California Green Building Code (CALGreen) – Lighting and thermal comfort controls

These are meant to give building occupants some degree of control over the lighting and thermal comfort in their workstations, including multi-occupant spaces. Although there is little evidence to back up assertions that workers who have control over lighting and thermal comfort are more productive or more likely to show up to work, the objective is to raise workplace satisfaction.

CALGreen Code Section A5.507.1: Lighting and thermal comfort controls.

Provide controls in the workplace as described in Sections A5.507.1.1 and A5.507.1.2.

CALGreen Code Section A5.507.1.1: Single-occupant spaces.

Provide individual controls that meet energy use requirements in the California Energy Code in accordance with Sections A5.507.1.1.1 and A5.507.1.1.2.

CALGreen Code Section A5.507.1.1.1: Lighting.

Provide individual task lighting and/or daylighting controls for at least 90 percent of the building occupants.

CALGreen Code Section A5.507.1.1.2: Thermal comfort.

Provide individual thermal comfort controls for at least 50 percent of the building occupants.

1. Occupants shall have control over at least one of the factors of air temperature, radiant temperature, air speed and humidity as described in ASHRAE 55-2004.

2. Occupants inside 20 feet of the plane of and within 10 feet either side of operable windows can substitute windows to control thermal comfort. The areas of operable windows must meet the requirements of Section 120.1 (Requirement for Ventilation) of the California Energy Code

CALGreen Code Section A5.507.1.2: Multi-occupant spaces.

Provide lighting and thermal comfort system controls for all shared multi-occupant spaces, such as classrooms and conference rooms.


The purpose of these measures is to allow building occupants a measure of control within their workspaces as to lighting levels and thermal comfort, including multi-occupant spaces where they can reach consensus on ambient lighting and temperature, humidity and air speed. Though scant research exists to support claims of higher productivity or attendance for workers who have control of lighting and thermal comfort, the goal is to increase workplace satisfaction and reap whatever benefits there may be for individuals and organizations. The California Energy Code regulates energy use associated with lighting, thermal comfort and ventilation of conditioned spaces. ASHRAE 55 contains standards for thermal comfort.

Compliance Method:

Indicate in the construction documents lighting locations, controls, fixture types and access to daylight for a minimum of 90 percent of occupants. Show means of thermal control, such as thermostats, directional air registers and proximity to solar gain for a minimum of 50 percent of occupants. Contract furnishings for control of light and heat through windows may be shown. Make sure that compliance with the California Energy Code is achieved.


Plan intake: The plan reviewer should confirm in the construction documents that the lighting control means for at least 90 percent of occupants and thermal control means for at least 50 percent of occupants are shown. Verifying the California Energy Code compliance is shown.

On-site enforcement: The inspector should verify that lighting and thermal controls are installed as shown and that the building complies with provisions in the California Energy Code.

(Excerpted from ‘Guide to the 2022 California Green Building Standards Code Nonresidential’ – Appendix A5)

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