Dimmers Create Ambiance and Save Energy
What will the lighting in your home look like in the future? According to Lighting expert Monty Gilbertson it will look a lot like it does today – only it will be more energy efficient.
As a member of the Lighting Vision Committee for the non-profit Consortium for Energy Efficiency in Boston, Gilbertson is among those coming up with ways to get the North American general public to use 50 percent less lighting energy by 2012. Their ideas so far include educating the public about the benefits of more energy-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, moving to Energy Star-qualified products, and using dimmers with the new technologies.
Not only do you get great aesthetic results from putting lights on dimmers, the energy savings are astounding, You use significantly less wattage and can double the life of the bulbs as well. In addition, dimmers allow for greater flexibility in lighting product selection and allow you to get multiple uses out of a room.
In today’s homes, the three main types of lighting available are fluorescent, incandescent, magnetic low voltage and electronic low voltage, of which all but fluorescent are easily dimmed. There are several different types of dimmers, including:
- Simple wall box dimmers, which allow you to bring the light up and down slowly
- Scene lighting dimmers, which allow you to control multiple light sources from a single panel to set a mood
- Whole house systems, which allow you to control all of the lights in your home from one panel at the touch of a button
- Occupancy sensors, which turn on and off whenever someone enters a room.
“I recommend people put dimmers just about everywhere in the house because they offer such great flexibility,” he says. “For example, when everyone’s gathering for a party, it’s nice to have the lights relatively bright; but as your guests move into the house and get comfortable, lower light levels are more desirable. Then later when it’s time to clean up, it’s nice to be able to bring the lights to full strength again at the flip of a switch.”
The experts agree that LED (light-emitting diode) technology is the wave of the future.
Presently there are still some performance limitations and cost issues, but as this technology is further refined and costs come down, LED will light the way to the future, and LEDs are already dimmable.