In Japan, a lot (if not most) rooms like kitchens and living rooms feature these big, overhead flourescent lights. When I first moved into a Japanese home I was a little shocked to see such an imposing, yet soft, source of light. They each cost a couple hundred dollars and seem to do a really good job lighting a room while sticking to a minimalist attitude.
The best thing in my mind was that they were neither incandescent nor the ugly, industrial flourescent tubes I had grown used to in the United States. The fact that they were everywhere and considered somewhat the default for home lighting made it clear that Japan was way ahead of the US in terms of consumer acceptance of energy-efficient lightning trends.
Now, Treehugger tells us about a new kind of overhead light. This light, from Panasonic, not only incorporates the other great features from lighting of this kind, but actively monitors the amount of light in the room and dims itself accordingly, so its never using any more energy than need be, saving up to 60% during an in house study on lighting that would constantly left on.
If you live in Japan you will be able to pick one up for about $400 bucks starting on the first of March. Anywhere else? I guess we’re out of luck.