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New Lutron Facility Features Free Lighting Training

Jul 2, 2007 12:00 PM


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Lutron Electronics opened its fourth showcase/training facility last month in an 11,000-square-foot facility in Irvine, Calif. Joining Lutron Experience Centers in Plantation, Fla., Sao Paolo, Brazil, and company headquarters in Coopersburg, Pa., the facility will serve as a showroom for Lutron products, a training center for dealers and designers, and an education center for consumers and the trades. Custom installers, architects, and builders can use the facilities to educate consumers about lighting control in an experiential way. Appointments are required.

The Irvine Experience Center showroom section is built around 2,500 square feet of life-like vignettes depicting various rooms in a contemporary home, including a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and patio space. Programmed scenes provide real-life scenarios to demonstrate how lighting scenes work in a typical home.

During a press tour of the facility on opening day, Jackie Hill, Lutron customer education specialist, demonstrated lighting scenes and explained control features including vacation mode, astrological clock programming, security system, and garage door system integration and programmed pathways.

Part of Lutron’s mission with the hands-on center is to have consumers come away with a better understanding of lighting scenes. Hill used the iPod metaphor, comparing lighting scenes to the playlist on an iPod. Programmed lighting scenes for exercise, relax, and entertaining, he says, were akin to mood-based music environments for the same type of activities.

Energy savings has always been part of the Lutron lighting-control message, and the mantra carries more weight in the current environmentally conscious age. The company, which developed the first solid-state lighting dimmer for the residential market, emphasizes the benefits of dimming on both the lamp and energy usage sides. According to Kathy Leslie, Lutron director of customer education, dimming incandescent lights 10 percent saves 10-percent electricity and extends bulb life by two times. Dimming by 25 percent shaves 20 percent off the meter and extends bulb life by four times. Cutting light intensity by half shaves 40 percent off the electricity bill and boosts bulb life 20 times.

The tours also include demonstrations of Lutron’s Sivoia QED (Quiet Electric Drive) motorized shades The company wants consumers to see motorized shade control as another zone of light in a HomeWorks or RadioRA system. At the Experience Center, consumers and designers see and hear how the microprocessor-controlled shades move in unison and free of noise due to the motorless design. In the patio vignette, Lutron demonstrates how lighting keypads can operate ceiling fans and gas fireplaces, and even program other devices to operate on a timer.

According to Leslie, the company is considering catered consumer events with lighting designers as the guest speakers. The designers would discuss subjects such as techniques of lighting design and how color can change the mood of a space. The best lighting design, Leslie says, is that which highlights the elements consumers want to emphasize in a room, including artwork and architectural design.

Training sessions will also be held at the Irvine location. Currently, Lutron doesn’t charge for its training sessions. Dealers can fund transportation and lodging costs out of co-op funds.



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