Lighting Control

Why Does One Need A Lighting Control System?

One-button Control

The number one reason is the all-off button, whereby the homeowner is able to turn off all the lights in the house with the touch of a single button. The command can also be tied into other aspects of the home, such as a whole-house audio system, which the owner may wish to shut down at the same time as the lighting within the home.

Simplicity

One button may control many functions simultaneously. For example, the owner can create scenes, which are groupings of lights that are pre-set in a coordinated manner. Scenes may also involve other aspects of the home such as drapes or audio/video systems through the use of a home integration system.

Atmosphere

Most people recognize that lighting is crucial in setting the mood of a room or area of the home. Lighting control systems allow residents to set precise levels for accent and task lighting, as well as ambiance, so that these settings may be called up quickly and easily depending on the activity planned for the space, in accordance with one’s interest or desire.

Visual Aesthetics

Initially, lighting in the home was just a single point in the ceiling. Eventually sconces came into vogue, followed by recessed lighting, which resulted in many more switches on walls. A lighting control system eliminates the wall clutter of these multi-gang switches which can intrude on a design scheme.

Security

Special lighting control scenes can be triggered by an alarm system. By pressing one button on the lighting keypad (or an alarm trip), one can have all the lights go into a flashing mode so that police can see which house on the street is having trouble. Also, the homeowner is able to turn on all the exterior lights with the press of a single button flooding the entire perimeter of the home with light. In addition, one could have all the interior lights come on at once at full brightness.


Saving Energy

Few people realize that by dimming incandescent lights by ten percent, one is able to double the lamp life of the bulbs (as well as save ten percent in energy cost). Dimming by 25 percent increases lamp life by four times (saving 20 percent in electricity); and dimming by 50 percent boosts lamp life by twenty times (while saving 40 percent energy). A ten percent reduction in light level is not detected by the human eye, which perceives the light at full brightness. This is important for areas such as a room with high ceilings.

Activities (or Scenes)

It is important that architects, lighting designers, and homeowners understand the concept of a lighting zone. A zone is any group of lights that work in unison; it is not an electrical circuit. For example, a zone could be two sconces in a dining room and a chandelier might be another zone. If there is recessed lighting, it could constitute a third zone. All three zones work independently, but the lighting control system can operate the three zones in unison.

When we take these three zones and put them together, we create a scene. A scene is a group of zones (lights) which transition to preset levels at the push of one button. The scene is used to create a mood or functional lighting without the need to reset the level of each light every time. This could apply to a single light, or to hundreds of lights.

Scenes can also activate motorized drapes or shades, audio/video equipment, or other equipment in the home. By controlling drapes or shades, one is able to affect the lighting of the room, as well as act to protect fabrics, artwork, or other light-sensitive possessions.

Popular scenes include:

  • Entertaining - Lighting is used to enhance architectural and decorative elements of the home. Also, multi-level entertaining buttons are used to control variations or sequences of lighting for entertaining.
  • Movies - For watching movies, light levels are reduced sharply or else extinguished completely at the touch of a single button.
  • Elegant Dining - Lighting can be arranged in a series of settings to accent food presentation areas, adjust to candlelight, encourage conversation, and facilitate serving and cleanup.
  • Artwork Presentation - Old-fashioned clamp-on lamps fail to illuminate artwork properly. Today there are many fixtures that provide excellent lighting for hanging art, including some with bright halogen lamps.
  • Reading - Everybody has a favorite setting for reading. Lighting control systems separate settings for each individual, according to his/her preferences.