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Major Changes Coming in Light of New Code

Office lighting is a key component of any commercial-building project. The quality of light impacts employee productivity, employer energy costs and more.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, four major changes to the California office-lighting code, also known as Title 24, have been implemented. To get the lowdown on the new requirements, I recently attended a PG&E course at the PG&E Energy Center in San Francisco called "Title 24 Part 6 Essentials — Standards and Technology for Office Lighting."

First, in the new code known as 2016 Title 24, lighting power density allotments have been reduced for indoor and outdoor spaces. These will affect projects using all three compliance methods, such as the area category method, total building method, and tailored method. These changes will increase energy savings.

Second, updates to the power adjustment factors have been crafted. Two updates have been added to the code that promote institutional tuning and daylight harvesting. In addition, three power adjustment factors have been eliminated because the control strategies are now mandatory.

Third, multilevel control requirements have been simplified. For example, if multilevel lighting is required, multilevel controls only require the designer to activate the necessary steps instead of also making that person be concerned with manual dimming, tuning, lumen maintenance and more.

Finally, more projects will be exempt from alteration requirements. A requirement in the existing code (adopted in 2014 stated that projects addressing 40 or more luminaires were regulated under the standards. The threshold will increase to 70 luminaires, or up to a maximum of 10% per year, on Jan. 1, 2017. This change ensures a bigger portion of projects containing maintenance will avoid additional lighting control and power density requirements intended for larger system retrofits.

Want to find out more about how to best adapt to the changes? Please contact me at ntownley@esdglobal.com.