6.2       Indoor Luminaire Requirements – All High Efficacy

A “luminaire” is the lighting industry’s term for a light fixture, and is defined by §100.1 as a complete lighting unit consisting of a light source such as a lamp or lamps, together with the parts that distribute the light, position and protect the light source and connect it to the power supply (for instance a ballast, transformer, or driver), A “lamp” is the lighting industry’s term for a light bulb or similar separable lighting component, and is defined by §100.1 as an electrical appliance that produces optical radiation for the purpose of visual illumination, designed with a base to provide an electrical connection between the lamp and a luminaire, and designed to be installed into a luminaire by means of a lamp-holder integral to the luminaire.

The 2016 Energy Standards require all permanently installed luminaires to be “high efficacy,” as specified in §150.0(k)1

The following are examples of what are not considered to be permanently installed lighting:

      Portable lighting as defined by §100.1 (including, but not limited to, table and freestanding floor lamps with plug-in connections).

      Lighting installed by the manufacturer in refrigerators, stoves, microwave ovens, exhaust hoods for cooking equipment, refrigerated cases, vending machines, food preparation equipment, and scientific and industrial equipment.

      Lighting in garage door openers which consists of no more than two screw-based sockets integrated into the garage door opener by the manufacturer, where the lights automatically turn on when the garage door is activated, and automatically turn off after a pre-determined amount of time.

6.2.1          High Efficacy Luminaires

“Efficacy” is a term used in the lighting industry to describe the overall effectiveness of a lamp or luminaire, including its energy efficiency (expressed as lumens/Watt). In order to simplify the residential lighting requirements, the Energy Standards define certain luminaire types as “high efficacy,” meaning that they possess a high lumens per watt efficiency and do not have any attributes that would make the light less effective or less suitable for residential illumination.

As noted above, the 2016 Energy Standards require that all permanently installed residential luminaires must be high efficacy. However, the types of luminaires that can be considered high efficacy have also been redefined.      High Efficacy Luminaires

Certain types of light sources are automatically classified as high efficacy, unless they are in recessed downlight luminaires. Luminaires in any of the following categories are automatically classified as high efficacy:

      Pin-based linear fluorescent luminaires using electronic ballasts.

      Pin-based compact fluorescent luminaires using electronic ballasts.

      Pulse-start metal halide luminaires.

      High pressure sodium luminaires.

      Luminaires with GU-24 sockets other than LEDs.

      Luminaires with hardwired high frequency generator and induction lamp.

      Inseparable SSL luminaires installed outdoors.

      Inseparable SSL luminaries with colored light sources for decorative lighting purpose.

The luminaire types listed here are the only types that are automatically classified as high efficacy. All other luminaire types must have a light source or lamp installed in them at the time of inspection that meets the requirements of Reference Joint Appendix JA8.

Note: Luminaires do not need to be shipped by manufacturers with a JA8 source installed.      High Efficacy Lighting

Luminaires not listed in the previous section must have an integral light source or removable lamp that meets the performance requirements of Reference Joint Appendix JA8. The requirements in JA8 are designed to ensure that new lighting technologies like LED provide energy efficient light, while also maintaining performance characteristics that residential customers expect. In addition to setting minimum efficacy requirements, JA8 establishes performance requirements that ensure accurate color rendition, dimmability, and reduced noise and flicker during operation.

Luminaires with integral sources, such as LED luminaires, must be certified by the Energy Commission as meeting the requirements of JA8. Luminaires that have changeable lamps (such as screw base luminaires) must be installed with lamps that have been certified by the Energy Commission as meeting the requirements of JA8. Luminaires and lamps that have been certified by the Energy Commission must be marked with “JA8-2016” or "JA8-2016-E" on the product itself. The "JA8-2016-E" marking indicates that the product meets the elevated temperature requirement of Reference Joint Appendix JA8 and is suitable for elevated temperature applications such as enclosed and recessed fixtures.

Examples of luminaires that can be classified as high efficacy by meeting the requirements of JA8 include:

      LED luminaires with integral light sources that are certified to the Energy Commission

      Screw-based luminaires with JA8-certified lamps

      Low-voltage pin-based luminaires with JA8-certified lamps

In short, almost any luminaire can be classified as high efficacy, as long as the luminaire is installed with a JA8 compliant lamp. The exception is recessed downlight luminaires in ceilings, which must meet additional requirements.

The Energy Commission maintains a database of JA8 compliant luminaires and lamps. The database can be accessed using a Quick Search Tool (www.cacertappliances.energy.ca.gov) or an Advanced Search (www.cacertappliances.energy.ca.gov).

Table 6-1 summarizes the requirements for residential high efficacy lighting types. As the table shows, there are three categories: luminaires automatically classified as high efficacy; luminaires that must use JA8-certified light sources or lamps; and recessed downlight luminaires in ceilings, which must meet additional requirements.

Table 6-1 - Summary of Compliant Luminaire Types

High Efficacy Luminaires*

JA8 High Efficacy Lighting – Lamps and Light Sources that must be JA8-certified

*Recessed Downlight  Luminaires in Ceilings

Pin-based linear fluorescent
Pin-based compact fluorescent

Pulse-start metal halide

High pressure sodium

GU-24 other than LEDs

Inseparable SSL luminaires installed outdoors

Inseparable SSL luminaires with colored light sources for decorative lighting purpose

Light sources in ceiling recessed downlight luminaires.*

LED luminaires with integral sources

Screw-based LED lamps (A-lamps, PAR lamps, etc.)

Pin-based LED lamps (MR-16, AR-111, etc.)

GU-24 based LED light source

Any source or luminaire not listed elsewhere on this table

Shall not have screw based sockets

Shall contain JA8-certified light sources

Shall meet all performance requirements in §150.0(k)1C

6.2.2       Recessed Downlight Luminaires in Ceilings

In addition to the high efficacy requirements described above, there are several additional requirements for residential downlight luminaires that are recessed in ceilings.

The first set of requirements limit the light sources and lamp types that can be used in recessed downlight luminaires. Recessed downlights:

1.    Shall contain light sources that are JA8-certified.

2.    Shall not contain screw based lamps.

3.    Shall not contain light sources that are labeled “not for use in enclosed fixtures” or “not for use in recessed fixtures.”

In other words, all recessed downlight luminaires must contain a light source or lamp that is JA8-certified, such as an integral LED source, or LED lamp. However, screw-based lamps such as LED A-lamps or LED PAR lamps are not allowed. Pin-based lamps such as LED MR-16 lamps are allowed in recessed fixtures as long as they are JA8-certified.

In addition to the light source and lamp requirements listed above, recessed downlight luminaires in ceilings must also meet all of the following performance requirements:

1.    Be listed for zero clearance insulation contact (IC) by Underwriters Laboratories or another nationally recognized testing/rating laboratory.

2.    Have a label that certifies the luminaire is airtight with air leakage less than 2.0 CFM at 75 Pascals when tested in accordance with ASTM E283 (exhaust fan housings are not required to be airtight).

3.    Be sealed with a gasket or caulk between the luminaire housing and ceiling, and have all air leak paths between conditioned and unconditioned spaces sealed with a gasket or caulk.

4.    For luminaires with hardwired ballasts or drivers, allow ballast or driver maintenance and replacement to be readily accessible to building occupants from below the ceiling without requiring the cutting of holes in the ceiling.

Luminaires that meet the first two performance attributes will typically list this information on luminaire cut sheets or packaging. Contractors are responsible for ensuring that luminaires are properly sealed, and that any ballasts or drivers are accessible.

Recessed downlight luminaires that do not meet all of these requirements cannot be used for residential lighting.

Example 6-1: Recessed downlight luminaires: fire-rated housings


If a factory manufactured fire rated luminaire housing is placed over a recessed luminaire in a multifamily residential dwelling unit, is the luminaire still required to comply with the insulation contact (IC) requirements?


There are limited applications where a non-IC luminaire may be used in conjunction with a manufactured fire-rated luminaire housing in a multifamily residential dwelling unit. However, the luminaire shall still comply with all of the airtight requirements.

A non-IC luminaire may be used in a ceiling in conjunction with a fire-rated housing only if all three of the following conditions are met:

                  1. The multifamily dwelling unit is an occupancy type R1 or R2; and

                  2. The luminaire is recessed between different dwelling units that are regulated by California Building Code §712.4.1.2; and

6.2.3       Electronic Ballasts in Luminaires

Fluorescent lamps with a power rating of 13 watts or more shall have electronic ballasts that operate the lamp at a frequency of 20 kHz or more. Most commonly available electronic ballasts meet this requirement.

If in doubt, look at the number of pins protruding from the compact fluorescent lamp base. Pin-based compact fluorescent lamps operated with electronic ballasts typically have four-pin lamp holders. Pin-based compact fluorescent lamps with two-pin lamp holders typically indicate that the ballast is magnetic. Be careful not to confuse pin-based CFL sockets with GU-24 sockets.

High intensity discharge (HID) lamps (like pulse-start metal halide or high-pressure sodium) are not required to have electronic ballasts. This requirement does not apply to HID luminaires.

6.2.4       Blank Electrical Boxes

The number of blank electrical boxes installed more than five feet above the finished floor shall not be greater than the number of bedrooms. These electrical boxes shall be served by a dimmer, a vacancy sensor, or fan speed control.

Example 6-2: Blank Electrical Boxes


Where in the house can the blank electrical boxes as specified in §150.0(k)1B be permitted to be installed?


The blank electrical boxes as specified in §150.0(k)1B can be installed anywhere within single-family buildings or dwelling units of multifamily buildings. The number of blank electrical boxes cannot be greater than the number of bedrooms.

6.2.5       Night Lights

Permanently installed night lights and night lights integral to an installed luminaire or exhaust fan shall be rated to consume no more than 5W of power per luminaire or exhaust fan, as determined by §130.0(c).

Night lights are not required to be controlled by vacancy sensors, regardless of the type of room they are located in, as specified by §150.0(k)1E.

Example 6-3: Night Lights


Where in a residential building are night lights permitted to be installed?


Since there are no location restrictions in the Energy Standards, permanently installed night lights and night lights integral to installed luminaires can be installed anywhere within single family buildings or within dwelling units of multi-family buildings.

6.2.6       Recommendations for Luminaire Specifications

It is important that luminaires are described fully in the specifications and on drawings so that contractors and subcontractors provide and install residential lighting systems that comply with the residential lighting requirements. The specifications should be clear and complete so that contractors understand what is required to comply with the Standards.

Following are a few suggestions to reduce the chance of costly change orders required to bring a non-complying building into compliance.

1.    Include all applicable residential lighting requirements in the general notes on the drawings and other bid documents.

2.    Include the residential lighting requirements with each luminaire listed in the lighting schedule text and details, as demonstrated in Table 6-2 below.

Table 6-2 – Sample Luminaire Specifications

Luminaire Type

Recommended Type of Notes for Luminaire Schedule

Bath Bar

Bath bar, GU-24 sockets rated for use with only LED lamps.

Ceiling fixture

(i.e., for a bathroom application)

Fluorescent surface-mounted ceiling luminaire, with one F32-T8 fluorescent lamp and electronic ballast, meeting the requirements of §150.0(k).).

LED Recessed Can

(i.e., for a kitchen application)

LED recessed can certified by the manufacturer to the Energy Commission, housing rated only for use with LED and not containing incandescent sockets of any kind, meeting the IC, and airtight requirements of §150.0(k).

Ceiling fixture

Surface-mounted screw-base fixture, to be installed with JA8 compliant LED lamps.


Chandelier, installed with JA8 compliant lamps, and controlled by a dimmer switch meeting the requirements of §150.0(k) where the dimmer is certified to the Energy Commission by the manufacturer.

Vacancy Sensor (Manual-on Occupant Sensor)

Vacancy sensor certified to the Energy Commission by the manufacturer.

6.2.7          Examples for Luminaire Requirements

Example 6-4: Kitchen Alterations


I am designing a residential kitchen lighting system where I plan to install six 12W LED recessed downlights, and four 24W linear fluorescent under cabinet luminaires. How many watts of incandescent lighting can I install?


None. Low efficacy luminaires are no longer allowed for residential lighting. All luminaires must meet the definitions of high efficacy luminaires as established in Table 150.0-A of the Energy Standards.


Example 6-5: Definition of high efficacy lighting


I am using a screw-based luminaire that is rated to take a 60W lamp for lighting over a sink, but I plan to install a 10W LED lamp. Does this qualify as a high efficacy luminaire?


If the LED bulb is JA8-certified, and is marked “JA8-2016,” or “JA8-2016-E” then yes, that luminaire would qualify as high efficacy.


Example 6-6: Kitchens: Extraction hood lighting


I am installing an extraction hood over my stove, it has lamps within it. Do these lamps have to be high efficacy?


This lighting is part of an appliance, and therefore does not have to meet the residential lighting requirements for permanently installed lighting.


Example 6-7: Fade-in lighting


I would like to use lighting with an aesthetic fade-in feature in my design. I noticed that JA8 has a start time requirement. Are fade-in lights able to qualify as high efficacy?


Yes, aesthetic fade-in is acceptable under Title 24. The test procedure for start time measures “[t]he time between the application of power to the device and the point where the light output reaches 98% of the lamp’s initial plateau.” The “initial plateau” is “[t]he point at which the average increase in the light output over time levels out (reduces in slope).”

For light sources with a fade-in feature, the light output is intentionally following a programmed fade-in curve in order to increase light output gradually. Because the light output must “level out”, the Initial Plateau for these light sources is the point in time at which there is perceived light output and the perceived light increase begins to follow the programmed fade-in curve. (Note that the programmed fade-in curve is expected to be continuously increasing as a function of time.)

This allows fade-in lighting to qualify as high efficacy.


Example 6-8: Ceiling fans with integrated lighting


Can a ceiling fan with integrated lighting be a high efficacy luminaire?


Yes. Ceiling fan light kits with integral CFL ballasts are available. Ceiling fans and light kits with screw base sockets can also be considered high efficacy if they are installed with JA8-certified light sources or lamps.


Example 6-9: Best practice for high efficacy spotlights


Are high-efficacy spotlights available, to replace halogen MR16s?


Some CFLs resemble spotlights, and manufacturers may describe them as spotlights, but they produce the same diffuse light as regular CFLs.

Metal halide spotlights with 35W T-6 high efficacy lamps are available.