5 Ways to Thrive in the Title 24 Lighting World

September 28, 2015
Enlighted Inc.

1. Think holistically

The recent changes to Title 24 require lighting professionals to think about both building-wide lighting control integration and also individual micro-zone control.

A commercial building is the sum of its individual space profiles. Each space profile, for example a single meeting room, has different lighting needs at different times – each relative to the nature of the work that occurs in the space at a specific time of day.

Title 24 now requires, for example, that every luminaire in a non-residential space support multi-level lighting controls for dimming. This micro zone control might seem like a costly headache on the surface, but dimming controls are becoming cheaper in the market and networked control systems make designing lighting profiles for microzones fast and easy.

This holistic aspect of the new Title 24 changes solves a core energy management issue in commercial buildings – how to ensure that occupants of a space have the right lighting at the right time for the lowest possible cost.

2. Stay focused on customer value

Whether your customer is a building owner, a contractor, a facilities manager, or someone else, staying focused on customer value can make the transition to Title 24 lighting easier.

Prior to the latest additions to Title 24 and the new technologies that make compliance possible, there were blunt instruments for reducing a commercial building’s electricity costs. These included macro-control systems that configured entire floors and buildings to singular lighting control profiles, and difficult-to-measure demand-based programs where occupants were asked to turn the lights off when they leave a space.

Commercial buildings currently consume about 20% of all electricity in the United States, which costs American companies a collective $180 billion. For many building owners, businesses, and facility managers, any material reduction in these energy-related operating costs that come with a reasonable payback on investment are welcome.

3. Understand that Title 24 compliance creates better lighting experiences

Building occupants are less focused on the cost dimension of lighting, but value a comfortable, editable work environment and the positive effect this has on their productivity and well-being.

Automated micro zone control is a natural evolution from building lighting policies of decades past, which tended to oscillate between “keep all the lights dim to save cost” policies to “keep all the lights on to improve productivity” policies. Neither of these considered the comfort and well-being of building occupants.

A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design indicated that 68 percent of employees complain about the lighting situation in their offices. The most common complaint was that lighting is either too dim, or too harsh. Title 24 is an antidote to these issues, requiring both automated and manual control to individual space profiles.

4. Embrace change

Title 24 creates complexity for lighting professionals in the short-term, but it also positions California as a global leader in energy efficient lighting.

“The energy transformation is similar to if the telegraph evolved into the smartphone in less than a decade.” – President Obama

By embracing rather than resisting forward-thinking regulatory and technological changes, a new motivation for implementation becomes possible – along with opportunities for new business development, cost-savings, national industry leadership, and competitive advantage.

5. Look beyond lighting for building optimization opportunities

For a variety of space types and purposes, the new regulatory landscape expands what is possible in commercial spaces.

It creates opportunities to pivot from lighting optimization to space optimization more broadly — because the technological changes required to optimize buildings for lighting open up opportunities for other types of building optimization.

What this means depends on the specific type of space. It might include occupancy-based HVAC controls, or optimized space utilization and planning.

It might just mean including other plug-based devices like printers, photocopiers, and computers into the control automation that Title 24 requires.

Title 24 now forces us to think about commercial buildings differently – to prioritize a more detailed definition of building efficiency, to adopt new technologies quickly, and to consider the needs of a wider set of stakeholders.

This will take some adjustment at first, but in the long-run, it’s an enormous opportunity.

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