IECC Q&A: Lighting controls for display lighting
In this column, we will address some of the typical questions asked of our technical support team. As always, code opinions issued by International Code Council staff are based on published Code Council codes and do not include local, state or federal codes; policies; or amendments. This opinion does not imply approval of an equivalency, specific product, specific design or specific installation and cannot be published in any form implying such approval by the International Code Council. As this opinion is only advisory, the final decision is the responsibility of the designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code. All code citations reference the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) unless otherwise specified.
Lighting controls for display lighting
Q: When lighting controls per Section C405.2.2 (time-switch controls) and C405.2.2.2 (light reduction controls) are provided for display track lights and accent lights on the sales floor, do the lights also need to comply with the specific control requirements of Section C405.2.4?
A: Yes, Section C405.2 (Lighting Controls) of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires compliance with Sections C405.2.1 through C405.2.6. If any of the sections cited or their subsections are applicable, they are required.
The “specific application controls” requirements enumerated in Section C405.2.4 are almost always applicable. The only exceptions would be found in Section C405.2, none of which apply to display or accent lighting.
Section C405.2.4 addresses four categories of lighting, the display and accent lights from the question fall into the first category. Category 1 is required to have specific occupant sensor control functions of Section C405.2.1.1 or the time-switch controls of Section C405.2.2.1. This section also requires manual controls for display and accent lighting and lighting in display cases.
Display and accent lighting are not clearly defined by the code. However, these would certainly include lighting installed in retail sales areas to highlight merchandise “display lighting for exhibits” as described in Item 7 of Section C405.3.1 and as described in Item 1 of Section C405.3.2.2.1. This includes any lighting installed in a display case, regardless of how the case is configured, what it displays or the type of space in which it is located. Task lighting exempted under this should clearly be providing lighting to locations where work is expected to take place. The scope of the code does not include portable lights that are plugged in after occupancy; rather, it includes only lights that are permanently installed using mechanical or electrical connections.