Upgrading your lighting control system can significantly enhance your home: creating elegance and ambiance; providing control and convenience; and most importantly, improving the energy efficiency of your home. Thus, a smart-lighting system should be a consideration during every renovation project.
Home renovations offer the perfect opportunity to upgrade a room’s lighting system. During a renovation, you have opportunities to upgrade wiring and/or fixtures, which are not possible after the renovation is completed.
However, you do not need to wait until you are renovating to upgrade your lighting system. There are many “plug and play” systems that allow you to add automation to existing electrical systems.
Because of the benefits smart-lighting offers, it makes sense to add automation to your entire house; however, you do not need to do it all at once. It is a better strategy to focus on one room at a time, starting with areas undergoing renovations.
The best time to discuss home automation is during the early planning stage of any home renovation. Having a clear plan will set the parameters for selecting light fixtures and help avoid panic and additional project costs.
As you engage into learning more about home automation, make sure to use quinju.com easy home renovation planner tool, it is free and will help keeping everything organized and in one place. It is the ultimate online home remodeling tool for homeowners.
One of the simplest changes you can make towards creating a greener and more sustainable home is to eliminate incandescent lights bulbs by upgrading to LED lighting. LED bulbs last 25 times longer, emit less heat, and use 75 – 80% less energy to operate.
For most homeowners, this sounds like an easy decision…until they go to purchase the LED bulbs. The first hurdle to get over is the overwhelming selection of bulbs to choose from. The second hurdle to get over is the initial investment required to purchase these bulbs. Those two hurdles have sent many homeowners running the other way.
The lighting industry’s attempt to better educate consumers has resulted in more confusion. The industry is working to eliminate this consumer confusion through better and clearer labeling on the packages. Despite all the numbers, the only information the consumer needs to focus on is the wattage equivalent and the bulb type.
As for the cost of the LED bulbs, you need to remember that this is an investment not just a purchase. While LED bulbs can cost 5 or 6 times as much as an incandescent bulb, the long term savings are certainly worth the investment.
One homeowner reported that after factoring in the longevity of the bulb and the significant power savings, he calculated that over a 10 year period one incandescent bulb will cost him $128 to purchase and run, while one LED bulb would only cost $40. Now multiply that by the number of bulbs in your home.
Switching to LED bulbs not only makes a significant impact on your wallet, it also will make a priceless impact on the future of our planet. Both are great investments.
While LED bulbs will certainly reduce the power used when your lights are on, to truly maximize your home’s energy conservation, you also need to control how much the lights are on. “Smart-home” technology provides control over your home’s lighting system, ensuring lights are on when needed and off when not needed.
Elegance and Ambience
Home decorators identify three types of lighting that need to work together to effectively illuminate a space, creating elegance and ambience to your home. (American Lighting Association)
· Ambient Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as general lighting, it radiates a comfortable level of brightness without glare and allows you to see and walk about safely. In some spaces such as laundry rooms, the ambient lighting also serves as the primary source of task lighting.
· Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, working on hobbies, playing games and paying bills.
· Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of an interior design scheme, it is used to draw the eye to houseplants, paintings, sculptures and other prized possessions. It can also be used to highlight the texture of a brick or stone wall, window treatments or outdoor landscaping. Accent lighting is usually a very soft lighting.
Traditional lighting systems usually include separate light fixtures to achieve these three different types of lighting. However, smart-lighting provides more flexibility, thus allowing the same fixture to be used to achieve more than one function.
Control and Convenience
A good lighting plan combines all three types of light requiring many different light sources all individually controlled for power, brightness, and even color to accommodate your constantly changing moods and activities. To manually control all these lights would be an exhausting and endless task.
Smart-lighting gives you complete control. By pre-programming “scenes”, you have the power to perfectly match all your lights to your mood and activity with the push of a button from almost anywhere. Whether relaxing, entertaining, watching television, or reading, your lighting is always customized to your liking.
Smart-lighting should be considered for every room of the home, starting with the most commonly used areas like the kitchen, family room and basement. Even your outdoor areas will benefit from smart-lighting with features like motion control, light sensors, and even individual preferences.
Smart-lighting is not just a cool “toy” for millennials. It adds control and convenience to your life, it enhances the overall elegance and ambience of your home, it increases your home’s security, and it helps to reduce energy spending and wastage. But let’s not kid each other…it is pretty cool too.
Be SMART about your Smart-Lighting
The functionality and features available in smart-home technology is almost limitless and growing by the day. If you can dream it, it is either already available or being developed somewhere. However, the more you want from your smart-home technology, the more it will want from you in the form of money.
The key to controlling your costs, is to be “smart” in the planning and implementation of your “smart technology”. This starts with clearly understanding the functionality you need and want from your system, and not getting distracted by all the other possibilities and options available.
The term, “do it right the first time” should never apply to technology, because by time your project is done, newer technology is already available. Instead, the saying should be, “do what is right for you and your home, the first time.” Manufacturers spend as much time creating upgrades to systems as they do creating new systems.
Sometimes you need to apply some creativity in order to get the functionality you want, at the price you are willing to pay. For example, if you have a room with 10 recessed pot lights, to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and install 10 “smart-lighting” devices each with its own hub, it will cost you over a thousand dollars (10 x $100 each). However, to purchase 10 “dumb” recessed lights at $25 each and one “smart” wireless controllable dimmer switch at $49, you are able to achieve basically the same functionality for less about $300.
There are many different systems and products available for you to choose from. The only way to know which system is right for you is to get educated by researching the various systems available. You can upload all your research documents into quinju.com for quick and easy access at later times.
When selecting a light control system, focus on 3 things:
- Aesthetic Appearance
Enhancing your home with smart-lighting is also an excellent way to increase the value of your house. Surveys show that 35% of people consider smart-lighting as an important feature in home, however only 5% of homes currently have smart-lighting technology. Smart-lighting is a desired feature that will separate your home from all the others.