Rhode Island Adopts the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code

October 4, 2019

Rhode Island has adopted a new building code, joining numerous cities and states in 2019 that have moved toward more stringent standards to increase energy efficiency and performance in commercial buildings. The 2019 Rhode Island Building Code, adopting the 2015 ICC suite of codes, went into effect August 1, 2019. The new code has a three-month transition period and will be fully enforced beginning November 1, 2019.

The 2015 ICC incorporates the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and will adopt without amendments or modifications to the electrical power and lighting systems code sections. The new code will be adopted statewide for all local jurisdictions to follow.

The updated code will increase energy efficiency and lower energy operating costs for commercial buildings. Harold Jepsen, Vice President of Standards and Industry Affairs, Building Control Systems at Legrand, has outlined important lighting and lighting control requirement changes and recommendations.

Lighting and Controls Provision Changes

  • Automatic Daylight-Responsive controls are now required for sidelight daylight and toplight daylight zones. This will save energy by automatically reducing the electric light output when there is a contribution of natural daylight through skylights and windows.
  • Occupancy sensor controls for automatic shut-off are now required for copy/print rooms, lounges, locker rooms, and warehouse spaces. These four new spaces add to the eight spaces required under the previous code.
  • Warehouse aisles and open areas must use occupancy sensor detection to reduce lighting by at least 50% when not occupied.
  • Hotel/motel guestrooms are now required to automatically turn off lighting and switched receptacles, so lighting is not left on when guests leave the room.
  • The exterior lighting control provisions now require building façade and landscape lighting to be controlled independent of all other site and parking lighting. It also requires façade and landscape lighting to turn on/off as a function of the building’s use times. All other lighting, not classified as façade and landscape, must reduce its lighting power by at least 30%, no later than midnight and 6:00 AM or one hour after business closing to one hour before business opening, whichever comes first.

Additional Code Changes

Building owners and design teams must implement at least one of the six Additional Efficiency Package Options include: lighting power reduction by at least 90%, the use of an enhanced digital lighting control system, using a more efficient HVAC system, providing on-site renewable energy compliance with dedicated outdoor air requirements or installing high-efficiency service water heating.

The adoption of the 2015 IECC will offer a significant return on investment to building owners as they receive the benefit of reduced energy operation costs over the life of their buildings.


Legrand is prepared to assist with the new code by offering compliant products and solutions, including Wattstopper Digital Lighting Management (DLM) system products:

  • In small, enclosed spaces like newly added copy and print rooms, occupancy sensors like the PW-301 passive infrared (PIR) wall switch sensor, can automatically turn lighting off after occupants leave the space.
  • A wide range of Wattstopper occupancy sensors - including the LMPC-100 low profile Digital PIR Ceiling Mount Occupancy Sensor (with room controller) - automatically turns lighting on and off based on occupancy. In addition, the DCLV2 0-10V Decorator Dimmer, which controls and dims low voltage lighting loads, can be set for Manual-On or Partial-On to meet code.
  • Automatic daylight-responsive controls like the Wattstopper LMLS-500 photosensors automatically switch or dim lighting based on ambient light and/or daylight levels.



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