By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
OK, so let’s stop blaming our love of big-screen TVs for wasting energy and growing global greenhouse gases (at least in Al Gore’s yard). Turns out household lighting is the real villain potentially causing monthly brain aneurisms in bill payers across the land.
This just in: according to a U.S. consumer household lighting behavior study conducted on behalf of lighting control systems developer Lutron Electronics, leaving the lights on in empty rooms is the leading pet peeve with most Americans for wasted energy and the expense it produces.
In fact, the study showed “most Americans believe it to be the biggest waste of energy” in their homes, outstripping computers, televisions and even air conditioners.
Some 90 percent of Americans surveyed found someone in their household forgets to turn the lights off when they leave a room, with lights in the kitchen (49 percent) and bathroom (28 percent) being left on the most.
The bedroom (27 percent) and living room (26 percent) were close behind.
In addition, when stacked up against other potential energy gobblers, lights left on in an empty room was cited 47 percent of the time, compared to an unwatched television (42 percent), computer (31 percent), outdated and plunged-in appliances (28 percent), and air conditioning (24 percent).
Children under 18 years of age take the blame the majority of the time for lights left burning (55 percent), while spouses and significant others receive 31 percent of the blame, Lutron’s study showed.
Why is this important? Lutron, of course, makes lighting systems and products that can automatically turn lights off and on when not in use, ranging from inexpensive motion-sensing dimmers to lighting control systems that connect with elaborate home control systems with lighting timers.
Lutron is using the survey to promote its range of control products available through consumer electronics retailers, system integrators and hardware and home center chains (among others). Among some of the latest and highest value offerings are the recently introduced Maestro Occupancy Sensor, C.L Dimmer and Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch. All are affordable, easily installable and offer CE retailers potential incremental revenue opportunities.
The products work with various light bulbs (incandescents, halogens, dimmable CFLs and dimmable LEDs) and feature ambient light detection, which means lights will only turn on if there’s not enough sunlight filling the space.
The Lutron Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensing Switch ($29 suggested retail for small rooms, $41 for large rooms) can automatically turn lights on when someone enters a room and off when they leave. A patented ambient light detector senses daylight and only turns lights on when there is not enough natural light present.
Proprietary Advanced XCT sensing technology detects fine motions keep lights on when rooms are occupied.
The Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensor CL dimmer ($54) combines the the benefits of an occupancy sensor and a dimmer into one product. The new sensor dimmer turns lights on when a person enters a room, keeps them on while they are there and shuts them off when the room is vacant. Users can also dim the lights to add ambiance to the room.
Meanwhile, systems integrators may find it useful to learn that Lutron’s study showed people feel it more useful for lights to automatically turn on and off in the bathroom (44 percent), bedroom (34 percent) and entryway (25 percent). Now go back to watching that new 4K.
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