6.2   History and Scope

The outdoor lighting requirements within the Energy Standards conserve energy, reduce winter peak electric demand, and are both technically feasible and cost effective. They set minimum control requirements, maximum allowable power levels, minimum efficacy requirements, and cutoff (uplight and glare) zonal lumen limits for large luminaires.

The lighting power allowances are based on current Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) recommendations for the quantity and design parameters of illumination, current industry practices, and efficient sources and equipment that are readily available. Data indicates that the IES recommendations provide more than adequate illumination, based on a 2002 baseline survey of outdoor lighting practice in California that showed that the majority of outdoor lighting illuminates at substantially lower levels than IES recommendations.

The Energy Standards do not allow trade-offs between outdoor lighting power allowances and indoor lighting, sign lighting, HVAC, building envelope, or water heating (§140.1 and 140.7).

Lighting in unconditioned buildings (including parking garages) is addressed in Chapter 5.

6.2.1    History and Background

In response to the 2000 electricity crisis, the legislature charged the Energy Commission to develop outdoor lighting standards that are both technologically feasible and cost-effective. The intent of the legislature was that the Energy Standards would provide ongoing reliability to the electricity system and reduce energy consumption.

Regulations for lighting have been on the books in California since 1977, but have only addressed indoor lighting through control requirements and maximum allowable lighting power. In 2005 Standards the scope was expanded to include outdoor lighting applications as well as indoor applications in unconditioned buildings.

Outdoor lighting power densities are structured using a layered lighting approach.  With the layered approach, the first layer of allowed lighting power is general hardscape for the entire site. After the allowed lighting power has been determined for this first layer, additional layers of lighting power are allowed for specific applications when they occur on the site. For example, the total allowed power for a sales lot with frontage is determined by layering the General Hardscape, Outdoor Sales Lot and Outdoor Sales Lot Frontage allowances, with specific restrictions associated with the location of the power used for frontage and sales lot lighting.

Figure 6-1: Concept of a layered lighting approach for outdoor lighting - Lighting Power Allowance (LPA)


Text Box: Additional Lighting Power Allowance (LPA) for Specific applications Text Box: General Hardscape LPA –  Perimeter Text Box: General Hardscape LPA  - Area Text Box: General Hardscape LPA –Initial Allowance

6.2.2          Scope and Application

The outdoor lighting applications that are addressed by the Energy Standards are shown in the first two columns of Table 6-1. The first column is general site illumination applications, which allow trade-offs within the outdoor portion only. The second column is specific outdoor lighting applications, which do not allow trade-offs, and are considered “use it or lose it”. The lighting applications in the third column are not regulated. The Energy Standards include control requirements as well as limits on installed lighting power.

All Section (§) and Table references in this Chapter refer to sections and Tables contained in the Energy Standards or California Energy Code.  Trade-offs

The Energy Standards do not allow trade-offs between outdoor lighting power allowances and indoor lighting, sign lighting, HVAC, building envelope, or water heating [§140.7(a)].

There is only one type of trade-off permitted for outdoor lighting power. Allowed lighting power determined according to §140.7(d) 1 for general hardscape lighting may be traded to specific applications in §140.7(d) 2, provided the luminaires used to determine the illuminated area are installed as designed. This means that if luminaires used to determine the total illuminated area are removed from the design, resulting in a smaller illuminated area, then the general hardscape lighting power allowance must also be reduced accordingly.

Allowed lighting power for specific applications shall not be traded between specific applications, or to hardscape lighting in §140.7(d)1. This means that for each and every specific application, the allowed lighting power is the smaller of the allowed power determined for that specific application according to §140.7(d)2, or the actual installed lighting power that is used in that specific application. These additional power allowances are “use it or lose it” allowances.

Table 6-1: Scope of the Outdoor Lighting Requirements

Lighting Applications Covered

Lighting Applications
Not Regulated (only as detailed in §140.7)

General Hardscape
(trade-offs permitted)

Specific Applications
(trade-offs not permitted)

The general hardscape area of a site shall include parking lot(s), roadway(s), driveway(s), sidewalk(s), walkway(s), bikeway(s), plaza(s), bridge(s), tunnel(s) and other improved area(s) that are illuminated

Canopies: Sales and Non-sales

Drive-Up Windows

Emergency Vehicle Facilities

Building Entrances or Exits

Building Facades

Guard Stations

Hardscape Ornamental Lighting

Outdoor Dining

Primary Entrances for Senior Care Facilities, Police Stations, Hospitals, Fire Stations, and Emergency Vehicle Facilities



Frontage and Lots

Special Security Lighting for Retail Parking and Pedestrian Hardscape

Student Pick-up/Drop-off zone

Vehicle Service Station: Canopies, Hardscape, and Uncovered Fuel Dispenser

ATM Machine Lighting


Required & regulated by FAA

Required & regulated by the Coast Guard.

For public streets, roadways, highways, and traffic signage lighting, and occurring in the public right-of-way

For sports and athletic fields, and children’s playground

For industrial sites

For public monuments

Signs regulated by §130.3 and §140.8

For stairs, wheelchair elevator lifts

For ramps that are other than parking garage ramps

Landscape lighting

For themes and special effects in theme parks

For outdoor theatrical and other outdoor live performances

For qualified historic buildings

Other outdoor lighting applications that are not included in Energy Standards Tables 140.7-A or 140.7-B are assumed to be not regulated by these Standards. This includes decorative gas lighting and emergency lighting powered by an emergency source as defined by the California Electrical Code. The text in the above list of lighting applications that are not regulated has been shortened for brevity. Please see Section 6.2 for details about lighting applications not regulated.  Outdoor Lighting Applications Not Regulated by §140.7

When a luminaire is installed only to illuminate one or more of the following applications, the lighting power for that luminaire shall be exempt from §140.7(a) The Energy Standards clarify that at least 50 percent of the light from the luminaire must fall within an application to qualify as being installed for that application.

      Temporary outdoor lighting.

      Temporary Lighting is defined in §100.1 as a lighting installation with plug-in connections that does not persist beyond 60 consecutive days or more than 120 days per year.

      Lighting required and regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard.

      Lighting for public streets, roadways, highways, and traffic signage lighting, including lighting for driveway entrances occurring in the public right-of-way.

      Lighting for sports and athletic fields, and children’s playground.

      Lighting for industrial sites, including but not limited to, rail yards, maritime shipyards and docks, piers and marinas, chemical and petroleum processing plants, and aviation facilities.

      Lighting of public monuments.

      Lighting of signs. Signs shall meet the requirements of §130.3 and 140.8.

      Lighting of stairs, wheelchair elevator lifts for American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, and ramps that are other than parking garage ramps.

      Landscape lighting.

      Landscape lighting is defined in §100.1 as lighting that is recessed into or mounted on the ground, paving, or raised deck, which is mounted less than 42 inches above grade or mounted onto trees or trellises, and that is intended to be aimed only at landscape features. Lighting installed for a purpose other than landscape, such as walkway lighting, shall not be considered exempt landscape lighting if only incidental lighting from the walkway luminaires happens to spill onto the landscape.

      In theme parks: outdoor lighting only for themes and special effects. However, all non-theme lighting, such as area lighting for a parking lot, shall not be considered theme lighting, even if the area luminaires are mounted on the same poles as the theme lighting.

      Lighting for outdoor theatrical and other outdoor live performances, provided that these lighting systems are additions to area lighting systems and are controlled by a multi-scene or theatrical cross-fade control station accessible only to authorized operators.

    Outdoor lighting systems for qualified historic buildings, as defined in the California Historic Building Code (Title 24, Part 8), if they consist solely of historic lighting components or replicas of historic lighting components. If lighting systems for qualified historic buildings contain some historic lighting components or replicas of historic components, combined with other lighting components, only those historic or historic replica components are exempt. All other outdoor lighting systems for qualified historic buildings shall comply with §140.7.