In its every intention, Title 24 tries to reduce power consumption for new and remodeled buildings. In its current structure, it can make it worse.
I really have been trying to be aware in my design and purchase of lighting in our new kitchen remodel. I have been looking at every different lighting option and in particular, LED in the assumption that anything that doesn’t have a “heater” in it and creates waste heat, is good (BTW, this is a whole other blog regarding LED lighting). One of the first things I ran into in my design is California’s Title 24 requirements. At least up to August of this year, California has standards that have a rather strange way of promoting and calculating effective power usage for kitchens.
- There is no limit on the power you can put into the lighting of a kitchen. (a bad thing)
- The wattage allocated for high efficacy lighting must be 50 percent or more of total lighting wattage. (a bad thing)
- Any fixture that can take non-high efficacy lighting devices like incandescent will be counted at the maximum wattage of the fixture. (a bad thing)
- High efficacy lighting is based on the number of lumen per watt (a good thing)
What this means is if you have 200 watts of low efficient lighting, you must have 200 watts of high efficacy lighting which makes no sense at all. In fact it could force you into putting more high efficacy lighting in that you need. In addition to this, the old screw-type Edison base for light bulbs is a standard. There are many more compact florescent bulbs out there designed for this base than for a proprietary pin-type base for recessed lighting. Guess which one is cheaper? In order to “comply” with title 24, you need to use non-standard fixtures.
If they really want to “fix” this, they could just limit the number of watts per square foot and strike out this silliness with standard lighting fixtures.