November 24, 2008
| by Steven Castle
I got a good look at Lutron’s energy-saving Green button at the Greenbuild showin Boston last week.
The Green button can be used with a wired or wireless Lutron HomeWorks lighting system, and enables lights to be dimmed to a preset degree. Say you have the lights on full in your media room and you want to dim them to be more energy efficient: Instead of pressing a button on a keypad until the light dims to the desired level, you just press a Green button that dims them automatically.
The amount the Green button dims the lights is determined by the homeowner and then programmed it the system by a certified installer.
But gee, you say, it seems like any other lighting “scene” that can be preprogrammed and enacted at the touch of a button. And it is, only the Green button will dim the lights from any scene by that preset amount. So if you have a button that dims the lights 50-percent, then press the Green button, those lights will dim some more. If you had the Green button set to dim by 10 percent, it will dim any scene 10-percent; if you had it set to dim 25-percent, it will dim any scenes 25-percent. Get it?
The Green button comes at no additional cost to a new HomeWorks system, though existing HomeWorks systems may need a software update to support it. You can also have a Green button in different rooms that dim lights to different levels.
For those who can’t swing a pricey HomeWorks system, Lutron’s has dimmers available with an eco-dimtechnology that automatically dims lights 15 percent.
Dimming a light 10-percent can save 10 percent in energy, and dimming to 25-percent can save 20-percent in electricity costs. Dimming also lengthens the lifespan of a light bulb.
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