Section J of the National Construction Code (NCC) sets out rules for energy efficiency for all building services. When designing and constructing buildings in Australia it is mandatory to comply with these rules.
In 2018 section J was reviewed to ensure efficiency in environmental and financial outcomes in building practices. Amendments to the code combine improved methodology in glazing and insulation, lifts, fans, pumps, chillers, boilers, PAC units, cooling towers and light.
The main objective of the review and the code amendment was to reduce the amount of energy a building requires for its normal operation – a positive strategy in reducing environmental impact.
Section J6 refers to artificial lighting and power and deals with the minimal standards for energy efficient lighting design. Changes and recommendations were made to address the advancements in lighting technology.
The new allowances under Section J6 in artificial lighting set the minimum performance requirements, ensuring a level of illuminance (both with and without the addition of natural light) allowing occupants to perform tasks appropriate for the space and to safely exit the building in an emergency. Lighting Designers must comply with the allowable Illumination Power Density (IPD) in all designs (IPD is the watts per square metre required to light a space).
For example, in a commercial environment, the new allowances enforce a decrease in the Illumination Power Density (IPD) requirements, from 9W/m2 down to 4.5W/m2 and lower for low-light requirement spaces such as bathrooms.