Lighting Controls

Efficient lighting goes beyond the bulb, with simple control systems that help save energy with little notice by the homeowner.

Switched motion sensors or dimmers should be used with any remaining fixtures that still use incandescent sources; they also can be used with energy-efficient sources. Switched motion, or vacancy, sensors must be manually turned on, but they automatically shut off after a period of time with no motion in the room. Dimmers save a percentage of energy slightly less than the amount they are dimmed, for both incandescent and fluorescent sources (i.e., dimming a bulb 25% saves about 20% of the electricity). Energy savings from dimming LEDs is variable.

Whole-house, intelligent lighting systems allow builders to automate a home’s lighting controls by setting lights to automatically dim 10% or 15%, or allowing homeowners to shut off all of a home’s lights with the push of a button. Lutron has a control system that includes a “green” button that trims light levels down throughout the home.

Jeffrey Lee is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

Thomas Lighting. Part of the Tahoe family, this Energy Star–rated pendant uses three 13-watt CFL GU24 lamps. Tahoe is a transitional family able to complement both traditional and contemporary settings. With white alabaster glass and brushed nickel finish, its simple contouring and clean forms lend an air of sophistication to the home, according to the maker. 800.825.5844.

Cree. The LR6 downlight module for new construction and retrofit installs easily in most standard 6-inch recessed housings. The LED module delivers 650 lumens with 12 watts of power and is available in incandescent color (2,700K) or neutral color (3,500K). It is dimmable to 25% and has a CRI of 92. It is available with an Edison or GU24 base. 919.991.0700.