Lutron Electronics has announced product rollouts that will take place this year and next, designed to provide total home control and energy management, mainly via its new upscale HomeWorks QS wired and wireless lighting systems and its mid-market RadioRA 2 wireless lighting solutions.
“We’re really going to focus on control of energy in the home,” says David Weinstein, Lutron’s vice president of sales.
For the first time, HomeWorks QS and RadioRA 2 will feature daylight sensing to automatically adjust lights and shades, based on the amount of sunlight penetrating a space. Occupancy sensing, which Lutron says can save 20 percent or more in lighting energy by automatically shutting off lights when no one is in a room, is also a part of the systems.
Lutron has used daylight sensing in its commercial products, but for the first time is introducing the technology into its residential lines.
Most automated shading in homes is accomplished by programming astronomical clocks to descend shades at certain times of the day to help keep a room cool—or do the opposite to help heat a room.
Lutron’s daylight sensing solution could also enable daylight harvesting—using the natural light to illuminate a room and reduce the need for electrical lighting.
Up to now, electronics installers had to use third-party sensors, and the programming required could be complex, explains Lutron product development manager Richard Black. Installers often used contact closures that descended or raised the shades at certain daylight thresholds. That was a simple solution to a complex issue, so when clouds passed, for example, motorized shades could go up and down too frequently. “There are a lot of settings you have to have to make that work effectively. Now that we have the logic, we can make it work better.”
Lutron also announced Venetian blinds with intelligent tilt alignment, as part of its Avant line. Lutron says the product can tilt the blinds seamlessly, and the company will look to integrate automated tilting via daylight sensing as well. The system can also adjust height of shading as the angle of the sun changes.
Chief among Lutron’s other product announcements are:
- A plug-in appliance module coming in December 2010 to monitor and control appliances are other energy loads in a home.
- Dynamic keypad coming in April 2011 that controls lights, shades, HVAC, audio/video and energy from one spot.
- Venetian wood blinds with intelligent tilt alignment.
- seeTemp intelligent thermostats coming in April 2011.
- An Eco Button that can dim lights and set back the thermostat plus or minus 2 degrees to save energy.
- Integration with iPad and iPhone.
- A phase-adaptive dimmer that automatically senses the load—whether its CFL or LED, for instance—and adjusts the dimming for that.
- A Green Button coming in April 2011 that dim lights, lower shades, sets back temperature, and turns off unneeded appliances via plug-in appliance modules.
- An iPad app in Dec. 2010.
“By adding cooling and heating, in addition to lighting and shading and connected loads, we can control 60 percent of the energy use in the home,” says Weinstein.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates