I recently talked to Mike Case, Lighting Controls Specialist of Total Lighting Concepts, about the 2016 changes to Title 24.
“It used to be in offices that had occupancy sensors, they had to turn on at half [power] or less. In 2013, the only requirement was it had to turn fully off.”
The switch to Partial-ON occupancy sensors is projected to save Californians even more on energy costs (check out a handy cheat sheet on occupancy sensors here).
The difference between 2008 and 2016? Enforcement.
“The enforcement is going up so the people who used to say, ‘That costs too much.’ Now they can’t do that.” According to Case, although the Partial-ON requirement was in place in the 2008 version of Title 24, it was rarely enforced and therefore rarely implemented. Compliance testing has since become much more comprehensively enforced, eliminating the possibility of skirting standards.
Although lighting controls come down to “just programming mostly,” the technology to implement the new energy code is overall more expensive than in years past.
For one thing, controls require calibration in order to meet requirements:
“The typical contractor can’t calibrate them—the typical guys that used to go in and hang lights, run wires, and [install] switches. It almost always takes a factory guy to come in and calibrate them.”
Given the changes to Title 24, Case has one simple piece of advice for builders and contractors: “Pay attention.”
Although they may balk at the higher cost, lighting controls that meet code standards are no longer optional.
“It needs to go up the line to the people who are writing the check. It’s just going to be a bigger check. Lighting controls used to be 3-5% of the job, now it’s 10-15% of the job. They need to know that going in as opposed to finding out at the end.”
Those who take the time to educate themselves beforehand will end up saving money in the long run.
And those who don’t—well, they learn the hard way after the project doesn’t pass compliance testing.
“It’s never going to be the same as it was before,” says Case.
Go here for more info on Title 24 basics.
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