California JA8/Title 24 Certification: What This Means for You?

California has recently made changes to their Title 24 energy regulation. This revision called the joint appendix 8, JA8 for short, was made in an effort to give the consumer a broader range of energy efficient product choices. The original regulation applied to all new construction sites in California since 2005. Effective in January of 2017, JA8 has made considerable changes to regulations in the construction industry.

What Should I Know About the Title 24/JA8 Revision?

These revisions have made a significant impact on the commercial and residential lighting industries. But to break it down, these changes regulate the following standards:

  • Defines light bulbs, and other light fixtures based on their level of luminous efficacy. Efficacy refers to a light bulb's ability to produce visible light 
  • Defines the differences between permanent light fixtures, recessed downlights, and lamps
  • Sets standard requirements for dimmers and vancancy sensors. 
  • Provides an outline of lighting installations for home buyers.

Luminous Efficacy

California’s Title 24 regulation defines low efficacy fixtures as any standard incandescent screw-based fixture, either line-voltage or low-voltage. A low efficacy fixture could also be an LED light fixture that has not been certified by federal safety regulations. This is why we recommend only purchasing led lights that have been DLC Certified and ETL Listed.

In the original building efficiency standard, a light fixture with a “low efficacy” label, may have housed a high efficiency bulb. In these circumstances, an inspector would have had to count watts from each individual bulb, measuring how it operated within each fixture.

This would have required calculating the square footage between light fixtures, measuring the diameter of individual recessed ceilings, and measuring the power output of each individual lamp.

These changes to lighting standards can drastically affect your annual energy consumption, by eliminating the need to calculate wattage from room to room. Thanks to the Title 24 revisions, light fixtures are now properly defined.

Light Fixtures

These new regulations have redefined low efficacy and high efficacy lamps, making any base type acceptable. But with any regulation or standard, there are conditions. They are as follows: Operating light fixtures or lamps must comply with the JA8 standard.

Screw based Light Bulbs
  • All permanent light fixtures must be JA8-compliant
  • All screw based light bulbs must be compatible for high temperatures
  • All screw based light bulbs must be labeled “Fully Enclosed Suitable”
  • All recessed down lights are required to operate as high efficacy lamps
  • All recessed down lights must operate with a pin-based or GU24 socket labeled JA8-2016-E
  • All recessed down lights will not be allowed to contain screw-based light bulbs of any kind. 


Building standards are changing for the better! But what does JA8 have to do with it? Under new revisions, effective as of January 2017, light fixtures are required to be JA8-compliant. In an effort to lower the energy consumption of California residents, these standards require the use of at least one lighting controller.

  • Under-cabinet light fixtures must have its own on/off switch
  • Vacancy sensors are required for garages, laundry rooms, utility rooms
  • All recessed light bulbs must operate with its own dimmer, separate from other lamps and light fixtures. 

Home Buyer Guidelines

Before these standards changed, California builders could pass their inspection with high efficacy light bulbs installed, and then replace them with low efficacy lighting before the resident moved in. These regulations not only redefine the efficacy of light fixtures, but also provide a standard of quality for building owners and home buyers.

The JA8 revisions require that new constructions, before passing an inspection, have a list of all light fixture installations on the property. This includes replacements and maintenance. This guarantees that the property will be energy efficient for years to come. It also helps California measure energy consumption for all new constructions.

For more information on the JA8 revisions, check out the California Energy Commission's guidelines for residential lighting

Recommended Reading

Lighting control systems allow you to save even more money on LED lighting. Read our guide to learn about each type of technology and how it can help you save.

Many countries around the world continue to ban halogen light bulbs while LED light bulbs offer increased energy efficiency and reduced effects of CO2 emissions. See how the ban on halogen lighting can effect LED lighting.

Retrofitting refers to the process of removing the internal components of your current fixtures and replacing them with LED technology. Read our guide to learn about the different types of fixtures you can retrofit.

References and Resources

  1. California Energy Commission - Rules and Regulations, Information about the California Energy Commission's overarching policy report, building energy efficiency and appliance standards, emergency response, and rules and policies on matters that may affect Native American tribes. These rules and regulations go through proceedings before the Energy Commission considers them for adoption. Access 02/22/2023
Shakir Williams
Shakir Williams

A true creative with a penchant for the spiritual and natural order. She loves the Earth, almost as much as she loves writing about it.

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