The Twenty-First Century Light Switch

Posted on March 4, 2013

Lutron MS-OPS2-WH Maestro
A British inventor created the light switch in 1884. Since then, technological innovation has exploded (sometimes literally). Mankind invented the television, the airplane, the laser and the computer. We went to the moon and cured polio. Yet, the light switch remains virtually the same. If you live in North America, up is on, down is off, and that’s just how things have always been.

Some people may question the need for change. Why meddle with a good thing? Well, as Sam Seaborn on West Wing preached, “’Cause it’s next. ‘Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what’s next.”

So what hath technology wrought to the light switch? Remote controls (click here). Seven day customizable programing (click here). Smartphone access (click here). At G@H, our favorite innovation is a rather simple one: occupancy sensors (click here). A G@H editor recently installed Lutron occupancy sensor light switches in three rooms: his laundry room, workshop and kitchen. He picked these rooms because (a.) he often forgot to turn off these lights, and (b.) the lights were only needed when someone was in the room. So far, so good. The switches were easy to install. They conserve energy and deliver convenience. Users can set how long an activated light remains on, control the light manually or disable the sensor. The switches even serve a security function. If a burglar, navigating the dark house, entered the kitchen and tripped the light, he likely would not wait around long enough to notice the sensor – especially in states with “Make My Day” laws (click here).

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