Helpful Information on Title 24

Title 24 is a set of building codes that is having a big impact on the way lighting and controls are used in California buildings. The latest update to the code was released on July 1, 2014. The FAQ and Glossary listed below aren’t an exhaustive resource, but will help you familiarize yourself with the changes.

TITLE 24 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What is Title 24?

Title 24 California Building Standards Code is a broad set of requirements for “energy conservation, green design, construction and maintenance, fire and life safety, and accessibility” that apply to the “structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems” in a building. Title 24 was published by the California Building Standards Commission and applies to all buildings in California, not just state-owned buildings.

Q: What are the biggest changes in the July 1, 2014 update?

Title 24 code became much more stringent on July 1, 2014. Here is a brief summary of the changes:

  • Mandatory multi-level lighting controls require more steps.
  • Some spaces now require bi-level occupancy controls.
  • In all buildings except offices, lighting must be shut off completely during unoccupied times.
  • Daylighting controls are required in more applications.
  • The trigger for when Title 24 applies is more stringent.
  • Demand responsive controls are required in all buildings at least 10,000 square feet.
Q: Does Title 24 affect lighting?

Yes. Title 24 is a set of codes that has a significant impact on lighting and lighting controls used in a building or space.

Q: How do I know if my lighting project triggers Title 24 requirements?

Title 24 applies to you if you are modifying, moving, replacing, or disconnecting and reconnecting at least 10% or 40 light fixtures in a room and you are pulling a permit for your project. Generally speaking, routine maintenance does not trigger Title 24 compliance.

Q: How is Title 24 enforced?

Title 24 is enforced when you pull a building permit for your project and either have your plans reviewed or building inspected.

Q: What does “Lighting Power Density” mean for me?

Title 24 Lighting Power Density (LPD) requirements basically define the maximum wattage of lighting that you can use in your building or space. As a general example, the “LPD” of a 10,000 square foot building that uses 7,800 watts of lighting would be 0.78 watts per sqft.

NOTE: Your LPD is based on the rated maximum fixture wattage, not necessarily the light bulbs you have installed. There are also exceptions to how LPD is calculated (decorative fixtures, power adjustment factors, etc.).

Q: How much general lighting can I have under Title 24?

The amount (wattage) of general lighting that you can have under Title 24 depends on the type of building and room. If you are planning a permitted project, we can help you determine if your lighting plans fit within the Title 24 rules. Please fill out the short form on our Title 24 details page, and we will contact you promptly.

Q: What interior lighting controls are required by Title 24?

Lighting control requirements generally apply to spaces greater than 100 sqft using more than 0.5 watts of lighting per sqft. Every applicable space must have lighting controls based on the fixture type. Here’s the detail:

What Type of Fixture Do You Have?This Is the Control Requirement.
  • Line Voltage Incandescent & Halogen
  • Low Voltage Incandescent & Halogen Systems
  • LED Lamps & LED Systems
Continuous Dimming 10% to 100%
  • GU-24 Sockets Rated for Fluorescent >20W
  • Pin-Based Compact Fluorescent (CFL) >20W
Continuous Dimming 20% to 100%
  • GU-24 Sockets Rated for Fluorescent <=20W
  • Pin-Based Compact Fluorescent (CFL) <=20W
  • Linear & U-Bent Fluorescent <=13W
Minimum of One Reduction Step Between 30% and 70%
(Stepped Dimming, Continuous Dimming, or Switching Alternate Lamps in a Fixture)
  • Linear & U-Bent Fluorescent >13W
Minimum of Four Steps of Light Levels at:
20% to 40%
50% to 70%
80% to 85%
100%
(Stepped Dimming, Continuous Dimming, or Switching Alternate Lamps in a Fixture)
  • Track Lighting
Minimum of One Reduction Step Between 30% and 70%
(Stepped Dimming, Continuous Dimming, or Switching Alternate Track Circuits)
  • HID >20W & Induction >25W
  • Other Light Sources
Minimum of One Reduction Step Between 50% and 70%
(Stepped Dimming, Continuous Dimming, or Switching Alternate Lamps in a Fixture)

Q: What exterior lighting controls are required by Title 24?

Title 24 now requires that exterior fixtures lower than 24 feet have automatic motion sensors. These motion sensors need to reduce lighting levels between 40% and 80% of normal light output.

NOTE: There are a few exceptions, including pole mounted fixtures <=75W, non pole-mounted fixtures <=30W and linear fluorescent lighting <=4W per sqft.

Q: What is required of exterior light fixtures in Title 24?

Title 24 specifies requirements for backlight, uplight and glare requirements for exterior light fixtures based on where you are located. These requirements are sometimes referred to as “BUG” ratings. Title 24 exterior lighting control requirements (see paragraph above) are also important to consider.

Q: What happens if I change at least 10% or 40 light fixtures in my space?

If you complete work in a space that qualifies as a “luminaire alteration” and you are pulling a permit, you will have to ensure that the watts or lighting per sqft and the lighting controls in the space meet current Title 24 requirements. Here is the detail:

What If…What I Have to Do…
I am using less than 85% of the maximum allowed watts per sqft (LPD) for my space?Rooms must be separately switched —and—
Either two-level lighting control or the interior lighting control requirements listed above must be met.
I am using between 85% and 100% of the maximum allowed watts per sqft (LPD) for my space?Rooms must be separately switched —and—
Daylight controls must be used where applicable —and—
Either two level lighting control or the interior lighting control requirements listed above must be met.
I am using more than the maximum allowed watts per sqft (LPD) for my space?Rooms must be separately switched —and—
Daylight controls must be used where applicable —and—
Demand response controls must be used —and—
Either two level lighting control or the interior lighting control requirements listed above must be met.

Does my project need to meet Title 24 code?
Our lighting professionals can help you determine if Title 24 code applies.

Please note that this FAQ is designed to give an overview of when Title 24 applies, but it is not intended to be a definitive guide.

TITLE 24 GLOSSARY

Space

A room or area in a building.

Luminaire

A light fixture.

General Lighting

The fixtures that provide light in a room or building, not including task lights (desk lamp), display lights, or ornamental lighting.

Lighting Power Density (LPD)

The total rated wattage of lighting fixtures used in a building or space per square foot.

Luminaire Alteration

Any work where at least 10% of the light fixtures in a space are modified, moved, replaced, or disconnected and reconnected.

Luminaire Modification-in-Place

Any work where you are changing the light fixture by replacing lamps and ballasts, replacing sockets, etc. (You don’t have to move or replace your lighting fixtures for this to apply.)

Multi-Level Controls

Controls that enable the lighting in an area to be partially turned on, turned off, or dimmed in addition to a simple on/off. If your space is greater than 100 sqft and your lighting in the space uses more than 0.5 watts per square foot of general lighting, Title 24 requires that you have multi-level lighting controls.

Automatic Shutoff Controls

Controls that turn off the lighting in a room automatically (in case someone forgets to manually turn the lights off). Examples include occupant sensing controls, automatic timers, building automation, etc.

Automatic Daylighting Controls

Controls that sense the amount of daylight coming into a room or space and automatically dim or turn off the lighting if there is enough daylight. Title 24 now requires automatic daylighting controls for spaces that are “Sidelit” (windows), “Skylit” (skylights), or applicable parking garages.

Demand Responsive Lighting Controls

Controls that enable lighting levels to be temporarily reduced based on electricity prices or signals from an electric utility. These controls are required by Title 24 in buildings larger than 10,000 sqft.

Our lighting specialists can help you navigate the complexity of California’s Title 24 building codes. If you are unsure of whether the latest codes apply to you or need assistance in meeting the new code, we can help.

Start typing and press Enter to search