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getting a handle on CA Title 24

Posted by zinnah (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 25, 07 at 19:08

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.
Zinnah


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

"the fluorescent part of the equation, a combination of up lighting bouncing off the ceiling, cans, under cabinet lights, and a surface fixture"

Help me out: if you're doing all of that in fluorescent, what's left to do with incandescents? Some pendants somewhere, perhaps?

From what little I've read, LEDs are pretty sketchy candidates for T-24 "high efficacy" lighting. They aren't necessarily efficient enough to meet the guidlines, and their manufacturers seem to publicize surprisingly little statistical information about their light output. Furthermore, the wattage tally is based on the capacity of the fixture, not the bulbs you happen to have installed in them. If the fixture will accept a 50 -watt halogen MR16, it counts as 50 watts of incandescent even if you have a five watt bulb in it.

Anyhow, a 75-150 lumen lamp mounted on the ceiling would be pretty much worthless in terms of actually illuminating anything... which you seem to already suspect.

With the xenons, I'm again wondering how you're thinking of using these little fixtures. Xenon is slightly cooler/more efficient than halogen, but not much; they certainly won't be a silver bullet.

I'm not clear on your goals, but if what you mean is that you'd like to have two redundant lighting systems, one fluorescent and one incandescent, each able to light up the room, I think you can pretty much forget about doing it legally.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Yes, I intend to have 2 systems, I have done it before and it is very effective, just turn off the fluorescents and use the second system when a more flattering and dimmable light is desired. With the second system not looking to create as much light as the general fluorescent system. We entertain a lot and having a brightly lit kitchen is not desirable at times. You have hit on the basic problem with MR16 cans, as they are rated at max wattage, not the wattage we will probably use, 20 watts. That is why xenons are interesting as they max out, from reading, at 20 watts. I have not seen them. Probably just order a couple and report back.
Not looking for second system to be high efficacy, just give me low enough total wattage to be able to install enough cans and pendants to give me the light I want. If none of these ideas pan out, probably just bootleg in cans later. Thanks for responding, you seem to know your stuff.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

For California kitchens this will be a solution that many turn to. Both Juno and Halo have 26 watt compact fluorescent 5" recessed housings that accept 2700K triple tube 4 pin compact fluorescent lamps. The fixtures can be ordered with dimming option or you can retrofit the ballasts. Lutron's HiLume ballast goes down to 1% and the TuWire goes down to 5%. TuWire is a bit cheaper. Clients have found this to be acceptacle in a haze or wheat haze trim which allows nice lamp position with less glare.

It is very difficult to comply with the code in any other way besides cheating as you've found. One has to overdo the fluorescent to get the desired amount of incandescent.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

We doubled up on all of our over-cabinet fluorescent lighting in order to make the equation work - 6 5" CFL cans, lots of overcabinet fluorescent, undercabinet fluorescent, 2 50-watt halogens over one prep area, a large incandescent pendant with a max of 240 watts over the island. The halogens and the pendant are dimmable.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

I am amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge about this subject. Can someone in this brain trust help me figure out how many watts we need in each bulb, and the right size housing for the recessed lights we plan to install. Dim4fun, why would you recommend 2700K triple tube 4 pin compact fluorescent lamps. What does that mean? When you say retrofit the ballasts, what are you referring to. What do you mean when you say the ballast goes down to 1%.

And, dmlove, why did you double up on your over and undercabinet lights? Why would you need so many lights?

Anyway, we are remodeling a 12' by 16' kitchen. I put the floor plan in photobucket, http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u300/emmaskia/

Our goal is to come up with a plan that conserves as much electricity as possible without risking running into walls as the aging process progresses. I also like to have a party once in a while so I understand Zinnah's concern about brightness. Any help from you lighting aficionados, much appreciated.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

emmaskia, are you in California or are you just interested in efficiency?

The color of light given off by different sorts of bulbs is measured in degrees kelvin. The lower the number, the more the light leans towards the red/orange/yellow end of the spectrum; the higher the number, the more it leans towards the blues. 2700K is a warm color of light, similar to incandescents you're probably used to.

The 1% and 5% that dim4fun mentioned was the degree to which it's possible to dim fluorescent lights that use those particular ballasts.

Title 24 requires half of the lighting wattage in a kitchen to be fluorescent. Dmlove installed extra fluorescent lights (which she didn't really need) in order to make it legal to install some incandescent lights that she did want. The law sets up a bit of a perverse incentive.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

I am in california, LA to be exact, Mar Vista to be more exact. Jon, did I read in one of the postings that you are in Ohio?

I am very much interested in energy efficiency and bound by Title 24, both. I have not yet figured out how to scan the lighting plan I did so I for the moment I will tell you that I put in 8 recessed lights; one to the left of the range top, one to the right of the range top. Two recessed lights on the sink wall, one to the left of the sink, one to the right of the sink, and another in front of the sink. Ialso put one just ot the left of the island, to the right of the island and one a bit in front of the entry to the living room, (at the top of the drawing just to the right of the oven tower). I mentioned the pendants and the cabinet lights.

Sorry form the clumsiness of this. I will set about the scanning process right after I send this. Anyway, input is greatly appreciated.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Retrofit means that you can buy and install a dimmable ballast on a fluorescent fixture that you already have.

4 pin lamps: Title 24 requires electronic ballasts. It is easy to tell that you are complying by the number of pins that make up the electrical connection on the compact fluroescent lamp. Two pin is for magnetic ballast, four pin is for electronic ballast.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

I am in california, LA to be exact, Mar Vista to be more exact. Jon, did I read in one of the postings that you are in Ohio?

I am very much interested in energy efficiency and bound by Title 24, both. I have not yet figured out how to scan the lighting plan I did so I for the moment I will tell you that I put in 8 recessed lights; one to the left of the range top, one to the right of the range top. Two recessed lights on the sink wall, one to the left of the sink, one to the right of the sink, and another in front of the sink. Ialso put one just ot the left of the island, to the right of the island and one a bit in front of the entry to the living room, (at the top of the drawing just to the right of the oven tower). I mentioned the pendants and the cabinet lights.

Sorry form the clumsiness of this. I will set about the scanning process right after I send this. Anyway, input is greatly appreciated.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Emmaskia, all those recessed lights you put in - are they compact fluorescent recessed lights, or are they incandescent recessed lights?

In answer to your question (and jon partially answered it, absolutely correctly), I knew that I wanted a couple of halogen lights (which are incandescent) over my primary prep surface, and also wanted a hanging incandescent fixture over my island. The total wattage of the halogen fixtures (they count the maximum you can use, not what you actually use) is 100 (50 watts times 2 fixtures) and the total wattage of the island fixture is 240 (4 60-watt bulbs), for a total incandescent wattage in the kitchen (which by the way is a very similar size to your's -- about 13 x 17, and open to the family room) of 340 watts. So, to make it work for Title 24, I also needed 340 watts of fluorescent lighting. To get that, I used 6 5-in. recessed compact fluorescent lights (26 watts each, for a total of 156 watts), undercabinet lighting for a total of about 70 watts (I think each 24" tube is 18 watts), and made up the difference with over-cabinet lighting.

If your recessed lighting is incandescent, you have an "issue". If your recessed lighting is compact fluorescent - the 4-pin type that dim4fun refers to, you're fine.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Yup, I'm in Ohio.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

dmlove....The lights in the ceiling will be dimmable compact fluorescent.

Why halogen lights over your primary prep surface and island? Is it for reasons of safety? aesthetics? Would it be impossible to achieve the certain lighting quality you were after with fluorescents? Do you think there is anything on the market that comes close?

Do you mind if I ask you the size of your island, and why you decided to use one fixture instead of two, how you determined the wattage (correct usage?) you needed in that space.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

emmaskia, we used halogen for the prep surface because we like the very directed light (these are 4" recessed halogen lights) and the quality of light as well. Also, they're in a light bridge that goes across the front of the window, so they're only 4' above the work surface.

For the island, which is slightly less than 5' long x 4' wide, we wanted to use halogen(for the same reasons as above), but could never find hanging fixtures that weren't too modern for our kitchen. We ended up with one inverted 18" pendant that uses regular incandescent bulbs. The light is okay, but nothing like the halogens.

I think jon can probably help with the lumens you need. As I said 100 watts of halogen is plenty for the one work surface where the lights are only 4' above the surface. 240 watts of incandescent in an inverted fixture with semi-opaque cover is not that great for the island (better than when we had nothing). So it depends on the type of light, height of fixture, type of fixture, etc.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

dmlove: Have you actually installed your new kitchen yet, and if so, are you happy with the lighting?

I scanned my floor plan with the lights drawn in.
http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u300/emmaskia/

I added a few more cans after reading some of the messages here. Hey Jon, are you there? Perhaps you are burned out (heh! heh!) If I give my contractor a plan this rough, he will choose fluorescent cans (as I specified) and position them as he sees fit. Rightly or wrongly, I am feeling a little worried about not having paid a lighting designer. Perhaps the energy efficiency category has a fluorescence expert hanging around. Anyhow, if Jon from Ohio or anyone else has any thoughts on my plan, I'd be grateful to hear them.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Emmaskia, my kitchen is done, and I'm pretty happy with the lighting. I don't mind fluorescent lights at all (never have) so it wasn't hard to use them. I love the halogens on the work surface. I like my island pendant (but more for looks than for function). Both the halogen lights and the island fixture dim, none of the fluorescents dim (that's okay, because I like the uplighting (over-cabinet) and the undercabinet I only use for very specific task lighting. If I want "ambiance" I just use the incandescents and dim them. But honestly, in the kitchen, for me, it's generally more light the better.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

emmaskia, I'm out of my comfort zone dealing with fluorescents, even though I have a general grasp of Title 24.

Some things I know about fluorescents:

Fluorescent cans don't behave like incandescent cans; the light spreads out more, so it's feasible to space cans further apart than you would if you were using incandescent bulbs, so long as they're an appropriate wattage.

Because fluorescent light is so diffuse, it's not as good at putting concentrated light on a distant surface, such as lighting a countertop with a ceiling-mounted can. You will want good UC lights, especially if you have high ceilings.

Not all of the light generated by the bulb will make it out of the fixture, so a 1000-lumen fluorescent can is unlikely to give you as much light as a standard can with a 1000-lumen incandescent reflector bulb.

The light output of fluorescent bulbs decreases over time, so it's best to design such that you have more light than you need when the bulbs are new, so that you have enough light when the bulbs are older but not ready for replacement.

My guess is, for a room that size, 8 cans are probably plenty if they are of the 27 watt variety.



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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

ALL: First thanks for such great information. I have been researching lighting for a couple of months and this site has the best info I have found.
I am in San Francisco, CA and have also come to the conclusion that I have to over-do FL lights to get more than two Halogen under counter lights and meet code. My problem is finding 4in FL recessed (either remodel or new construction) as I thought 6in cans would be too big for a little 10x12 kitchen. I also had no idea what wattage was appropriate (this forum helped me decide on 13 watt instead of the 26 watts cans). I have been in almost every lighting specialty store in S.F. side of the bay area but title 24 lighting is very hard to find and almost always special order. The only 4in cans I found were at Home Depot and at about 1/4 the price of others, but they were non-IC rated. I settled on a couple of these to test light output and my attic is uninsulated. 13 watts is more light than I expected. I also replaced the old main ceiling light with a cheap 13+26 watt fixture to test and that light blasts me out of the room if I am just waking up but it is good for doing detailed electrical work when I'm more charged up(it's as bright as 2 x 60 watt incandescents). I also found that to make or get coffee in the morning, two 13 watt cans are good and one 13 watt is fine for raiding the fridge at night.
I now plan on splitting my lighting w/ 4 switches which is overkill but the only cost effective way I know to control FL light amount. My plan now is to have about 5-6 cans total for task/general lighting, possibly with 26 watt bulbs over the sink and then possibly remove the main ceiling light. I will add under counter light also for both task and mood (so must be dimmable). No room over counter tops for ambiance or to pad the Title 24 equation. I am really paying attention to your advice on lighting over the sink and range. I don't have enough ceiling space left to light both to the left and right of the task spaces as you all recommend. I may have to settle for single cans above stove, corner cabinet and sink but am worried about shadows. I will continue to check for your advice.
Another lesson from my "test" light is today my inspector flunked my lights because they are not air tight, even though my attic is not insulated. He said S.F. requires air tight, IC rated in all top floor locations even if not insulation which is more stringent than the Title 24 standard. I am sharing this inspector's requirement because I have not seen this interpretation of Title 24 anywhere online.
I had intended to replace these lights anyway as the quality is so poor. They are made by Commercial Electric and were about $30 at Home Depot. I am now looking at Juno brand airtight in both 13 and 26 watt (but only come in 5in+ and 6in cans) at $99 for can only and another $30+ for lens/trim. If anybody has experience with Juno or has any other light source recommendations I sure would appreciate it.
My apologies that I got so long winded here. Maybe my flunked inspection is bothering me more than I thought. My kitchen is gutted and I still have plumbing and structural inspections to pass before I can drywall (there were no plumbing or structure changes but permits required anyway). I am gaining respect for contractors!
Again thanks for such a great forum trust of folks.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Hi stumpg. I'm in the bayarea too and is currently remodeling my kitchen. It is getting close. I found the Nora lighting has 6", 5" and 4" title 24 compliant recess cans. I picked 5" because they can take the 4 pin 26W compact fluorescent lamps and not as large as 6". My kitchen is open design and the kitchen area is about 14'x15' and I put 12 total in sets of 4 so that I don't need to turn them all on at the same time. This is more then enough for me to put 3 60W mini pandants to satify the title24 requirement. Yes the celiing looks a little busy but it is OK. BTW, I bought my Nora cans in Ace hardware supply that is near Bayshore for about $32 each can.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Hi Shark,
Thanks a lot for your light info. I had not thought of checking with Ace. Also the air tight requirement even if the attic is uninsulated may be only a San Francisco interpretation. Good to know that the 26 watt bulbs are not too bright. I was leaning toward the 13 watt bulbs but they are harder to find.
Again thanks, Jim


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

I see all the different bulbs (26W 4 pin, 13W 2 pin, etc) that can be found in Lowes. Their prices is OK. I just saw the receit and the store's name is actually American Ace Hardware. They are not a show room, just a building supply store but the prices are OK.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Shark;
Thanks again. I'll check American Ace when I'm near Bayshore to try and finalize a laminate floor choice. Too bad these new 4 pin lights won't let us swap change wattage of light bulbs. Apparently the new ballasts are sized for a specific wattage bulb.
Passed plumbing inspection yesterday (only minor changes) so now trying to arrange with the building inspector to get permission to start closing up the walls. Cabinets are due in this week and I'm not ready!
Good luck on your project.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

This has been a very informative read as I am remodeling my kitchen in CA central valley. One question I do have is about the lighting that comes with appliances and does that lighting in the appliances fall under Title 24. For instance my gas cooktop hood will have Halogen lights and my double ovens will also have halogen lights. Will those lights fall under Title 24 and have to be accounted for when figuring out the rest of my kitchen lighting wattage? Is Title 24 a federal law or is it California law?


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Monypit, the lights in your hood and oven do not count.


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RE: See page 12

monypit, have you seen this guide? See page 12 for the answer regarding appliances.

Here is a link that might be useful: Title 24 Guide


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

No I didn't, thanks for posting the link.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Thanks for posting that great link, dmlove! I'm just starting to try to figure out what kind of lighting to have in our Bay Area kitchen remodel. That's a great help!

(BTW the link itself didn't work for me, but I was able to find it from there. I'm posting a revised link in case anyone else has the same problem).

Here is a link that might be useful: Title 24 Lighting Design Guide


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Wow its nice to see you have so much freedom of choice out there in the peoples republic of California! Whats next they gonna tell you what toilet paper you have to use and where you can smoke a legal cigarrette... Oh wait they already did that. It appears the law does what most overstepping idiotic laws do they force you to put in more of what you dont need to get more of what you tax paying, so called free Americans want. Might consider the LR6 LED lights and other LED options as many have suggested in other posts. Assuming thats legal out there. Maybe they could get some liberal activist judge to overturn it like the gay marriage laws. Sorry for the rant, Just blows me away how they use idiotic laws to force their views on the world without thought to how it affects the real worlds pocket book and freedom of choice and unintended consequences ( can you say $5 / Gas). Instead give people incentives and freedom of choice It works every time.

Our forefathers would roll over in their graves!


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

BigKahuna,

I hear you! But what do you do about the mindset that so many have these days that the proper role of government is force everybody else to do what they feel is "the right thing"?

It appears that the high school civics classes no longer teach that the "just powers of government" spoken of in the Declaration of Independence are those required to best preserve our unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Rather, they teach "democracy"--the tyranny of the majority. (As one wag put it, "democracy" is two wolves and a sheep deciding on what's for dinner.)

Lost is the idea of "Liberty" that our country was founded on--freedom from unjust or undue governmental control. To wit, "a. The condition of being free from restriction or control. b. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing."

What can you do?


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Hi.. those of you who have remodelled. I am in this dilemma too for the kitchen. I don't have a problem using CFL recessed lights. But it doesn't balance out with the halogen (10W per bulb) undercabinet lights that I wanted to use.

But I question the word "Permanently installed"
From UC Davis guide Page 12:

"Permanently installed lighting fixtures include, but are
not limited to, those lighting fixtures installed in, on, or hanging from the ceilings or walls. Lighting that is part of an appliance is not regulated by the code."

My undercabinet lights plug into the wall and have a switch on the cord, it is in theory NOT permanent, as it can be easily configured to reduce number of strips. Nor is it hanging from ceiling or walls, it is mounted under cabinets.

But again what is "not limited to"? Technically you can plug in a bunch of low effeciency filament-bulbed desk lamps and it does not matter because they are not permanent.

does anyone know?
Thanks


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

FWIW, we used the GE fluorescent undercab lights that HD sells. They're the ones that are labeled "thinnest" and "linkable." They're instant on, don't buzz/flicker at all, and they have very neutral color to the light.

That and they're very reasonable price-wise.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

The thing about title 24 is that it's all about energy conservation, not fire and safety.

So, here's what California is missing. Make it an incentive program (and lets not get overboard with quoting the constitution for kitchen lighting, please).

Comply with Title 24, and get a $3,000 state tax rebate. That would do two things: achieve energy goals while keeping the cost of the redux down. I bet most people who like to whine about "freedom" would likely shut up and take the $3,000. And if they don't want to comply, then they could keep their incandescent lights and pay a $50 yearly energy consumption tax.

Let's face it - California is facing a huge energy problem not far in the future. But the CA govt. should make compliance something we WANT to do, not something we MUST do.

simple.....


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

We are facing the same decisions on our reno in Lake Tahoe. I have lighting plans done, but my KD and contractor don't see eye to eye and right now I'm feeling pretty blurry eyed.

Thanks dmlove for your contribution! I love your idea of overworking the Fluorescents on the overhead cabinets. I have a lot of those to work with, so you think T5HO would be the best solution for this? (For T24 only, we'll never use them)

My husband and I live on mood lighting even when we aren't entertaining. Evenings we cook together and our kitchen lighting consists of candles on our island (2 glasses with a good Brunello or Bordeaux), 2 medium-lit task lights and a low-lit chandelier in our adjoining dining room. For us, bright lights are for surgery and cleaning.

I'm also taking a look at your suggestion of the Juno 13 watt bulb airtight cans to dim and Lutron Hi Lume that dim down to 1%. We are searching for warm ambient lighting with dimmers......so any other suggestions are welcome!

Under island and undercabinet lighting needs to be decided as well



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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

To achieve the mood setting scene you've described you'll need to avoid having fluorescent as the source for the light you want to actually use. You'll want everything to be able to dim way down and probably also want the warm color you get when dimming incandescent. Even with HiLume at 1% this won't give you that look. It is neither low enough or the right color. T5HO is 108 watts per 4' section using two lamp fixtures and is best for overdoing fluorescent on top of cabinets. A lot of people are putting up temporary fixtures for inspection at fixture boxes intended for decorative pendants or chandeliers. It's an industry wide joke that Title 24 has created a rental business for fluorescent fixtures. Many electricians move them from job to job.

Many people will not accept what is now available in high efficiency fixtures to light their new kitchen. Eventually technology will catch up and give us better dimming and color rendering.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

Thank you dim4fun and yes, I've already got the Title 24 joke, unfortunately, I don't have time to wait for the matrix technology of low energy warm ambient lighting, so I play the game for the moment.

Very good advice. I'm fervently annotating all of this in my "Lighting" file and researching my best strategy.


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RE: getting a handle on CA Title 24

The more I research, the more I realize that the U.S. has followed Australia and Europe in banning incandescent lighting manufacture. Maybe I've been trying to put my head in the sand, hoping it won't happen, since I hate fluorescent lighting, but Title 24 is only preparing us.

Looks like we'll all need to put in new low-energy fixtures in about 5 years (or less) unless we start stocking up on those cases of Incandescent lights right now!

Here is a link that might be useful: No more Incandescent Light Mfg in U.S. after 2014


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