Dimmable Lights

Posted by Ted Shoemaker on July 18, 2013
Dimmable Lights
The German industrial association Initiative ELEKTRO+ reports new LED lights use up to 80% less energy.

People have different lighting needs at different times. They want brighter lights at the workplace, for example, than they do evenings in the living room. This is where the new energy-saving and LED light bulbs can play a role. The German industrial association Initiative ELEKTRO+ reports that these lights not only use up to 80% less energy, but also are more and more available in a variety of forms that make it easier to get lighting that’s appropriate to the room, the time of day and the activity.

Many of them can be dimmed, giving the user the choice of brightness at a given time and making them even more economical and long-lived. But “there are things a person must look out for in the use of the energy efficient lights,” said the Initiative’s Hartmut Zander. “Not all of the new lights are dimmable.”

He urges the buyer to be sure the bulb is specifically labeled dimmable, and that the dimmer chosen is appropriate for it. It is best of all when dimmer and bulb are specifically designed for one another. Failure to take these steps may result in an unpleasant flicker and an erratic dimming process. If there is any doubt, the Initiative recommends consultation with an expert.

A dimmer isn’t always necessary, reports Zander. With some bulbs you only need to flip the switch  multiple times to get up to four degrees of brightness. At the other end of the scale there are infrared- and radio-controlled dimmers, that not only manage several different lights at a time, but also perform such functions as the opening and closing electric jalousies. 


Ted Shoemaker is a now-retired writer and editor based in Frankfurt, Germany.

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