fuel stations), bi-level motion controls will maintain lights at a low power state for much of the night, when no one is present, saving a considerable amount of energy. The controls will ramp up lighting to full power only when detecting motion, and then dim lights again in between customers. In facilities that are closed for most or all of the night, the measure will dim lights with the ability to ramp up should motion be detected, which can be a valuable safety feature for a facility like a sales lot, where increased light levels can draw attention to trespassers.

Stakeholder Meeting

Several stakeholder meetings and CEC staff workshops were held regarding the Nonresidential HVAC Economizer Modifications building energy efficiency topic. The list of past meetings and hearings can be found here. If you would like to receive email updates on this CASE topic, click the link below.


  1. Final CASE Report