New York City has a very ambitious emissions reduction target: 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, using the emission levels of 2005 as a baseline. This is part of the NYC master plan, which is covered in detail in the One City Built to Last publication by the mayor’s office. Building energy consumption is one of the main contributing factors to the city’s emissions, and the first version of the NYC Energy Conservation Code was launched in 2011 to help address this. The code has been updated twice, and each new edition has introduced important changes.

In general, the 2016 NYC Energy Conservation Code is expected to increase energy savings by 8.5% in commercial buildings and by 23.5% in residential buildings, compared with projects commissioned according to the 2014 version. The new code version became effective on October 3, 2016, and compliance was made mandatory for all projects filed after that date, as well as for projects with incomplete filing upon publication.

This article will provide an overview of the requirements that were changed for lighting installations and their associated control systems in the 2016 NYC Energy Conservation Code.

There is a major change that affects not only lighting installations and their controls, but all building systems covered in the Energy Conservation Code. The following forms have been updated with 2016 code references and requirements, and the updated versions must be used for all projects subject to the new code:

  • TR1 - Technical Report Statement of Responsibility
  • TR8 - Technical Report Statement of Responsibility for Energy Code Progress Inspections
  • EN1 - Energy Cost Budget Worksheet
  • LAA1 - Limited Alteration Application for Plumbing, Oil, Burning, or Fire Suppression
  • PW1C - Plan/Work Application, Schedule C, Heating & Combustion Equipment

2016 NYCECC: Lighting Requirements in Residential Buildings

The minimum number of high-efficacy lamps required in residential buildings was increased between the 2014 and 2016 editions of the NYC Energy Conservation Code, from 50% to 75%.

All compact fluorescent lights and linear fluorescent lights of size T8 or smaller are considered high-efficacy lamps in the code, as well as any lamps that meet the following requirements:

Rated Lamp Power Minimum Efficacy
15 W or less 40 lumens / watt
Greater than 15 W up to 40 W 50 lumens / watt
Greater than 40 W 60 lumens / watt

The2016 Energy Conservation Code provides an alternate path to meet lighting efficacy requirements. In the 2014 edition, the requirement was only for lamps, but the 2016 allows either of the following approaches:

  • At least 75% of all lamps must be high-efficacy lamps as defined by the code.
  • At least 75% of all fixtures must be fully-equipped with high-efficacy lamps.

Keep in mind that many fixture designs use more than one lamp, so the two quantities do not always match. Depending on project conditions, one compliance path may be more convenient that the other.

The 2016 NYCEEC also introduced an exception to the rule above for low-voltage lighting, which is defined as lighting powered with a step-down transformer, typically at 12V or 24V. This type of power supply is common in track lighting, but may be found in other types of luminaires as well.

Another important difference is that the 2014 edition of the code did not mention fuel gas lighting systems, but the 2016 edition clearly states that these systems are not allowed to have a constantly burning pilot light.

Conclusion

New York City is expected to continue updating its Energy Conservation Code, as an ongoing effort to reach the 80% emissions reduction mark by the year 2050. The bar will continue to be raised for new projects, as well as for renovations in existing buildings.

One of the best ways to ensure code compliance is working with qualified and licensed professionals. This way, building owners can expedite the paperwork required by the Department of Buildings, while avoiding expensive changes during project commissioning.

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