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Residential Lighting


Measure Overview

This Residential Lighting proposal would update Section 150.0(k) to require the use of high efficacy lighting in all residential new construction applications (single family residential, and low rise multifamily residential buildings and dwelling units within high rise multifamily buildings), and eliminate exceptions which allow low efficacy lighting in combination with controls. To accommodate this change, the definition of “high efficacy luminaire” for residential lighting is revised to include any fixture installed with high quality, high efficacy lamps, regardless of base type (including screw base lamps) as long as they comply with quality and high efficacy requirements in the revised Reference Joint Appendix 8 (JA8) (see sections 2.2.3 and 6.2 for more details on the revised JA8).

Recessed luminaires, currently the primary low efficacy luminaire type, would not be allowed to contain screw based lamps, and would be required to contain a JA8 compliant source.

High efficacy lighting has been required in the Standards since the adoption of the 2005 Standards, but low efficacy lighting has also been allowed in most room types in combination with certain controls. As a result, the majority of lighting wattage in new homes is low efficacy; something this proposal would change. The current structure of the Standards classifies fixtures as high efficacy or low efficacy regardless of the lamp installed the fixture. The proposed revision allows any fixture, other than screw based recessed luminaires, to qualify as a high efficacy fixture, as long as the fixture is installed with a qualifying JA8 compliant lamp. This proposal still considers legacy high efficacy sources (GU24 sockets containing CFLs, linear fluorescents, HID and induction lighting) as high efficacy without these sources having to comply with Appendix JA8 as revised by this proposal.

The mandatory controls in this proposal continue to require vacancy sensors in utility rooms, laundry rooms, and garages, as required by the current Standards and add a requirement that at least one bathroom luminaire be controlled by a vacancy sensor. Dimmers or vacancy controls are required on all luminaires except those that contain the legacy high efficacy light sources. Thus, outside of the bathroom lighting control requirements, the proposed lighting controls requirements are unchanged.

The proposal allows for greater flexibility and choice for consumers, while delivering substantial energy savings. The life cycle cost benefit ratio is 6.6 due to the lower cost of screw based LED lamps. We estimate approximately 85 GWH/yr of savings for each year’s new construction after adoption.

The trade-off with this approach is the risk that homeowners will remove high efficacy sources and replace them with low efficacy sources. Key to addressing this risk is the safeguards placed in JA8. The specifications in the revised JA8 require that light sources have the following characteristics:

  • Color temperature and color rendering index similar to incandescent
  • Dimmable and low flicker similar to incandescent
  • Start time similar to incandescent
  • Life of at least 15,000 operating hours, much better than most incandescent but achievable by most high efficacy sources
  • For light sources placed in enclosed or recessed luminaires, long lamp life at high temperatures, has historically been a problem for CFLs and recently LEDs
  • The lamps are labeled as being JA8 compliant and lamps that cannot pass an elevated temperature test are labeled as such.

Thus designers and homebuilders can benefit from greater design flexibility and the lower luminaire cost associated with screw based luminaires as long as they put Appendix JA8 compliant lamps in these luminaires. The consumer receives a high quality light source that will not require replacement lamps for time periods in excess of 10 years, and is extremely cost-effective. In addition, this approach increases the market demand for approximately 3 million additional high efficacy, high quality lamps per year. This will likely increase economies of scale and downward price pressure on these light sources.

Starting in the 2005 Title 24 standards, up to 50% of the calculated wattage in the kitchen was allowed to be low efficacy. Starting in the 2008 standards an additional low efficacy wattage credit was added to increase allowable wattage of low efficacy lighting in the kitchen. The calculation of installed wattage of low efficacy sources is not straight forward as it includes not only the wattage of the source but potentially the diameter of recessed cans etc. This proposal removes all these calculation procedures and requires that all sources are either the traditional high efficacy sources (pin-based fluorescent, induction, HID, etc.) or the sources are labeled “T-24 JA8 compliant.” This makes inspection and compliance much easier.

Since more expensive screw based high efficacy lamps complying with JA8 can be easily replaced with less expensive low efficacy lamps, one worst case scenario is that between the time of inspection and the time that the first homeowner takes possession of the house, the high efficacy lamps are replaced with low efficacy lamps. This proposal addresses this concern by requiring that the designer include a luminaire and lamp schedule with the construction documents that are to be left at the home and given to the buyer so the new homeowner is aware of the light sources they are legally entitled to upon receipt of the new home. This luminaire schedule is less onerous to fill out than the existing wattage calculations.

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