These are interesting times for those who enforce energy standards across the United States.  Building codes and ordinances are similar to any other laws enforced by the judicial system in that they exist on several levels.There are international building codes, federal and state building codes, and even local building codes and ordinances.  While each set of regulations has similar fundamental characteristics, one can see variance according to a particular region's energy initiatives.  

Energy efficiency initiatives are they driving force behind changes in building codes to become more stringent on energy consumption.  While Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland remain some of the most energy efficient countries, the United States struggles to keep up.  One state that is pushing energy efficient initiatives far more than others is California. The results are proven by a measure of per capita energy consumption. California's per capita energy consumption is 50% less than the average of all other states.  

One large contributing factor to California's energy efficiency achievements is the Title 24, Part 6 of the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. These standards meet and exceed federal Energy Star standards for many categories of building code requirements.  One category that is strongly enforced in terms of energy efficiency is lighting, section 150(k).  
Included in the Lighting section of Title 24, part 6, is several mandatory measures.  To understand much of what the code refers to, on must first know the difference between high efficacy and low efficacy lighting.  Efficacy refers to the proportion of the brightness produced by a luminaire to the power or watts consumed by the luminaire.  This is a very effective and fair way to gauge the consumption of energy by lighting in a given space. 

By evaluating and enforcing regulations on light sources based on efficacy, it is ensured that the quality in light levels and brightness will not suffer due to energy consumption restrictions.

 Efficacy = lumens (brightness) / watts (power)

Typical high efficacy light fixtures approved by the California Energy Commission are LED lights, compact fluorescent lights (CFL's), and metal halide lights. Typical low efficacy lights refer to incandescent and halogen luminaires. Title 24 sets restrictions on the amount of low efficacy lighting used in each room of your home.  In general, the amount of low efficacy lights cannot exceed 50% of the total wattage.  

Some may find it financially difficult to meet these code regulations because LED light bulbs are more expensive by measure of initial cost.  To lower initial costs, consider using high efficacy CFL lights.  There is one other alternative to meeting this code standard, and that is to not replace any of your existing low efficacy light bulbs, and install an occupancy sensor wall switch or ceiling mounted occupancy sensor to automatically control your lights.  

All occupancy sensors and vacancy sensors offered by the Energy Efficient Lighting Supply comply with the standards and are approved by the California Energy Commission. To verify an individual occupancy sensor switch, visit the California Energy Commission Appliance Database, and search the approved lighting control products.  

Whether you live in California or are trying to get ahead of the nationwide energy efficiency standards, the Energy Efficient Lighting Supply has everything you need to consume less energy.  As indicated in Title 24 this can be done in many different combinations of products that will meet your budget. Always keep in mind that initial costs can often be justified by savings in energy costs, so don't be afraid to exceed the standards of your local building code authority and increase your return on investment.

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