Photo via Tech-On
Launching on March 1, 2009 is Panasonic's Auto-eco Light-control Twin Pa, AKA a self-dimming light that will save on energy.
It is a light for homes that senses ambient light and dims its own light level as needed.
The "Auto-eco Light-control Twin Pa," equipped with a luminance sensor, detects the brightness in an area of 3m diameter directly below the lamp (when the ceiling height is about 2.4m) and controls the light output so that the luminance in the room is maintained constant.
So basically, it reads the light bouncing off the floor and decides the brightness, so how effective this would be is also dependent upon your flooring type and color.
It would work pretty well for people who turn the light on in the wee hours of dawn and forget to turn them off and sunlight fills the room. The light is intended to help cut power consumption for the people who don't turn the lights off during the day, even when they don't need them.
A better alternative would be a light that simply shuts itself off entirely when there's enough daylight in the room.
However, for a household that keeps its light on all through the day, a one-week test in December 2008 showed that the power consumption could be reduced by about 60%. Keep in mind, that was the month of December, when sunlight is at a minimum (at least in the northern hemisphere).
There's no set retail price yet, but the two models of this light are expected to sell at around $390 or so. We aren't so sure about how popular these will be, but Panasonic is looking to sell 200,000 units annually, and incorporate the automatic dimming function in 10% of the Twin Pa Series products.
While it is an interesting invention, it doesn't seem to do a whole heck of a lot to really fix energy use issues...it just dims bad habits.
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