ON ITS OWN, A LIGHTING CONTROL SYSTEM is a remarkably smart, versatile, and just a: plain cool piece of smart home technology. In an instant, it can illuminate your house perfectly for any occasion–be it a birthday party or a night on the couch with a book. It can create an easily navigable pathway from bedroom to the kitchen, or anywhere in between. It can evoke mood, create ambiance, and accentuate your home’s most pleasing elements of architecture. But as awesome as a lighting control system is, automated illumination represents just a small part of its full potential. When paired and synced with other electronic devices and systems, a lighting control system can help protect your family and your home, conserve energy, improve the efficiency of your household, and enhance the entertainment value of your audio and video equipment.
Better Home Protection
Tip 1: Functioning autonomously, a lighting control system can protect your home during a vacation by turning lights on and off in a pattern that mimics occupancy. It can also ensure safe, stumble-free travel in and around your house at night by automatically lighting pathways from the driveway to the front door, from the bedroom to the kitchen, and anywhere else you frequent. When a lighting control system is tied to a home security system, however, its protection capabilities skyrocket. Here’s how:
Tip 2: Should a smoke alarm go off during the night, your home’s lights can illuminate an escape route from the bedrooms to the front door, ensuring that you and your family can exit quickly and safely. Additionally, the exterior lights can flash to help emergency responders find your house.
Tip 3: Every home security system relies on motion sensors to watch for and report: evidence of unwelcome visitors in and around your home; these same sensors can be: used to control the lights. For example, when the security system is off, the sensors can be used to activate lights in stairways, hallways, and other areas as someone steps into their field of view. This hands-free method of operating the lights is helpful when you’re carrying a basket of laundry, bags of groceries, and other items that make it difficult to manually flip a switch.
Tip 4: Also consider utilizing security sensors to make your house feel safer and more welcoming. Nobody likes to walk into a dark house, so the outdoor sensors that watch for motion as part of your home security system can be also used to switch on certain exterior lights, the fixtures in the foyer, and so on.
Tip 5: The worry over those mysterious “bumps in the night” you sometime hear can be laid to rest quickly by pairing a “panic” switch near your bed with select lights. Just tap the switch, and the exterior lights can flood the backyard, for example. Chances are, the noise was just a tree branch banging against a window, but being able to activate several lights at once brings bountiful peace of mind.
Enhanced Efficiency and Energy Savings
Tip 6: You left the house in a hurry. Did you remember to turn off the lights? Probably not. A lighting control system on its own allows you to deactivate every light in the house with the single touch of a button on a keypad by the front door or on the screen of your smartphone. When paired with a home control system, this same button press can turn off any A/V equipment that might have been left on, adjust the thermostat, and activate the electronic lock on the front door. A similar all-off scenario can simplify your bedtime routine, as well.
Tip 7: On a bright and sunny day, leave the fixtures off and use the sun to naturally illuminate your home. This is easy enough to do without the help of a lighting control or home automation system–simply open the blinds and turn off the lights. But you’ll realize greater energy savings and enjoy the effects of perfectly choreographed lighting if you put technology in charge. Here’s how: Using sensors to measure the amount of sunlight available, a home control system can brighten and dim your home’s lights automatically to compensate. For example, on a cloudy day, the system might set the lights to a 70 percent intensity level; on a partly sunny day, just 20 percent.
Tip 8: Speaking of percentages, dimming your home’s lights by just 10 percent can shave this same amount off your electricity bills. Dim by 20 percent, save 20 percent–and without impacting the quality of the light. In other words, your eyes won’t notice the difference of a slightly dimmer light fixture, but your bank account will. When your home’s lights are tied to a home control system, dimming can happen automatically based on occupancy, the time of day, and other conditions.
Tip 9: Motorized window shades and drapes can contribute to the savings and help: create the perfect balance between artificial and natural lighting in your home. A home automation system can
instruct the window treatments to adjust in sync with the lights: for example, opening to allow sunlight to enter a space while turning off the lights. This setup is referred to as daylight harvesting.
Greater Entertainment Value
Tip 10: Think of all the activities that take place in your home. Now think about how lighting impacts these activities. You like the lights bright in the kitchen while you’re cooking, dim when you’re relaxing on the couch, and all the way off when you’re watching a movie. A lighting control system allows you to set these and other “scenes” by touching a button on a handheld remote, a touchpanel mounted to the wall, or a special app on your smartphone or tablet. Easy, yes, but you can enhance the effect by weaving your home’s A/V equipment, gas fireplace, motorized shades, and other equipment into the scenes–doable from a home automation system.
Tip 11: It’s easy to throw an impromptu party when you can count on a lighting control and/or home automation system to prep your house. In the time it takes to pull out your phone and hit the Party button, your house can be ready–light set perfectly, music pumping, and the security system off–for gatherings large and small.
Tip 12: When your guests leave, it’s just as easy to clean up and close up the house for the night when the lights and other equipment can be controlled easily from your phone, a keypad, or a handheld remote. Just tap the All Off button and the home automation system will sweep through the house ensuring that everything–lights, A/V equipment, thermostats, and security system–are set for the night.
Investing in a system that provides easy management and control over your home’s lights is empowering, practical, and smart–especially when you integrate the operation of the lights with other electronic systems. You’ll be able to tap one button to prepare your house for a party, bedtime, and other activities, while having the peace of mind that your house is well protected and secure.