Glendale Remodeler Discusses New Indoor Lighting Trends on 127th Anniversary of First Electric Lighting
On September 4, 1882, Thomas Edison introduced the world to electric lighting. When he switched on his electrical power distribution system, 110-voltz direct current turned on 400 electric lights in offices on Spruce, Wall, Nassau, and Pearl streets in lower Manhattan.
In 127 years, electric lighting has come a long way. Milwaukee/NARI member Andrew Guskov of Lutron Electronics in Glendale said that the lighting industry is changing to meet the demands of energy-conscious homeowners. New technology makes lighting the home inside and out more convenient, safe, and “green.”
According to Guskov, the latest trend in lighting is automated lighting control, which gives homeowners the right amount of light when they need it and energy savings when they don’t.
“Lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of the average homeowner's monthly electric bill,” Guskov said. “A single dimmer can save up to $30 a year in electricity costs and light bulb life extension. Each year, Lutron dimmers save a total of 9.2 billion kWh – the equivalent output of one large coal or nuclear-fired power plant. The equivalent annual savings to the economy would be $1 billion in energy costs.”
Occupancy sensors are another energy-saving product. The sensor, which ensures that lights are never left on, is ideal for bathrooms, laundry rooms, walk-in closets, basements, or pantries. He said that using a compatible Lutron dimmer with the sensor allows homeowners to automatically turn lights on to a dimmed level rather than to full on, saving even more energy.
Wireless lighting control solutions also can be easily retrofitted into existing homes. “These types of products offer homeowners convenience, aesthetics, safety, and energy savings,” he said. Wall and lamp dimmers helps homeowners match their light level to their activities, saving energy each time they dim the lights. “With a press of one button, light a safe pathway of light from your car into your house.”
Families are able to create a home theater experience in the living room with a controller, lamp dimmer, and wall dimmer. “And with a wireless controller at your bedside, you can control hallway, bedroom, and/or bathroom lights conveniently without having to walk across a dark room,” he said. “If you need to get up in the middle of the night, you can turn on a low light level providing just enough light to find your way to the bathroom.” With a wireless controller, homeowners can control dimming in multiple locations.
Guskov noted that homeowners could control natural light as well. “There are products available that easily control sunlight to prevent harsh U/V rays from damaging expensive furnishings or reduce glare that reflects off a television or computer screen. At the simple touch of a button, you can automatically raise and lower shades to reduce heat gain in a space, thereby lowering cooling costs, or achieve instant privacy from the outside.”
Finally, a whole home system covers it all – “Energy savings, aesthetics, safety, security, and seamless integration of natural and artificial light control,” he said. “Homeowners can use whole-home systems to create safe pathways and automate dramatic lighting of landscape and architecture.”
What would Edison think of the advancements in electric lighting? Is it worthwhile for homeowners to install an automated lighting system indoors? As Guskov said, making the change won't compromise comfort or style. New lighting technology can "save energy, while creating inviting, comfortable spaces at home or work – making light greener and better."
Glendale-based Andrew Guskov of Lutron Electronics belongs to the Milwaukee/NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Home Improvement Council, Inc. With over 900 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest. For more information, call (414) 771-4071 or visit the Council’s Web site at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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