Despite the Republican party’s best, yet misguided efforts, incandescent bulbs are on their way out. Energy-efficient lighting like CFLs and LEDs are fast becoming the norm, and it was only a matter of time before our lighting technologies needed an energy upgrade, too. Lutron Electronics, the inventors of the dimmer switch, have long been the industry leader for lighting controls, and they recently unveiled a new line of dimmer switches designed specifically for CFLs and LEDs. Putting form right in line with function, the switches have a clean, intuitive design that makes saving energy as easy as sliding your finger.

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Because the technology used in new light bulbs like CFLs and LEDs is so different than the typical incandescent bulbs, standard dimmer switches often times don’t work properly with new bulbs. Common problems include a reduced dimming range often giving only three settings (full light, half light, and off) instead of the normal full range. Moreover lights can drop off entirely if the dimmer switch is placed too low. Voltage changes can also cause dimmable bulbs to flicker, and in some instances the lights won’t turn on at all unless the dimmer switch is set at the full light position.

By comparison, Lutron’s new line of dimmers, called C·L, uses HED technology that features advanced dimmer circuitry to combat these issues and improve the dimming capabilities of all types of light bulbs. The new switches work with dimmable CFL, LED, halogen, and incandescent bulbs. Best of all, Lutron’s new dimmers do not cost any more than dimmer switches already available on the market.

You may think that dimming the lights can’t possibly save that much energy, but this is not the case. Even just installing one of Lutron’s dimmer switches can give way to a 5 to 9 percent energy savings over a regular light switch. And the more you dim, the more you save. If you dim a halogen bulb by 35 percent, you’ll see an energy savings of 28 percent. Lutron estimates that if every homeowner installed two dimmer switches in place of regular light switches the potential annual savings could be $1.5 billion in electricity, and close to 25 billion pounds of CO2—the equivalent to taking more than 1 million cars off the road!

The C·L line has already captured several industry awards, including the award for the 2011 Edison Best New Product in Energy and Sustainability and a 2011 Consumer Electronics Mark of Excellence. And for those of us who have already made the switch to CFLs and LEDs, Lutron’s new dimmers let us save even more energy while giving us the what we need to create a much needed calm and ambiance in our busy lives.

+ Lutron Electronics