Title 24 Exterior Lighting

pearlchowMarch 1, 2007

Under California Title 24 rules, all exterior lighting must be either:

1. High efficacy, meaning fluorescent with electronic ballast, or

2. Controlled by motion sensor + photocell

My question is re option #2.

I found an incand fixture I like, but it doesn't have the motion sensor/photocell. Is there any way I can add the motion sensor/photocell to either the fixture or the switching device to make it Title 24 compliant?

Or must the outdoor light fixture already have a motion sensor/photocell built in when you buy it?

Thanks a ton!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fixture I like, but it's not high efficacy :-(

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pchow, when you find one that works and looks nice, let me know!! (we're still stumped on this one -- I actually want to have the motion sensor/photocell, as opposed to fluorescent, because of the locations of the two outdoor fixtures (front porch and side entrance), but can't find any).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 12:28PM
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Yes you can add a motion sensor and/or a photocell to any lighting circuit, either hard-wired or wireless. Hard-wired sensors can mount to the same box as the light or on a separate box, and are wired in series with the light. You can also get wireless sensors that mount up to 100 feet away, like the one attached.

I prefer remote sensors (i.e., not on the same box as the light) because all too often large bugs are drawn to the light and keep it on unnecessarily by continually tripping the motion sensor. And if you turn down the sensitivity of the sensor so the bugs don't trip it when they are right up against it, then they usually won't detect a human several feet away.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wireless motion detector

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 1:20PM
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Hi dmlove,
I'm still looking, but Hi-lite, the manufacturer of the fixture I like, did respond to an email I sent them. They directed me to another one of their fixtures which can be made using CFL. It apparently is new, because it is not yet on their website. That seems to be the problem. Most of the lighting manufactueres haven't caught up to the new Title 24 reqts. I would think in a couple of years there'll be more choices, but meanwhile for us "early adopters", we're kinda stuck in limbo land.

Remodeler matt,
So if we use the hard-wired sensor, we only need one per circuit, not one for each fixture. It's hard to tell how big some of these sensors are, but I guess I'm not too keen on having an extra box hanging on the exterior wall.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:10PM
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The motion sensors are about the size of the picture I linked to, but the photocell is much smaller -- basically just a little button. I've had luck hiding both up under eaves. If possible, I always place the box in the wall, rather than surface mount, and paint everything you can the same color as the house (or stucco up to it if that is what you have). They practically disappear.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:42PM
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I need to revive this since we live in California and I bought about 10 outdoor incandescent light fixtures to mount on various location on the outside of our house. Would I need a sensor for each light? or can I gang more that one (especially the ones on the same switch)and any suggestions for those near each other but on a different switch. I'm trying to be as cost efficient as I can especially since I bought these fixtures last year and didn't even occur to me the title 24 compliancy (duh!). Can someone please help? TIA!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 2:17PM
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You can use one sensor for all of the fixtures on an individual switch. To put more separately switched groups of fixtures on a single sensor would require a lighting control system of some kind.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 9:59PM
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dim4fun, Thanks for the info. I'll get one per switch (as opposed to one per fixture). So, I went over to Lowes and have no idea what I'm looking for. Can you recommend a type at either Lowes or Home Depot? There were dusk to dawn sensors running about $6-10. I heard I can't use those with fluorescent bulbs, though. Is that correct? Then I saw a product for $20 that said it was a motion sensor. Not sure what the difference was. I couldn't spend anymore time looking at them, because the store was about to close! Basically, I would like some that would just turn on as you get near and have a timer that will turn it off (these would be for the lights at entries and our breezeway. And I'd also like a sensor for a deck area. Ideally, I would like these to stay on longer or not go off when we have people on the deck. Would these sensors detect this? I'd hate for the lights to go off while people are just relaxing, then they'd have to wave their arms around just to turn them back on. I guess I'm wondering how sensitive these detectors are or are there special products for this? It's not necessarily a safety/security thing as much as a energy efficient thing for the deck (though it is require per title 24).

TIA, again!


    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 2:46AM
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Okay, so I went back to Lowes and the $20 ones I saw were replacement photocells. We did see some that appeared to be retrofit (ie: use with non-sensor lights), but they were battery powered. Are there any that are hardwired yet not too intrusive? We need them by Wed. for the elctricians. Yikes!



    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 7:12PM
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I was just told by our electrician that retrofitting sensors on non sensor out door lights is not allowed anymore. Which really sucks since I LOVE the lights I already bought (really bummed!). Now I need to find some nice looking sensored deck and over the door lights. any suggestions on where to shop for these? We're in SF area, but may be online if I rush ship them.



    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:09PM
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Oh, and I'm looking for craftsman style. If you've seen any online, please let me know. I haven't had much luck so far. The electrician also said that even if they're fluorescent, they still need to be on sensors. Ugh! I'm all for saving energy, but it sure is compromising my design taste!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:43PM
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Hi Chris,

I believe your electrician is wrong concerning fluorescent + sensor.

If you take a look at the Title 24 requirements, it states that outdoor lighting needs to be "high efficacy OR controlled by motion sensor + photocontrol". Fluorescent lighting counts as high efficacy lighting. Therefore, if your outdoor light fixtures use the pin type fluorescent bulbs (ie, not the screw in type that can be changed out to incandescent at a later date), you do not need a motion sensor.

I also question your electrician's statement that retrofitting sensors is not allowed. Does anyone else have any definitive info on that? You could check with your local building dept. or email the UC Davis group (see below) with the question.

Here's a link to a great guide to understanding Title 24 requirements for every room/area in your house published by UC Davis.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Davis Residential Lighting Design Guide

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 3:52PM
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If you're still up for using your already purchased incandescent fixtures, I would go to a good specialty lighting shop and get some help from them on choosing the right motion sensor and photocontrol unit. Look in your Yellow Pages. Around where we live (also in the SF Bay Area) there's Stanford Lighting, Galaxy Lighting. It might cost a little more, but you'll likely end up with the right stuff, plus you'll save money by not having to buy new light fixtures. They might even know the answer to whether you can retrofit sensors on non sensor outdoor lights.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 4:01PM
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pchow- thanks for your input. I have a feeling it might be a SF building code, because the electricians do a lot of work in SF. It would be great to retrofit these fixtures though. Do you live if SF? Did you end up retro fitting your exterior lights? My DH is convinced we can't do it. I'd like to look into, but we have to make a decision pretty quickly. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:11PM
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Hi Pchow, dm (long time...)

For anyone interested in converting an incandescent light socket to CFL without the expense of re-wiring or having to use OC's or photocells, here's something we're doing up north to meet our own T24-like regs. It's called the socket lock-it, which permanently changes your screw-based socket to a bi-pin. While technically it can be removed it's not designed to, and we've not had problems passing inspections.

You might ask your "guys" if they know if those will work. It would really save on wiring costs and trying to find the appropriate photocell.

Based on this link, it looks like it does meet T24 but I'm not sure.


I'll post a retail link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Socket Lock-It

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 12:30AM
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UGH! Another "surprise" T24 requirement that I didn't know about. And yes, I've also just ordered a number of sconces for the exterior that I really like.

I'm seriously interested in the Socket Lock-It thing though. If we could pass with those, that would be fantastic. We're already committed to CFLs everywhere, it's just the fixture I'm hoping to keep.

Thanks for the info though, I love this place!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 8:07PM
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I came across these Energy Star Outdoor Lights most use compact fluorescent.
Here's some motion detector outdoor light options as well.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 9:10AM
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Just wondering if anyone has had their incandescent fixtures passed inspection by using the Socket Lockit conversions, as suggested by catluvr? I haven't seen one in person, so I'm speaking just based on looking at the link posted.

I don't see why they would allow this, if they don't allow incandescent fixtures with screw in CFL's. Seems they would still reject it based on the 100 watt rating of the incandescent fixture. No?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 3:08PM
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One option is to buy the cheapest motion detector lights you can find, plenty under $20. Then replace them with whatever you want after your final.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 10:45PM
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Hi CA Dwellers,
I have flood light where it is photocell controlled
but it has a screw base (MOGUL) but it is a flourescent bulb. It does not occur to me you could put an incandescent bulb into the light fixture.

You might have seen these at HD or ccstco. Do these count as high effeciency?

Hopefully more products will be compliant and make these choices less painful.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 2:50AM
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My local inspector will allow the Sockit Lockit and even recommends it to other homeowners who have a Title 24 problem. This will probably continue until his boss finds out... ;-)

What constitutes Title 24 compliance seems to be unclear. If a fixture complies with EnergyStar V3 it will meet Title 24 requirements. This applies to all fixtures manufactured and labeled after Oct 2005, so Inspectors will generally accept any fixture with an EnergyStar label or stamp.

Since Title 24 allows a photocell/motion detector, Inspectors should allow any fixture connected to a separate detector or even if one is somehow integrated into the fixture. But there will be no EnergyStar label to find.

The Sockit Lockit meets the intent of Title 24 since it is not removable (at least without some work with a Dremel tool) but again, there will be no EnergyStar label to find. From a practical matter, Inspectors will just look for a GU24 socket and call it good enough if they find one.

The company TCP makes GU24 sockets in many different mounting configurations. If you are so inclined you should be able to retrofit your fixture with one of these sockets.

Lastly, light fixture manufacturers such as 'Old California Lantern' can provide their fixtures with either the screw in Edison base or a GU24 base.

Here is a link that might be useful: GU24 Socket Source

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 2:17PM
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how does the lock it fixture get by the motion detector portion of the exception?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:26PM
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My lighting designer looked into these adapters and found out they DO NOT meet Title 24 in California:

From section 6 of T24:

NO âÂÂPermanentâ Adaptors
The Standards do not recognize any adaptor as being able to permanently
converting one type of luminaire to another type for compliance with the
Standards. For example, there are no âÂÂpermanentâ adaptors for converting a
luminaire with incandescent screw-base socket to a permanently installed
compact fluorescent luminaire, regardless of manufacturer declarations.
Figure 6-6 �" A medium screw base to GU-24 socket adaptor is not recognized as high efficacy by
Title 24.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 4:01PM
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