Fact Sheet: New Lighting Requirements


Easy switch for builders and contractors meets new lighting codes, saves money

Effective September 1, 2016, the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires that a new home have at least 75% high-efficacy light bulbs installed. To meet this requirement, builders and contractors just switch to high-efficacy lighting (i.e. compact fluorescent light (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs) instead of old-fashioned incandescent lighting for all residential projects.

CFLs and LEDs use 75- 90 percent less energy and may last 10-25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. With more than 100,000 new homes built in Texas each year, a DOE-supported Field Study demonstrates that high-efficacy lighting could save Texas homeowners more than $2.7 million in just one year. Based on the Field Study, many of the homes being built did not install high-efficacy lighting. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way for Texas builders to impact energy and cost savings for new homebuyers.

2015 IECC Requirements for High-Efficacy Lights:

Lumens/watt Bulb wattage
60 Lumens/W > 40 W
50 Lumens/W 15-40 W
40 Lumens/W < 15 W


Guidelines for High-Efficacy Lighting

Choose bulbs based on lighting needs.

  • Use light output (lumens), not energy used (watts), to select
    the appropriate bulb.

Choose bulbs with high (90+) Color Rendering Index (CRI).

  • Color rendering measures how colors appear when compared with natural sunlight
  • For indoor residential use, CRI of 90 or above is best

Light Output (lumens)

Energy Used (watts)

  Incandescent CFL LED
450 40 9-13 4-5
800 60 13-15 6-8
1,100 75 18-25 9-13
1,600 100 23-30 16-20
2,600 150 30-55 25-28


Choose bulbs based on application and mood.

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) Lighting Recommendations

  • Color temperature, or more accurately Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), refers to the color of the light produced
    • A lower CCT identifies light that is in the red to yellow range and tends to be more relaxing and warm, higher CCTs will be in the white to blue color range and will be brighter.
  • Bulb recommendations
    • Indoor residential spaces like living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms: a warm white light, CCT of 2,800-3,200K
    • Home kitchens and workspaces: cool white light with a CCT of 3,500-4,100K

Choose the right equipment for dimming.

  • Use equipment makers’ compatibility tables to choose bulbs and dimmers
  • Choose CFLs and LEDs labeled as dimmable
    • Not all CFLs and LEDs are dimmable
  • Install compatible dimmers
    • Different technologies use energy differently to produce light
    • Incandescent dimmers will not work with CFLs and LEDs
    • Lighting control manufacturers have on-line compatibility tools to help customers choose LED and CFL bulbs and dimmers that work together efficiently

High-Efficacy Lighting Compared to Incandescent

Characteristic Incandescent CFLs LEDs
Watts 60 13 7
Energy used for light 6W 5W 5.6W
Energy used for heat 54W 8W 1.4W
Lumens 800-900 800-900 800-900
Estimated life 1,200 hrs 8,000 hrs 25,000-50,000 hrs
kWh/yr used 88 19 10
Cost/yr $9.64 $2.09 $1.12
Greenhouse gas emissions 101 lbs/yr 22 lbs/yr 12 lbs/yr
Energy and cost based on use of 4 hrs per day, 365 days per year.