September 30, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
Since its beginning nearly 50 years ago, the company Lutron Electronics has been synonymous with complete lighting control. Whether you needed a simple dimmer, a sophisticated whole-house lighting control system, lived in an old house or were prewiring a new house, the company had a solution. Over the past several years, Lutron has broadened its scope to include motorized shading solutions, thereby offering homeowners a way to control the natural sunlight that enters their homes in conjunction with the artificial light.
Last week as announced at the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) conference in Atlanta, Ga., Lutron began a new chapter in its ever-evolving product development: total home control.
More specifically, total home control that’s designed to save energy. As a complement to its full spectrum of wireless and wired lighting systems, Lutron will soon have available a heating and cooling control system, daylight sensors and occupancy sensors and a plug-in appliance module. The heating and cooling system will consist of a wireless temperature sensor, a wall-mounted control keypad and a controller that connects to a heating and cooling unit. The daylight and occupancy sensors will be able to signal Lutron lighting products and motorized shades to adjust according to the amount of sunlight available and presence within a room. Lastly, the plug-in appliance module will allow devices like TVs, amps, receivers and monitors to be powered down automatically based on certain parameters. All of this, in addition to Lutron’s lighting control products, can control 60 percent of a home’s total energy use, says David Weinstein, Lutron vice president of sales.
The products can be integrated with Lutron’s wireless RadioRA 2 system and wired HomeWorks QS system. This enables the products to work in concert, for example, setting back and turning off when one button, the “green” button, is pressed on a lighting control keypad. Some of the products will be available before the end of the year; others in early 2011.
The company is making it easier for homeowners to integrate any type of light into their energy savings plans, thanks to the introduction of its phase adaptive dimmer. The dimmer automatically adapts to a variety of light sources, allowing homeowners to use the most energy-efficient bulbs on the market. “A homeowner can start with incandescent bulbs and use the phase adaptive dimmer, the switch to CFLs without having to buy a new dimmer,” Weinstein explains. “It’s a great way to futureproof.” No matter what type of light you choose, the phase adaptive dimmer will work.
Another product that fits nicely into Lutron’s goal of becoming a total home control, energy management solution is its Venetian Blind with Intelligent Tilt Alignment Technology. Offers in a variety of styles and colors, the motorized blinds can be raised and lowered and its slats tilted via a remote control or automatically to a predetermined height and and/or angle.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.