6.1   Overview

This chapter is a one-stop place where a building department, builder, contractor, or lighting designer can get the information they need about residential lighting in low-rise buildings and in the dwelling units of high-rise buildings.

For residential buildings, all of the lighting requirements are mandatory measures. Therefore, lighting energy is not part of the energy budget for the whole building performance method, except as part of the standard assumption on internal heat gains that is assumed to be the same for all buildings. There are no tradeoffs between lighting and other building features.

6.1.1    Scope

A.   Low-Rise Residential Buildings

The residential lighting requirements apply to both indoor and outdoor lighting, in low-rise residential single-family buildings, and low-rise multi-family buildings.

The residential lighting requirements also apply to some spaces in buildings classified as nonresidential, as explained below in section 6.1.1 B of this chapter.

A low-rise residential building is defined in §100.1(b) of the Standards as a building, other than a hotel/motel, that is an Occupancy Group that is one of the following: 

      R-2, multi-family, with three stories or less; or

      R-3, single family; or

      U-building, located on a residential site.


B.   Residential Space Types in Nonresidential Building

The design and installation of all lighting systems, lighting controls and equipment in the following space types shall comply with the applicable provisions of the residential lighting requirements for newly constructed buildings and additions in §150.0(k) and the provisions of the residential lighting requirements for alterations in §150.2(b).

The residential lighting requirements apply to the following space types, as defined in §100.1(b) of the Standards:

1.   Dwelling units in high-rise residential buildings

2.   Outdoor lighting that is attached to a high-rise residential or hotel/motel building, and is separately controlled from the inside of a dwelling unit or guest room.

3.   Fire station dwelling accommodations.

4.   Hotel and motel guest rooms. Additionally, hotel and motel guest rooms shall meet the requirements of §130.1(c)8.

Following are the requirements for hotel and motel guest rooms in §130.1(c)8 of the Standards:

      Hotel motel guest rooms shall have captive card key controls, occupancy sensing controls, or automatic controls such that, no longer than 30 minutes after the guest room has been vacated, lighting power is switched off.

EXCEPTION: One high efficacy luminaire as defined in TABLE 150.0-A or 150.0-B that is switched separately and where the switch is located within 6 feet of the entry door.

5.   Dormitory and senior housing dwelling accommodations.

C.   Nonresidential Buildings

The space types specifically 'listed is section B above are in buildings which are classified as nonresidential. All of the other space types in these nonresidential buildings are required to comply with the applicable nonresidential lighting Standards.

Typical nonresidential space types, required to comply with the applicable nonresidential lighting Standards include meeting rooms, corridors, public restrooms, stairs, support areas, exercise centers, hotel function areas, lobbies, lounge areas, offices, parking garages, and all other common areas.

Following are some relevant definitions from §100.1(b) of the Standards:

1.   High-rise residential building is a building, other than a hotel/motel, of Occupancy Group R-2 or R-4 with four or more habitable stories.

2.   Hotel/Motel is a building or buildings that has six or more guest rooms or a lobby serving six or more guest rooms, where the guest rooms are intended or designed to be used, or which are used, rented, or hired out to be occupied, or which are occupied for sleeping purposes by guests, and all conditioned spaces within the same building envelope.

Hotel/motel also includes all conditioned spaces which are

a.   On the same property as the hotel/motel,

b.   Served by the same central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system as the hotel/motel, and

c.   Integrally related to the functioning of the hotel/motel as such, including, but not limited to, exhibition facilities, meeting and conference facilities, food service facilities, lobbies, and laundries.

Nonresidential building is any building which is identified in the California Building Code Table; Description of Occupancy as Group A, B, E, F, H, M, or S; and is a U; as defined by Part 2 of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulation.

D.   Existing Construction

“Additions” are treated the same as newly constructed buildings, so they must meet the applicable residential lighting requirements of §150.0(k)

In “alterations”, existing luminaires may stay in place, but all new luminaires that are permanently installed shall meet the applicable requirements of §150.0(k).

E.   Permanently Installed Lighting

The residential lighting Standards apply only to permanently installed luminaires, i.e., luminaires that are attached to the house, as opposed to portable luminaires such as torchieres or table lamps.

Permanently installed luminaires include ceiling luminaires, chandeliers, vanity lamps, wall sconces, under-cabinet luminaires, and any other type of luminaire that is attached to the house. Permanently installed luminaires may include hard wired or plug-in luminaires.

      Permanently Installed lighting is defined as lighting that consists of luminaires that are affixed to land, within the meaning of Civil Code §658 and §660, except as provided below. 

      Permanently installed luminaires may be mounted inside or outside of a building or site. 

      Permanently installed luminaires may have either plug-in or hardwired connections for electric power.

      Examples of permanently installed lighting include track and flexible lighting systems; lighting attached to walls, ceilings, columns, inside or outside of permanently installed cabinets, internally illuminated cabinets, mounted on poles, in trees, or in the ground; attached to ceiling fans and integral to exhaust fans.

      Permanently installed lighting does not include portable lighting or lighting that is installed by the manufacturer in exhaust hoods for cooking equipment, refrigerated cases, food preparation equipment, and scientific and industrial equipment.

      Portable lighting is table and freestanding floor lamps with plug-in connections. Luminaires that are attached to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet are classified as permanent, even when they have plug-in connections.

See Section 6.3.1 of this chapter for additional information about permanently installed luminaires.

F.   Outdoor Lighting

Some residential outdoor lighting is subject to the residential lighting requirements, and some residential outdoor lighting is subject to the nonresidential requirements, as described in section 6.7 of this chapter.

For single-family residences, all lighting attached to the residence or to other buildings on the same lot must be high efficacy, or controlled by a motion sensor and either a photocell or an astronomical time clock.  The same requirements apply to the outdoor lighting of low-rise multifamily buildings with certain exceptions, and to the outdoor lighting on private patios of high-rise multifamily when the lighting is controlled from inside each individual dwelling unit.

Figure 6-10 shows which requirements apply to various types of outdoor lighting for each building type.

G.   Signs

Internally illuminated address signs shall consume no more than 5 watts of power (watts shall be determined according to §130.0(c), or shall comply with the applicable nonresidential sign lighting requirements in §140.8 of the Standards

See Section 6.7.4 of this chapter for additional information about signs on residential buildings.

6.1.2    Summary of Requirements by Space Type

For each room or area, the lighting requirements may be summarized as follows:

A.   Kitchens

At least half the installed wattage of luminaires in kitchens shall be high efficacy. However, lighting installed inside cabinets may not be required to be included in the wattage calculation that determines whether half of the installed wattage is high efficacy. See Section 6.6.1 of this chapter for information about residential kitchen lighting requirements.

B.   Bathrooms

At least one luminaire in each bathroom must be high efficacy.  All other luminaires in a bathroom must be either high efficacy, or controlled by vacancy sensors. See Section 6.6.2 of this chapter for information about residential lighting requirements in bathrooms.

C.   Garages, Laundry Rooms, and Utility Rooms

All luminaires must be high efficacy, and must be controlled by a vacancy sensor. See Section 6.6.3 of this chapter for information about residential lighting requirements in these rooms.

D.   Other Rooms

This classification applies only to rooms that are not kitchens, bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, closets, or utility rooms. All installed luminaires shall either be high efficacy or shall be controlled by a vacancy sensor or dimmer. Closets that are less than 70 ft² are exempt from this requirement. See Section 6.6.4 of this chapter for information about residential lighting requirements in these rooms.

E.   Outdoor Lighting – Single Family

In single-family residences, all luminaires mounted to the building (or to other buildings on the same lot) shall be high efficacy luminaires, or shall be controlled by a motion sensor and also by a photocontrol, astronomical time clock, or energy management control system (EMCS).  See Section 6.7.1 of this chapter for information about residential outdoor lighting requirements for single-family residences.

F.   Outdoor Lighting – Multifamily

Outdoor lighting for multifamily buildings is sometimes subject to the nonresidential outdoor lighting requirements. See Sections 6.7.2 and 6.7.3 of this chapter for information about residential outdoor lighting requirements for multi-family buildings.

G.   Interior Common Areas of Multifamily Buildings

For high-rise multifamily buildings, the lighting of common areas shall comply with the nonresidential lighting requirements. 

For low-rise multifamily buildings, if the total interior common area of the building equals 20% or less of the floor area, common area lighting shall be high efficacy or controlled by an occupant sensor.  If the total interior common area of the building equals more than 20% of the floor area, common area lighting shall meet the nonresidential lighting requirements. See Section 6.8 of this chapter for information about residential lighting requirements for interior common areas of multifamily buildings.

H.   Parking Lots

The nonresidential outdoor lighting Standards apply to residential parking lots or garages with space for eight or more cars, which are typically for multifamily buildings. The Nonresidential Lighting Standards for parking lots and/or garages apply in these cases (§130.2, §140.7). See section 1.8 for additional information about lighting Standards for residential parking lots or residential garages with space for eight or more cars. See section 6.7.7 of this chapter for information about lighting in residential parking lots.

6.1.3    Residential Luminaire Requirements

Residential luminaires are classified as being either “high efficacy” or “low efficacy” for the purpose of compliance, according to the requirements described in Section 6.3.2 and 6.3.3The residential lighting Standards have requirements for electronic ballasts (Section 6.3.8), permanently installed night lights (Section 6.3.9), lighting integral to exhaust fans (Section 6.3.11 and lighting switching requirements (Sections 6.5 and 6.6 of this chapter).

Luminaires that are recessed into ceilings shall have airtight housings to prevent conditioned air escaping into the ceiling cavity or attic, or unconditioned air infiltrating from the ceiling or attic into the conditioned space.

Luminaires that are recessed into insulated ceilings are required to be rated for insulation contact (“IC-rated”) so that insulation can be placed over them. See Sections 6.3.9; 6.3.12; and 6.3.13 of this chapter for additional information about luminaires recessed into insulated ceilings.

6.1.4    Related Documents

There are a number of publications and documents available from the California Energy Commission and others that provide additional information about residential lighting. A summary of these is 'listed below:

A.   The Nonresidential Compliance Manual should be consulted for more details on the requirements for parking lots and parking garages.

The Residential Lighting Design Guide, (Best practices and lighting designs to help buildings comply with California’s Title 24 energy code) is available from the California Lighting Technology Center (www.CLTC.ucdavis.edu).

B.   The Advanced Lighting Guidelines, available from the New Buildings Institute (www.newbuildings.org) is an informative resource for energy efficient lighting design, luminaires, and controls. While the document is mostly oriented for nonresidential lighting applications, it has generic information about lamps, ballasts, luminaires, and controls that is applicable to low-rise residential buildings.

C.   Professionally qualified lighting designers can be quickly located via the websites of the International Association of Lighting Designers (www.iald.org/index), or the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP): www.ncqlp.org). Many designers are ready to offer informal advice as well as undertake commissioned work.

D.   Many books on residential lighting design are available. The best books explain the principles of good lighting design as well as showing examples of luminaires. The fast pace of lamp development makes recently written books much more useful.

E.   Guidance on the selection and use of lighting technologies is available from the Lighting Research Center’s National Lighting Product Information Program, at www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip. Additional resources for energy efficient lighting and other building systems are available from the California Building Industry Institute at www.thebii.org.