New Dimmers Shine Energy-Saving Reminders

Lutron’s eco-minder switches light up when you’re saving energy.

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Lutron's Maestro (left) and Meadowlark eco-minders

One of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills? Buy dimmer switches for your lights and use them.

Dimming a traditional incandescent bulb just 15 percent, which is hardly noticeable, can save you 15 percent in electricity costs and triple the life of the bulb. Dim it by 25 percent and you can save 20 percent. A dimmer can pay for itself pretty quickly.

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Lutron is upping the ante with new Maestro and Meadowlark eco-minder switches that turn small LEDs on their panels from red to green when you’re saving at least 15 percent. The Meadowlark eco-dimmer’s green LED brightens as you’re saving more.

Sure, the LEDs use a small amount of energy that you could otherwise be saving, but Lutron says the LEDs serve as a reminder — and I’m betting that’s right. Who wants to see that red LED reminding you that you’re losing money?

The Maestro eco-minder ($45.50) also has a customizable, delayed, fade-to-off that lets you leave the room or get into bed before the lights go out. The Meadowlark ($24.80) has a slide dimmer.

Both are available starting this month in white, ivory, almond and light almond at electrical distributors, lighting showrooms and online at the lutronstore.com.

You can also dim some CFL and LED lights with some dimmers, but check first. Most CFLs are not made for dimming.

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