Lutron's Wireless Lighting System Saves Energy, Pitches Woo



The EPA says that lighting chews up 20% of the energy used in an average American home. If cutting down your consumption is a priority, then lighting can't be ignored. Compact fluorescent bulbs are a no-brainer, and LEDs (which use even less energy, but still cost quite a pretty penny) have started showing up on the shelves of mainstream stores like The Home Depot. Dimmer switches have been a controversial subject, and not until digital dimmers came along have they made sense for energy-savings.

Lutron has probably sold more dimmers than anyone, and the company has recently launched a new line of remote control dimmers and other devices that can up your home's efficiency, your fresh-gadget-factor, and probably your powers of seduction.The Maestro Wireless system uses radio waves to control up to ten switches from a single remote. This slender remote can be wall mounted to look like a normal switch, or it can be left free to wander. The benefits here are obvious: not only can lights be dimmed (which saves energy), but up to ten lights can be controlled by each remote, essentially creating one or more master switches. Leaving the house in a hurry? Boom, out go the lights. The system also includes motion sensors that can turn lights on and off depending on whether the room is occupied.

Now here's the catch. Lutron doesn't like its digital dimmers playing with CFLs, and it does not approve of you using CFLs, dimmable or otherwise, with the Lutron Wireless system. (In fact, Lutron only approves two of its dimmers for CFLs)
Playing by these rules, such a dimming system running incandescent or halogen bulbs probably couldn't come close to the efficiency of a house-full of CFLs (correct me if I'm wrong). However, that might not be the end of the story. I personally have my whole home wired with Lutron Maestro digital dimmers, most of which control fixtures with dimmable CFLs in them. Everything seems ship shape around here.

If some brave soul is using the Maestro Wireless system with dimmable CFLs or LEDs, please let us know. We won't tell Lutron.

Tags: Carbon Footprint | Energy | Gadgets | Green Building | Lighting