Outdoor Lighting Controls & Title 24

A New Era in Outdoor Lighting Controls

Outdoor lighting controls are in the midst of a huge technology transformation which has been prompted by a slew of new installation standards which are forcing the manufactures into a mini arms race and  simultaneously challenging the electrical contractors to keep up with a new era of electrical technology.

Historically, outdoor lighting control has always been rather typical. Essentially it featured one form of automatic shutoff controls, either a time clock or photo-sensor was generally used. Title 24 and the CEC 2013 Standards have imposed more stringent requirements creating a more complex and controllable lighting system. The recent advancements in the technologies of LED lighting have allowed for the design of outdoor lighting control systems to be aesthetically pleasing, functional, and sophisticated.


Title 24 2008 required photo-control devices for all outdoor lighting. In addition to photo-controls, the 2013 standards require automatic scheduling controls; astronomical time switch controls that automatically turn lights off during daylight hours are allowed as an alternative to photo-control devices. Section 130.2(c) addresses these requirements.

Luminaires mounted 24 feet or less above the ground not only require photo-controls and automatic scheduling but, Section 130.2(c) also requires occupant-sensing controls for certain outdoor lighting applications. No more than 1,500 W of lighting power may be controlled together for outdoor lighting of this type.


The 2013 code adds occupant-sensing controls to the require-ments for outdoor sales lighting for frontage areas, lots and canopies. Lighting controls in these areas must meet the re-quirements that apply to all outdoor lighting, and they must automatically:

  • Reduce lighting power by at least 40%, but not more than 80%, during vacant periods.
  • Switch to the higher lighting level when the space becomes occupied.


Like outdoor sales areas, these areas must have lighting controls that reduce energy use during unoccupied peri-ods and automatically increase light levels when the space becomes occupied. One or both of the following control strategies is allowed:

  • Motion sensors capable of automatically reducing lighting power by at least 40%, but not more than 80%, during vacant periods.
  • A centralized time-based zone lighting control capable of automatically reducing lighting power by at least 50%.

Keeping up with the requirements can be a daunting task and not utilizing the correct controls in the proper applications can cause unnecessary expense and/or additional re-work to bring the installation up to code.


Title 24 now requires that a commissioning report be completed and provided to each building owner. This includes reports on all functional performance tests completed as part of the acceptance test process. This also provides electrical professionals the opportunity to have their system reviewed prior to installation or delivery to the customer to ensure a top notch product.

By referencing CalEnergy Electrical Corporations “Quick Guide To Title 24 Compliance” and the spread of product choices by todays top lighting controls manufactures such as IntermaticPhillips, and Cimcon . Electrical Professionals installing outdoor lighting systems can provide the best value to their client through a system that is energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, intelligent and successful!.