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Archive for the 'Going Green' Category

Making Your Life A Little Easier

April 11, 2011

Have you ever left your home or office and forgot to shut off a light and lower the thermostat?  What about making a trip or two around to make sure that everything's off before you leave?  Now imagine just pressing one button near the door and having all the lights and unwanted loads shut off, and lowering the thermostat - how convenient!

Everyone these days is thinking about ways to save money.  Now, with an affordable system from Lutron, you can control the majority of energy usage in your home or office and not use any more than you absolutely need.  The system will assuredly pay for itself, and you'll love the added convenience and control too.

RadioRA 2 Keypad

Custom design at entry-level prices.  The Lutron RadioRA 2 system is very scalable (click here for a great system diagram).  This means that you can have a basic or "starter" system installed for a low cost.  When you are ready to add devices, this can be done very easily.  The system will work great to control only a few lights, or it provides complete control for larger installations.

How does it work?  The RadioRA 2 switch devices and keypads replace your existing light switches.  (They are also available in many different colors to match any decor.)  They communicate wirelessly with each other through the main "brain" of the system, which is a small box with an antenna that is mounted in an inconspicuous location.  There are also wireless keypads that do not have to be mounted on a wall - these are either powered by standard AAA batteries or with an included plug-in power adapter.  These tabletop keypads provide convenient, portable control of your system with backlit buttons and personalized engraving.  (Engraving and backlights are available on all keypads.)  You can even have a car visor transmitter, so you'll never have to come home to a dark house ever again.

Automatically turn lights on and off.  Completely wireless occupancy and vacancy sensors can be added to this system.  In the past, wiring would have to be installed from either the light fixture or the switch to the desired location of a motion sensor.  With this revolutionary technology, all you need is a couple of screws to secure the sensor to the wall or ceiling - no wires needed!  Plus the battery lasts for years, so there is minimal maintenance required.  You can even program the built-in timeclock to automatically turn off lights when they're not needed, such as exterior lights at sunrise.

seeTemp ControlsThermostat control now available.  At the time of writing this (May 2011), just in the past month Lutron has added thermostat controllability to this great system.  You can place a wireless temperature sensor in a practical location to sense temperature, and control you HVAC system wirelessly with an attractive control interface (available in all the same colors).  Please click here for the thermostat brochure.

If you have any questions whatsoever, or would like a free system design and estimate, please contact us.

Controlling Your World Part 1: Lighting

March 10, 2011

Shade Control

If you're like me, you may be getting a little sick of hearing the term "go green" or "green living" -- but there is an advantage to it.

Automation Systems are not solely about comfort and convenience anymore.  Sure, you can do some pretty amazing and impressive tasks when your systems and components work harmoniously, but the true advantage lies in the realized savings.  Plus, you can start with a basic system and add onto it as you like.

The facts about lighting.  Lighting can account for anywhere between 20 - 50% (or more) of total energy used in homes and offices.  For some buildings over 90% of lighting energy consumed can be an unnecessary expense through over-illumination!

KeypadsEnter the solution.  There are many ways to save energy throughout a home or office space; from dimmers, occupancy sensors and entire light control systems, to window solutions that manage daylight and help control heating and cooling costs.  Replace a single light switch with any dimmer and potentially save $30 a year (per dimmer).  For guaranteed savings, Lutron's line of eco-dim® solutions automatically reduces your energy by 15% or more.  Combine dimmers, timers, sensors, and window shades to maximize your energy efficiency.

Available for any location, new or existing.  The great thing about today's technology is that everything can be wireless.  In the past reliability was an issue, but technology has come a long way.  Lutron's RadioRA 2 is a wireless light control system that provides convenient and intuitive control of lights, shades, appliances, and temperature in a single room or throughout a whole home.  It installs easily, programs quickly, and operates reliably thanks to its highly reliable RF technology.  Plus, there is a design to match every decor.  For a brochure on Lutron's RadioRA 2 system, click here.

iPhoneIf it can't be measured, it can't be improved.  Keeping tabs on your energy consumption is key; the ability to monitor the energy you use is an extremely helpful tool in reducing your costs.  Even Google has entered the Green marketplace with Google PowerMeter.  There are so many awesome new products being developed that will offer complete connectivity at very reasonable prices.

Kermit was wrong when he said "It's not that easy being green" - it's easy now and it's only going to get easier!  Systems are completely scalable, and you can pay for your system in a relatively short period of time from the savings alone.  Plus, you'll love the controllability you'll experience.  Stay tuned for further info -- there's some exciting things on the horizon.

If you have any questions about the above topics, or for just some simple ideas on how to save money, please feel free to contact us.

A Very Smart Purchase

July 26, 2010

OK, so everybody’s trying to “go green” these days. You’ve done pretty well yourself haven’t you? You have re-usable fabric bags for your groceries, you refill your refillable water bottle from your faucet water filter, you have a programmable thermostat installed, and you’ve even screwed in a few of those spiral-twist compact fluorescent bulbs.

Or maybe you haven’t.

Even if going “green” is not high on your priority list, I bet you that saving money is. It’s a proven fact that no matter what type of light bulb is used, one that is off always uses less power!

I don’t know about you, but I get very upset with myself when I forget to turn off the lights when I leave a room, wasting electricity and adding to that month’s electric bill. This problem is easily solved with the simple installation of an occupancy sensor (some brands even call it a vacancy sensor).

When I tell you that there is a solution for every situation, there really is. To make things simpler, the world of occupancy sensors can be boiled down to two types: wall-mount sensors, and ceiling-mount sensors.

An existing wall switch can be replaced with a unit that fits right into the existing switch box. There are many different technologies that exist now to avoid nuisance shut-offs when you still might be in that room. The older sensors of years past, with the technology of their day, might have certainly caused these types of annoying shut-offs. We actually have a sensor installed in our home office that will sense slight hand movement from more than 20 feet away, and it always “knows” when someone is or isn’t in that room. Plus, you can change the timer on the unit to shut off in a few seconds or a few hours. That’s pretty impressive.

The other type of occupancy sensor that is available is mounted in or on the ceiling. This version is decidedly more of a “commercial” application, but of course this technology can be used anywhere. The benefits of a ceiling-mounted sensor is that you can really focus on an area where motion will be detected. For instance, where a wall-mounted unit might not recognize movement because of the location of the existing switch box, the ceiling unit can be put directly in a spot where it will guarantee to pick up motion.

A really cool new product that just came out is the best of both worlds:

 

No Wires, No Batteries, No Limits

The product shown above is truly an innovation. Basically, it’s a solar-powered ceiling sensor unit which never needs batteries. The ceiling sensor unit “talks” to the corresponding wall switch unit that replaces your existing switch. This allows for ultimate flexibility and control, and saves the possibility of having to cut holes in walls and ceilings to run wires. There are no wires!

In our opinion, an occupancy sensor is one of the smartest purchases you can make. Lighting energy is a major portion of an electric bill – it’s sometimes even the largest portion.

Like I said before – no matter what type of light bulb is used, a light bulb that is off always uses less power!