Most clients want smart lighting throughout their homes for both the interior and exterior spaces, where there are budget constraints, some clients will restrict smart lighting to the most used areas of the home usually the like kitchen living room any open plan family rooms and hallways and sometimes the master bedroom.
How is it done?
Usually, a needs assessment meeting is held with the client once they have their floor plans, if they already have electrical drawings, we go through the lighting allocation in the drawing-room by room and make recommendations based on the client’s requirements. If no electrical drawing is available, we have a clean slate and can design the lighting based on the client’s needs and wants these are a mixture of practical everyday living, comfort, and security.
Smart lighting systems may be complicated to design and install but to the user they should be simple and intuitive to use.
Smart lighting also gives easy access to preconfigured scenes that can be recalled with a single touch of the button to change the mood or lighting intensity in different parts of the home.
Useful or Gimmick?
Smart lighting is not a gimmick, its useful for controlling budgets, ambience, and security.
Having a single view of the lights that are on or off in all parts of the house from your phone whether you are at home or away can help with saving money as it allows you to switch lights off when and where they are not needed.
Security, advanced programming like ‘Holiday Mode’ – which records normal lighting activity that can then be replayed to provide security.
Convenience, some advanced features of the lighting system include a full astronomic clock allowing timed events to be programmed either at a fixed time or based on Dawn/Dusk cycles. You can also have a “goodnight” button programmed at your bedside smart light switch and at your front door that switches off all the lights except security and scheduled lighting scenes.
The most expensive lighting system is one done without planning. Competent home integrators can help plan the lighting system and with an understanding of the client’s requirement, a lot can be achieved.
There are different smart lighting systems available offering different levels of interaction and integration as needed by the client; there are wired and wireless systems and systems that will use existing non-smart wall switches to full-blown touch screen interactive switches.
Also, the wiring can be prepared so smart lighting modules can be added as the budget allows for after the project is finished, a smart design makes it easy to start with as small as the client can afford to allow for additions as the budget allows, it’s all in the wiring design, a lot of smart lights allow for modular installation which is expansion friendly.
Dream vs Reality
Custom installers and system integrators all love to work with a blank canvass, but the reality is retrofitting must be done in cases where smart lighting has come into consideration only after the project is finished. It’s always better if lighting is considered and planned at the early stages of the project but if not, many retrofit solutions can be used where there is already a decorated home.
Smart lighting is generally a good idea, but there are some rooms where it wouldn’t make sense to have integrated smart lighting e.g. utility rooms guest cloakrooms garages are some examples, in these rooms a simple PIR (passive infrared sensor ) should do the trick as they are used occasionally the lights turn on as they sense your presence and turn off after a set number of minutes once the room is unoccupied. In a way PIRs were the very 1st types of smart lights…