Lutron Pulls the Plug on Motorized Shades (And Cuts the Cost)
Few home automation things – especially in a home theater – can match motorized shades for sheer (or blackout) sex appeal. Whether the shades are coming down in preparation for a movie, or going up after the movie is over, it’s difficult to avoid being mesmerized by the seemingly magical movement of the shade material. But motorized shades have traditionally had two major drawbacks: cost and installation issues (which add to the cost). Lutron’s new wireless motorized cellular shades give the treatment to expensive, difficult-to-install window treatments. The new shades are exciting for several reasons: They’re motorized! They’re affordable! They’re cordless! And I can install them myself! (Yes, I’m drooling over shades…)
Cordless? Yes, the new shades are battery operated; and, although the shades uses standard alkaline batteries, Lutron estimates the batteries will last approximately three years with standard usage. Lutron uses a new Triathlon battery technology in a system that’s so super-efficient it uses only 1/1,000th of a watt of power in standby mode. (Most other companies start to brag if they can get down to one watt.) When the shade’s internal circuitry senses that it only has enough power left for about one month of use, the shade open/close speed is reduced by half to alert the homeowner it’s time to replace the batteries.
Since the shades are battery operated, there’s no need for an ugly or inconvenient power cable that needs to be run to the drive motor. And because the cellular shades are much lighter than the traditional fabrics used on motorized shades, the entire shade assembly can be installed using only two small screws.
Here’s the best part. Lutron’s new shades start at $299 for shades that can be controlled remotely by an optional Lutron PICO remote ($25). Sivoia QS Wireless shades that can be used in conjunction with a Radio RA2 lighting control system start at $424. Reliable, attractive, affordable motorized shades are finally here. It looks like it’s curtains for all those other shades out there…