Many home technologies boost convenience and safety. Others reduce energy costs. And some improve aesthetics. Lighting control is one of the few that can do all of this and more. Many homeowners who are building luxury homes purchase lighting control systems simply because they feel it is an expected feature for resale. What they fail to realize is that a lighting control system is one of the best amenities they can purchase for their home. After all, you use lights every single day, right? Why not make it easier and more functional?
Here are some of the greatest features of a lighting control system that any homeowner can appreciate.
Lighting Control Systems Are Easier
The biggest misconception about lighting control is that it is complicated. This could not be further from the truth. For example, a kitchen typically has 4 to 5 dimmers on the wall. This means one dimmer each to operate ceiling lights, under-counter lights, counter pendants, breakfast nook lights, cabinet lights… etc. So, when you walk into your kitchen it is always a process to figure out what each dimmer controls and then tweak them to whatever brightness you want depending on the time of day and the task at hand. A lighting control system can simply give you a high, medium, and low option (labeled!) so that a single press puts on all the lights at the dimming level you desire.
A single press of the “off” button can turn off all lights in the room. If the system is programmed correctly by your integrator, your lights are the easiest thing in your home to operate.
Lighting Control Eliminates the Need for Constant Timer Adjusting
Most homes use mechanical timers for exterior lighting. These timers are great to turn your outside lights on every evening…if the sunset was always at the same time. Most folks find it very frustrating to always adjust these timers as the sunset keeps getting later in the spring and summer and earlier in the fall and winter. A lighting control system uses an astronomical time clock. What is that you ask? An astronomical time clock tracks the time the sun sets and rises every day based on your zip or postal code. This allows you to set your lights to turn on based on the actual time it will get dark. So instead of setting your timer to 6:00 PM, you would set it to “15 minutes before sunset.” Conversely, you can set your lights to turn off “5 minutes before sunrise.” No adjusting for daylight savings time ever!
Safety and Convenience
A huge benefit of a lighting control system is to control your entire house with a single button press. Do you hate running around every night before bed and turning off lights? How about a single button next to your bed that does that for you and is labeled “Goodnight”? Sounds nice, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if it also kept your bathroom light on at 10% so you could make a middle-of-night bathroom trip without having to flip on lights? It can do that too. Hear a bump in the night or smell smoke? A bedside button that is labeled “security” can turn all the lights on to 100% for a safe exit or scare away a potential intruder.
“Home” or “Away” buttons by the front door or garage are super convenient to light up multiple rooms or turn everything off as you enter and exit your home. An “Entertain” button is also a popular option. Light up your house perfect for a party without having to run into each room before your guests arrive.
Note that all this functionality can also be triggered using your voice for easy hands-free control. Additionally, motion sensors can be placed in key areas of the home to automatically turn on certain lights as you enter hallways and rooms (and then turn them off automatically again when no motion is detected).
A bank of plastic dimmers is not pretty. With a lighting control system, you can turn that big ugly bank of dimmers into a sleek and simple keypad. The look is cleaner and a lot more elegant. Many manufacturers offer beautiful keypads in designer colors or metal finishes that add to your home’s decor without sacrificing any functionality.
And, for a completely custom look, there are also third-party sources. Major control companies such as Lutron and Crestron can use custom inputs to control lights. For example, while the lighting controls from one of our projects (a historic mansion turned bed & breakfast) look like early 20th century pushbuttons with engraved brass plates, they are inputs for a centralized lighting system (they also control shades and music too!)
This article contains information originally posted by the Home Technology Association (HTA). Mills is certified by the Home Technology Association, which recognizes the very best technology integration firms in the United States. The HTA vetting process requires demonstrated excellence in the design, installation, and support of systems, and includes extensive interviews with customers, design professionals, and manufacturers. Mills was the first firm to achieve this certification in Illinois.