6.1       Overview

For residential buildings and spaces, all of the lighting requirements are mandatory measures. There are no tradeoffs between lighting and other building features and lighting is not part of any component package under the prescriptive method.

The residential lighting Energy Standards apply only to permanently installed luminaires, including luminaires with easily interchangeable lamps, but do not apply to portable luminaires such as table lamps or freestanding floor lamps.

All section (§) and Table references in this Chapter refer to Sections and Tables contained in Title 24 California Code of Regulations, Part 6, also known as the Energy Standards or California Energy Code.

6.1.1          The Significant Changes in the 2016 Energy Standards

The 2016 Energy Standards have simplified the residential lighting requirements through the following important changes:

1.    All luminaires installed in residential construction must qualify as “high efficacy luminaires.” This eliminates varying requirements by room and type of controls. This also eliminates the need to calculate the wattage of low versus high efficacy luminaires in the kitchen.

2.    The definition of “high efficacy luminaires” has been expanded. It includes the light sources identified as efficient in 2013 (linear fluorescent, pin based compact fluorescent, GU-24 base CFL, HID, and induction lighting), and now also includes any luminaire that contains a JA8 compliant lamp or other light source that is appropriately marked. JA8 contains requirements that ensure that light sources, including lamps and luminaires, provide sufficient color quality, life, and energy efficiency. Table 150.0-A of §150.0 contains the definition.

3.    All permanently installed luminaires with interchangeable lamps must contain lamps that comply with the requirements of Joint Appendix 8 ( JA8) and be appropriately marked to be considered “high efficacy luminaires.”

4.    The marking JA8-2016 is required for compliance and shall only be used on lamps that meet the requirements of Joint Appendix 8 and are listed in the Energy Commission JA8 database.

5.    The marking JA8-2016-E indicates that in addition to the requirements above for a JA8-2016 light source, the light source has been tested to provide long life at elevated temperatures. Light sources must be marked “JA 8-2016-E” if they are to be used in enclosed or recessed luminaires.

6.    Recessed downlight luminaires and enclosed luminaires are required to contain a JA8 compliant lamp that meets the elevated temperature requirement. Recessed downlight luminaires with screw based sockets are no longer permitted to be installed.

7.    The builder must provide the new homeowner with a luminaire schedule (as required in Title 24 California Code of Regulations, Part 1, §10-103(b)) that includes a list of lamps installed in the luminaries so that the homeowner knows what light sources they are entitled to when they take possession of the new home.

8.    Inspections for lighting are more straightforward as all luminaries have a high efficacy light source and there is a completed luminaire schedule for the inspector to review.

In addition to these changes, the 2016 Energy Standards include minor modifications to the lighting controls requirements to maintain consistency with the requirements for dimmers and/or vacancy sensors.

6.1.2          Scope and Application

The residential lighting requirements in the Energy Standards, apply to more than just single-family homes. Space types covered include:

      Single-family buildings, indoor and outdoor lighting

      Low-rise multifamily buildings (three stories or less), indoor and outdoor lighting

      High-rise multifamily residential units

      Hotel and motel guest rooms

      Outdoor lighting controlled from the inside of a high-rise multifamily unit or hotel/motel guest room

      Fire station dwelling accommodations

      Dormitory and senior housing dwelling accommodations

      Accessory buildings such as sheds or garages (U occupancy type) on residential sites

The following subchapters provide a brief introduction to how the residential lighting requirements apply in these various space types. Specific requirements are discussed in greater detail throughout this chapter.      Single Family and Low-rise Multifamily

The residential lighting requirements apply to all indoor lighting of and outdoor lighting attached to single-family buildings.

The residential lighting requirements apply to lighting within dwelling units in multifamily buildings. In addition to the residential lighting requirements, if the interior common area of a low-rise multifamily building is greater than 20 percent of the total floor area, the lighting in the common areas must comply with the nonresidential lighting standards.

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

      R-2, multifamily, with three stories or less; or

      R-3, single-family; or

      U-building, located on a residential site.      High-rise Multifamily

Lighting within residential units in high-rise multifamily or high-rise residential buildings is required to comply with the residential lighting requirements. Common areas in all high-rise multifamily buildings must meet all applicable nonresidential lighting requirements. In addition, any outdoor lighting attached to a high-rise residential building controlled from within a residential unit must also meet the residential lighting requirements of the Energy Standards.      Residential Spaces in Nonresidential Buildings

In addition to typical residential units, the residential lighting requirements apply to residential spaces in nonresidential buildings. As defined in §130.0(b), the following spaces are required to comply with the residential lighting standards:

      Hotel and motel guest rooms (Note that hotel and motel guest rooms are also required to comply with the requirements in §130.1(c)8, which require captive card key or other occupant sensing controls.)

      Outdoor lighting attached to a hotel or motel that is controlled from inside the guest room.

      Fire station dwelling accommodations.

      Dormitory and senior housing dwelling accommodations.

The space types listed 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 requirements.      Outdoor

Outdoor residential lighting is sometimes subject to the residential lighting requirements, and sometimes subject to the nonresidential lighting requirements.

For example, in low-rise multifamily buildings any private patios, entrances, balconies, porches, and any parking lots or carports for fewer than eight vehicles can comply with either the residential or nonresidential Standards.      Additions and Alterations

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

For alterations, existing luminaires may stay in place but any new permanently installed luminaires shall meet the applicable requirements of §150.0(k).

6.1.3          Related Resources

There are educational resources prepared by the California Energy Commission and others that provide additional information about residential lighting. The Energy Commission educational resources webpage can be found at:


The Residential Lighting Guide, which discusses best practices and lighting designs to help buildings comply with California’s Title 24 Energy Standards, is prepared by the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, and is available at: www.cltc.ucdavis.edu.