What is Title 24?

The California Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are designed to ensure new and existing buildings achieve energy efficiency and preserve outdoor and indoor environmental quality. These measures (Title 24, Part 6) are listed in the California
Code of Regulations. The California Energy Commission is responsible for adopting, implementing and updating building energy efficiency. Local city and county enforcement agencies have the authority to verify compliance with applicable building codes, including energy efficiency.

Why are energy standards important?

Since 1978, Energy Efficiency Standards make buildings more comfortable, lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Standards ensure that builders use the most energy-efficient technologies and construction.

Non-Residential Lighting (commercial and Industrial) and Title 24

Indoor lighting is one of the single largest consumers of energy (kilowatt-hours) in a commercial building, representing about a third of electricity use. The objective of the Title 24 non-residential lighting standards is the effective reduction of this energy use, without compromising the quality of lighting or task work. The Title 24 non-residential lighting standards are the result of the involvement of many representatives of the lighting design and manufacturing community, and of enforcement agencies across the state. A great deal of effort has been devoted to making the lighting requirements practical and realistic.


The primary mechanism for regulating indoor lighting energy under the standards is to limit the allowed lighting power in watts installed in the building. Other mechanisms require basic equipment efficiency and require that the lighting is controlled to permit efficient operation.

Mandatory Lighting Controls

The simplest way to improve lighting efficiency is to turn off the lights when they are not in use. All lighting systems must have switching or control capabilities to allow lights to be turned off when they are not needed. In addition, it is desirable to reduce light output and power consumption when full light output is not needed. These mandatory requirements apply to all nonresidential, high-rise residential and hotel/motel buildings for both conditioned and unconditioned interior spaces. A partial list of the Title 24 non-residential mandatory lighting control requirements can be summarized as follows:

  • Light switches (or other control) in each room
  • Separate controls for general, display, ornamental, and display case lighting
  • Occupant sensors in offices 250 ft2 or smaller, multi-purpose rooms less than 1000 ft2, classrooms of any size, and conference rooms of any size
  • Partial ON/OFF occupant sensors are required in aisle ways and open areas in warehouses, library book stack aisles, corridors, and stairwells
  • Multi-level control (dimming capability) for lighting systems > 0.5 W/ft² in rooms > than 100 ft2
  • Automatic daylighting controls in daylit areas >100 ft2 except when the total installed general lighting is less than 120 watts or the glazing area is less than 24 ft2
  • Demand responsive controls in buildings larger than 10,000 ft2 capable of being automatically reducing lighting power by a minimum of 15% in response to a demand response signal

Detailed descriptions of these and additional mandatory control requirements can be found in the CEC Non-Residential Compliance Manual.


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