Lighting Controls 101
The idea behind “smarter” homes is that you streamline and automate processes, which provide many benefits. Lighting controls are just one aspect of smart home technology.
When you implement lighting controls in your home, you can count onâ€¦
- Efficiency. Turn multiple fixtures on and off from multiple locations. Set “trims.” For example, you can dictate how bright your fixtures get or limit how far a fixture can dim down. Connect your lighting controls with other home technologies. For example, program your motorized shades in your south-facing windows to let light and warmth in during the winter and then have your lights slowly come on when the sun goes down.
- Convenience. Program and forget it (but know you can make adjustments whenever you need to). Set lighting schedules based on your own personal schedule, the seasons, or both.
- Energy savings. Worried that you left the lights on? With the touch of an app on your phone, you can check (and turn them off). Because you can program each one fixture-by-fixture, room-by-room, there’s no more wasted energy, which will help your wallet.
- Increased security. Just because you’re away, you don’t need to announce that fact to the world via a dark house. You can program lights to go on at certain times. Ditto for outside lights, such as path lights, which can help people see their way into the house safely. Likewise, if someone or something (like an animal) is skulking around your property in the middle of the night, motion sensors can trigger lights, which can deter/scare away the interloper.
Lighting Control Components
1. Keypads/Switches. Some look like light switches, and others include many more buttons. Keypads can be as simple as “on/off” and dimming. Others might include multiple “scenes” that you can set up (e.g. romantic, cozy, daytime, cooking).
When organizing keypads, think of it like this: Mix and match multiple lights in a certain area e.g. lights needed for cooking, lights needed when you’re entertaining, lights needed going down the hall to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You’ll want these “sets” of lights to be accessible with the touch of a button (no fumbling with large banks of switches).
Keypads can also include tiny wireless controls that fit in places where a regular-sized keypad might not fit, such as your car’s visor.
2. Central Control Unit. Also known as a bridge or processor, this is the “brain” of the system. It can be wired or wireless, depending on your needs and how many rooms or fixtures you want to control.
3. Wireless Access Point. The wireless access point allows wireless connectivity of keypads or other controllers. With an app, your phone/tablet can become a controller too.
4. Sensors. Think temperature sensors, daylight sensors, occupancy sensors, and more all can trigger your lights (as well as your thermostat and electronic shades). For example, an occupancy sensor in your laundry room or closet can turn on the lights when you enter and then turn off after you leave.
5. Software. Whether you’re looking at a wired screen or an app on your phone, the software inside is what allows you to control and access fixtures, thermostats, shades, and more
Are you interested in a lighting control system for your home? Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Consider how lighting controls would benefit your household routine. Do you use spaces in your home for a variety of tasks? For example, do you cook, entertain, and help the kids with homework in the kitchen? A keypad with different “scenes” can help you easily turn on the right fixtures for the right task.
- Consider other automated technologies that could work in conjunction with your lighting controls. Do you have other home technology systems (or are you considering other home technology systems) that you would like to integrate? Think thermostat, shades, and entertainment systems.
- Consider hiring pros. It might seem tempting to do it all yourself, but professionals know how to troubleshoot and work through challenges. Why invest in a smart home unless everything works seamlessly as it should?
Thanks to our recent merger with System 7 (which specializes in designing smart home technology) and The Boston Shade Company (which specializes in motorized shades), we can provide our customers with a one-stop “smart home” shopping experience. Get everything you need, including products, design, and installation from us.
Stop by our Waltham showroom to chat. Our sales consultants can answer your questions and help you determine next steps.
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