Feb 2, 2022

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Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations (Title 24) is designed to reduce wasteful and unnecessary energy consumption in newly constructed and existing buildings. The regulations applying to new lighting equipment set minimum benchmarks for efficiency and compatibility with the grid infrastructure.

In addition to the lighting fixture itself, the LED driver substantially affects whether a lighting fixture is Title 24 compliant. Begging the question—what are the important factors to consider when selecting a driver for an LED fixture that must comply with Title 24?

Title 24 Rules Impacting LED Driver Selection

A compliant lighting fixture must meet a set of minimum specifications described in the detailed Title 24 regulations. Here are five Title 24 specifications for compliant lighting fixtures of which a fixture’s LED driver partially or entirely affects its compliance.

  1. Efficiency: The LED or light engine and the driver combination determines a fixture’s system-level efficiency
  2. Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): Distortion is a by-product of the high frequency switching operation of a driver’s power conversion circuit
  3. Power Factor: The ratio of actual power to ‘apparent’ power. A power factor correction (PFC) circuit in high-quality LED drivers maintains a high-power factor—reducing energy wastage and limiting disturbance on the main power circuit
  4. Flicker: Visible and some non-visible flicker in LED lighting is associated with uncomfortable or harmful effects on the user. This includes headaches, eye strain, and fatigue. At high frequencies or at low brightness, flicker is safe
  5. Start-Up Time: By mandating a maximum interval between switching a fixture and light appearing, buildings can maintain a uniform level of user responsiveness across a fleet of different fixtures

Choosing An LED Driver to Support Title 24 Compliance

Compliance with Title 24 is assessed at the fixture level according to tests mandated by the California Energy Commission and performed by accredited test houses. The evaluation of a single component (i.e., LED driver) doesn’t determine compliance—it’s the complete assembly of components and the interactions between them that makes that determination.

This means that fixture manufacturers can gain some helpful flexibility in system design if they select a driver that gives them room to maneuver within the parameters of Title 24 compliance.

On the efficiency benchmark, the use of a highly efficient LED driver gives scope to consider a wider range of LEDs or light engines. This flexibility can allow the manufacturer to trade off, for instance, higher color rendering performance for lower efficacy in the LED or light engine.

For the full article, go to Selecting an LED Driver for Title 24 Compliance to learn more about LED driver selection; How to Retain Aesthetic Fade-In With Title 24; Time To First Light; DALI And DMX LED Driver Considerations; and more.