The California Energy Commission (CEC) was put into place by the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. At the time, a growing need for energy in the state led to a need for a modern energy policy to reduce the environmental impacts and costs of existing systems.

The CEC remains the official energy policy and planning agency for the state, and the organization continues to promote its seven core responsibilities through legislation. Some of its most notable work includes Titles 20 and 24, which mandate energy efficiency standards for businesses.

Business owners save on costs by installing energy-efficient lighting that follows this legislation, and the benefits are felt throughout the community. Read on for our guide to Title 20 regulations in California for facility managers and electricians. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your next installation is compliant.

energy efficient lighting

Understanding Title 20

Title 20 deals with appliance efficiency regulations for consumer electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. It includes minimum efficiency levels for a wide range of products for both residential and non-residential buildings.

Any product covered by the program must be registered with the CEC before it is allowed to enter the market and be sold in the state legally. Part of this step includes listing the product in the California Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDBS).

As a lighting manufacturer, retailer, importer, distributor, installer, or contractor, it is your responsibility to confirm that the products you are dealing with are Title 20 compliant. The CEC makes it clear that every member of the supply chain has a part to play in ensuring compliance.


Title 20 Requirements

Title 20 affects three lighting categories: small-diameter directional lamps, LED lamps, and general service lamps. These products must pass testing and performance requirements to be listed with MAEDBS and reach Title 20 compliance.

All LED Lamps

Must have a power factor greater than 0.7. If dimmable, the lamp must be dimmable to 10% with reduced flicker and noise of less than 24dB at 100% and 20%.

Lamps must be able to produce white light or a correlated color temperature (CCT) between 2200K and 7000K.

What is Title 20 Compliant?

In the California lighting industry, Title 20 ensures that products being sold meet the energy efficiency standards the California Energy Commission sets. This results in less waste from discarded bulbs and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Overall, the program facilitates the transition to efficient LED bulbs gradually from existing halogen, incandescent, and CFL bulbs.

Title 20 is not set in stone. Updates to the regulations are commonly made, such as in 2018-19 when two tiers of standards were added, including new regulations for product certification and quality.

State-regulated LED Lamps (sled)

Including any lamp with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) GU-24, E12, E17, or E26, base types. Also includes LED lamps designed for retrofitting that are within existing recessed can housing that contains these bases.


When compared to its incandescent equivalent, lamps must be dimmable, lower than 3000K, and lumens greater than 310 (for E26) or 150 (E12 and E17)


Minimum Efficacy 80 lm/W (lumens per watt)
Minimum Compliance Score 297
Minimum Rated Life 10,000 hours
Standby power 0.2 watts


State-regulated Gsls (general Service Lamps)

GSLs are omnidirectional lamps with an E26-style base, which can include incandescent, LED, or CFL bulbs.

Minimum Efficacy 45 lm/W
Minimum Compliance Score None
Minimum Rated Life 1,000 hours
CRI (Color Rendering Index)

80 or greater for non-modified spectrum lamps

75 or greater for modified spectrum lamps

State-regulated Ssdls (small Diameter Directional Lamps)

These lamps are commonly found in hospitality, museum, and retail track lighting, including halogen, incandescent, or LED. SDDLs are directional lamps (non-tubular) with a diameter of 2.25″ or less. They operate at either 12, 24, or 120 volts.


Minimum Efficacy 80 lm/W (or 70 lm/W and a minimum compliance score of 165)
Minimum Rated Life 25,000 hours


Title 20 vs. Title 24

While Title 24 deals with how a new building is constructed and maintained, Title 20 covers the products that go into this building (in addition to retrofits of existing structures). Just because something meets Title 20 standards doesn’t mean it will meet Title 24 regulations.

However, it is important to remember that a product can follow Title 20 requirements without following Title 24.

Products require Title 20 approval before they are brought to market. Before it is installed in a new project or major retrofit, it will have to be evaluated to meet its Title 24 requirements as well.

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About the Author

Cory Peterson is Director of Sales & Marketing at LED Lighting Supply where he focuses on improving customer experience and revenue operations. Cory writes about commercial & industrial lighting, along with topics important to contractors and facility managers. In his free time, Cory enjoys traveling, snorkeling, exercise and cooking.

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