getting a handle on CA Title 24
In wrestling with the lighting plan in my upcoming kitchen remodel/addition, I am finding some vexing problems. My intent is to have a 2 tiered system, fluorescent for general lighting to be used most of the time, but with dimmable incandescents for entertaining or just when more flattering lighting is desired. I am comfortable with my solution of the fluorescent part of the equation, a combination of up lighting bouncing off the ceiling, cans, under cabinet lights, and a surface fixture.
Wattage restrictions are creating problems within the incandescent part of the equation. For those unfamiliar with Title 24, 50% of the wattage must be fluorescent. That does not leave much for incandescent lighting when the kitchen will probably be lit with about 125 watts of fluorescent. What I am looking for is if anyone has had any experience with such alternatives as MR16 led bulbs as a plug and play solution. The best, $20 to $40 per bulb claim 75 to 150 lumens drawing 3-5 watts. It does not sound like that will be sufficient, maybe in a few years the technology will improve.
More intriguingly, I have run across small recessed xenon fixtures primarily used for interior usage in marine applications. These are 10-20 watts and require a remote 12v transformer and are dimmable. From my experience with flashlights, xenon bulbs run cooler and put out more light than halogens. There are also recessed led fixtures, but they seem to be similar to the MR16 substitutes, not enough light. Of course wiring up any of these ideas and conforming to the ic and airtight requirements is another bridge to be crossed as is getting the correct color temperature.
Anybody with any ideas in this area before I buy a few fixtures and lamps to run some tests? Because I will have attic access, maybe it's easiest is to retrofit MR16 housings after a final is obtained, but I would like to stay within the spirit of the law. I am a GC and have done quite a few kitchens.
Some side notes. The $100 cost of ic rated airtight low voltage housing is irritating, but there may be a Chinese made $20 solution. These Title 24 regulations require that any fixture must be fluorescent only. Thus the mandated technology precludes the use of cfl bulbs, which is evolving into part of the real energy efficient solution. Anybody ever use dimmable cfl bulbs? I have seen them for $10 to $20.