news - March 2022
Smart Lighting: Automate the Experience
Whole-home lighting control, including outdoor lighting, should be considered in the early phases of a project.
By Steve Panosian
IT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT BY LIGHTING DESIGNERS that the first impression of a home has more to do with the lighting of the space than any other décor feature. Intelligently designed lighting can make a home feel modern, spacious, clean and welcoming. With new headways in lighting technology, what was once a periodic installment is now a wholly unique design feature to consider for the home. Not only does investing in a lighting design incorporating today’s LED fixtures lower the electricity bill, but it can also entirely transform the ambiance and quality of the space.
Smart Home Lighting Control requires the expertise of a designer’s vision, understanding the client’s preferences, factoring the architectural considerations, and of course, the technology designer who must manage the crucial step of automation planning. These early discussions define the scope of automation needs that involves working with the lighting and window treatments manufacturers, an automation company and the electrical contractor.
Each homeowner’s preferences differ in what piques their interest. The technology designer must introduce the merits of the lighting amenities and controlling light also means controlling motorized shades in the most popular rooms beginning with the kitchen and master bedroom. Whole-home lighting control, including outdoor lighting, must also be considered in the early plans and the pre-wiring step that should also factor any future needs.
Lighting Control Programming
The technology designer is responsible for the system control installation and its control programming. For instance, if the plan calls for the master bathroom control of the shower light, the vanity light, the high hats, the fan, the commode, whatever it might be, and if there are shades planned for the room, the lighting control must be programmed accordingly. Setting a time-of-day lighting level and color lighting hues, the lighting programmer sets how the dimmers and keypads will control each room’s light settings. There are always fine adjustments made after the initial programming that involves a “walk-through” tutorial with the client, and weeks after an installation is completed any further refinements can be performed remotely.
While lighting can be programmed for any time of the day, including fade control settings, there are more sophisticated lighting control solutions that can be programmed to automatically control lighting to align with human circadian rhythms that change throughout the various times of the year. Savant, as an example, their lighting is designed to improve wellness, too. A Daylight Mode allows homeowners to personalize their circadian rhythms based on the home’s geo-coordinates. It also connects circadian lighting to individual internal biorhythms that promotes well-being, reinforces health, and even nourishes the imagination. The Daylight Mode employs advanced logic that adjusts intensity and color temperature for a healthier sleep and wake cycle. Crestron also supports circadian rhythm lighting and dawn-dusk simulation that improves sleep energy and mood, the system sensors adjust the lighting to achieve just the right brightness.
Addressing home security, when people are away there are special settings that create the appearance that someone is always home. The design objective is to create the Vacation or Away Mode that is easily activated. A Vacation mode can be created so a couple of lights might go on during the day in the kitchen, and maybe the family room, too. It can also be controlled astronomically, so as soon as sunset hits, daily programming can turn the master bedroom lights on a Monday, another room’s lights on Tuesday, Wednesday, or any other day, with all the bedroom lights on, or any mix of settings for any day of the week.