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Lighting Seattle since 1905 Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent
Conservation: Be Smart & Build Smart
Built Smart Users Manual: Specifications Chapter 6: Lighting
Built Smart Users Manual | Specifications | Alerts | Water

6.1 Introduction
Required lighting upgrades. In order to qualify for any BUILT SMART incentives, a building's common area lighting and most exterior lighting must meet program requirements as described in this chapter. Common areas are those areas outside the living units that have electrical components connected to the common house meter, and can include: lobbies, entryways, halls, stairwells, lounges, community rooms, exercise rooms, and laundry rooms.

Optional lighting. The Seattle City Light BUILT SMART program encourages builders to take advantage of optional incentives towards the installation of the following:
  • Light fixtures dedicated to the individual living unit and connected to its meter. Includes both in-unit fixtures and exterior entry fixtures.
  • Lighting controls in common areas.
6.2 Submittal Requirements for Lighting
All fixture and control specifications must be reviewed and approved prior to installation. The following lighting information should be submitted for review at the time of building application and will be required before final incentive payment:
6.2.1 A fixture schedule itemized by location (common area, exterior, in-unit, etc). If exact fixture numbers are not known at time of application, a detailed estimate will be accepted as a placeholder. Actual incentives will be based on the number of fixtures verified at final inspection.
6.2.2 Manufacturers' specification sheets for all fixture types. If fixture models have not yet been selected, these can be submitted after initial application, but must be submitted before final inspection and payment.
6.2.3 Common area lighting incentives are based on estimated energy savings. To determine the incentive amount, please also submit for common areas:
  • a set of architectural drawings, including a reflective ceiling plan
  • common area square footage measurements, by floor
  • estimated annual operation hours for each distinct area
  • Total common area installed watts (excluding exit lights of 5 watts or less).
6.2.4 Any details unavailable at time of initial application must be submitted as soon as possible afterwards, and before final inspection and payment.
6.3 General Lighting Specifications Applicable to All Lighting
6.3.1 Eligible technologies include fluorescent (T-8 or smaller), 2-piece compact fluorescent, metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and central lighting controls. Ineligible technologies include T-10 and T-12 fluorescent, one-piece screw-in compact fluorescent, incandescent (including halogen), mercury vapor, neon, and low voltage.
6.3.2 All lamps must have a CRI of 70 or better (except high-pressure sodium lamps).
6.3.3 All fixtures and controls must be hardwired.
6.3.4 Linear fixtures (tubes) must have high power factor ballasts.
6.3.5 All exterior fixtures must be suitable for damp or wet location, where required.
6.3.6 Where required, recessed lighting must be air-sealed. See Seattle Energy Code section 502.4.4.
6.3.7 Where fixtures are switched on and off more than once a day, they must switch on without flicker. The time needed between switching the lamp on and it starting continuously and remaining illuminated must be one second or less. Fixtures may use "rapid start", "programmed start", or "instant on" technologies.
6.3.8 Where fluorescent lamps are used, low mercury content is strongly urged.
6.4 Required Interior Common Area Lighting
All interior common area lighting must meet the BUILT SMART General Lighting Specifications above. Common area fixtures that are on 24/7 may have electronic or magnetic ballasts, although City Light prefers electronic.

Interior common area lighting incentives are based on efficiency improvements over the Energy Code's Lighting Power Allowances. BUILT SMART incentives are calculated based on reductions of 20% below code. The lighting power density is calculated by dividing the total input watts in the common areas by the common area square footage. Consistent with the Washington State Energy Code (Section 1530), exit signs of 5 watts or less are not included in the calculation. The incentive is calculated using the actual installed lighting, and is based on the wattage reduction below the lighting power allowance.

Seattle City Light recommends that all common areas in multifamily buildings have a minimum of 5 foot-candles over the entire interior common area spaces being considered. Reference the most recent edition of the IESNA Lighting Handbook for details.
6.5 Required Exterior Lighting
Residential exterior building and landscape lighting connected to the common house meter must meet the BUILT SMART General Lighting Specifications, and must be controlled by a photocell that prevents operation during daylight hours. Incentives are offered as flat per-fixture rebates. See "Appendix D: BUILT SMART Incentives".

6.6 Optional Lighting (In-unit and Porch Light)
Light fixtures connected to the individual living unit's meter are eligible for a flat per-fixture rebate. All optional fixtures must meet the requirements of the General Lighting Specifications, must utilize electronic ballasts and must be ENERGY STAR rated fixtures. Fixtures may be installed in the following spaces:

dining rooms
entryways (interior)
entry porches (exterior)

Incentives are not paid on fixtures installed in closets or in-unit laundry rooms/closets. Incentives are also not paid on fixtures on porches, decks or lanais that do not also serve as main entries.

BUILT Smart representatives reserve the right to deny incentives to lighting locations that are not appropriate for the technology, or where excessive numbers of light fixtures are installed.

6.7 Optional Lighting Controls for Common Areas
Lighting controls that sense occupancy or light levels in common areas are eligible for a flat per-control rebate. All control specifications must be reviewed and approved by the Built Smart representative prior to installation. Ceiling-mounted controls must regulate multiple fixtures - ceiling fixtures that have their own individual control do not qualify for the ceiling-mounted control incentive. Occupancy sensors shall automatically reset to sensing mode after manual override or testing operation.
6.8 Lighting for Commercial Areas within the Building
Interior and exterior lighting that is dedicated to commercial space is not eligible for BUILT SMART incentives. Commercial incentives may be available through City Light's Energy Smart Services Program 206.684.3254 or the Smart Business Program 206.684.3800. Buildings with a combination of commercial and residential spaces will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
6.9 Exceptions
This program allows flexibility for specific and unique architectural details. Any exception from these lighting requirements must be reviewed and approved the BUILT SMART Program representative and be part of the Built Smart Agreement.

Interested in BUILT SMART incentives?
Contact Peter Held at or 206.684.3605. For affordable housing projects, please contact Lisa Frasene at or 206.684.3182.

Contact an Energy Advisor
(206) 684-3800

The Seattle City Light Web Team:

Seattle City Light -- 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, Seattle, WA 98104-5031 -- 206.684.3000
Mailing address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3200, P.O. Box 34023 Seattle, WA 98124-4023