SMART LIGHTING CONTROL, while not exactly a new technology, has grown to become one of the most important features in a home control system. Smart lighting solutions can enhance a home’s décor and security, while making management of the lights much easier. New lighting control systems truly are smart and a great way to add value to your home.

Here are a few application examples made possible by home control systems:

AMBIENCE AND DÉCOR: While your lighting devices (lamps, sconces, chandeliers) should look nice, the quality and color of the light they emit can be just as much a part of your home’s interior design as the artwork and furniture—and the best part is that you can change the look on the fly.
Something as simple as the color of your walls can change dramatically based on the light quality in the room. If you want to change the feel of the room, change the lighting level. You can do it yourself by installing a standard wall dimmer or for mobile control, try a smart dimmer and app. For additional functionality, have your installer design multiple-room scenes that will adjust the light at the press of one button. Such versatility is just as important and impressive for outdoor lights as for indoor. Some of the most common light scenes are party, morning, dinner and of course, goodnight. Many control systems also allow you to use a combination of lighting and music as part of your wake up routine. Who would want to start the day with the bedroom lights on full blast when you can have them slowly wake up along with you?

With new color changing light options, your lights can complement your lifestyle in new, colorful, ways. Let’s say you like the living room lights to dim low, but not off, when watching TV. Set up a “TV” light scene that turns the lights to a dim blue or green that can satisfy your need for a dark room while still keeping it lit up enough so you can find your remote. Plus…it also looks cool! Adding color options to lighting scenes can be done in several ways, both by professional integrators or with some basic do-it-yourself products.

EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION: Lots of fun things can be done using lights in combination with motion or contact sensors. For instance, an automation system with smart lighting can be programed to turn on a pathway of lights based on motion sensors outside. Those can serve both as a security measure— turning on bright food lights when an unexpected visitor approaches, or as a welcome routine when a car pulls into the driveway at night. The sensor will relay a message to the control system that tells it to turn on your entryway lights and any other lights you like as you walk in the house.

Another example is a home theater or media room in a basement. Have the stairway light linked to a contact sensor that automatically turns on when the door is opened. For added customization, you can have the stair light timed to go out after a reasonable time, say one minute, while the main theater lights stay on until you start a movie, then they can automatically dim down for movie viewing.

Whether away or at home, lighting control can be a valuable part of your home security system. When away, you can program your lights to automatically come on at set times, and even have them turn on/off at random times, to give the house a more lived-in look than simple timers can do. Another alternative is a motion sensor integrated with your lighting control system. Any intruders lurking around entryways will be sure to steer away if a bright light is shined on them.

Aside from criminal activity, you can use your lighting system to provide warnings or notifications of other events. Maybe you have small children who get up in the middle of the night. A motion sensor can turn on a hall light so your child can see, and also turn on a small light in the master bedroom to alert you that your child is stirring.

Yes, your lights can be programmed to communicate things to you based on events or preferences. Let’s say you spend a lot of time listening to loud music or movies and know you can’t hear the doorbell (or driveway gate, depending on the size of your house). You can have a light in your media room programmed to flash once or twice when someone rings the doorbell. If your home automation programmer wants to make it even more customized, he or she can make sure the flash only happens when the media system is playing so the lights don’t flash unnecessarily.

If you stop thinking of lights as simply something to turn on and instead as part of a dynamic system that responds to your needs, the creative ideas are endless.

EH Staff  •  October 25, 2015  •



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