Where Do I Start with Smart Lighting in My Home?
341 views | June 29, 2021

Where Do I Start with Smart Lighting in My Home?

This article will cover all smart lights-related aspects and how homeowners can select lights best suited for their needs.

When thinking about automating a home, make lighting the central focus. Lighting is the best place to begin because it's pivotal to the home's security, aesthetics, and functionality. Through lighting, a home can go from being bland and lifeless to stimulating and enjoyable.

With problems like climate change and depleted energy resources becoming more common, smart home products like light bulbs can reduce electricity consumption. These devices help homeowners track anything from the amount of electricity consumed to the hours they function.

This article will cover all smart light-related aspects and how homeowners can select lights best suited for their needs.

What Is Smart Lighting?

In many ways, smart lighting is similar to traditional lighting. They both provide a range of options, including color variety, bulb types, and light levels -- all while using less energy and reducing electricity costs.

However, these choices are where the similarities end. Smart lighting enables its users to monitor and control the lighting aspect of the home remotely. But this is one of many smart lights features; they can be automated, scheduled, and even voice-controlled.

Some smart lights include geofencing, which can automatically turn on and off the lights based on a smartphone's location. Other lights have sensors that turn lights on and off based on whether the room is occupied. And all intelligent lights enable users to turn the lights on and off from anywhere via mobile device.

Know Your Lights, And Your Needs

While smart lights on their own can make a world of difference, understanding how to use them to their full potential is vital.

It's also crucial to understand all available options of smart lights. The lighting one needs at home depends on different factors, including home layout, the homeowner's preference, budget, and the existing natural light in the living space. Looking at these factors separately, here are some tips that may help homeowners light their homes more effectively.

Apartment or House

Whether someone is looking to light a house or an apartment will impact the decision. Many lights work better in compact spaces than open spaces with more access to natural light. For example, track lighting works better than recessed lighting in an apartment. Typically, apartment owners don't have to worry much about outdoor lighting or lighting for security. They can focus more on aesthetics, ambiance, and functionality since there is a better chance that there will not be as much access to natural light.

Most, if not all, smart lighting systems allow remote access. This access enables users to turn certain lights on or off from their smartphone while on vacation. But why go through the trouble? Schedule the lights to activate at specific times every night to give the appearance that someone is home – the perfect deterrent for potential burglars.

Size and Color of Living Space

Another lighting aspect to consider is the look of the home or apartment. The color and intensity of the lights should complement the walls, flooring, and furniture so that it does not dull those aspects.1 Lighting should enhance each aspect, and smart lights offer the versatility needed.

Social and Professional Needs

With people spending more time at home, social and professional lighting needs need to be considered. So when choosing the type of lighting, lifestyle is an important aspect. More sophisticated lighting could be required for business work than someone who has a more artistic career and needs brighter, bolder lights. Separate rooms should also be considered for new lighting; smart lights are perfect for lighting many areas of the house.

The Benefits of Smart Lighting

In any home, lighting serves multiple purposes; it brings a house together in a way nothing else can. A house could have the most expensive furniture, flooring, and décor, and none of it would matter without the right kind of lighting. Smart lighting can enhance these aspects, which is why it has become so popular. But it also provides many other benefits that traditional lighting cannot.

Convenience

The best thing about smart lighting is the control aspect. Users can control smart lights remotely, from anywhere on a mobile device. An app in the user's smartphone or tablet will connect them to the lighting system in their home, and they do not even need to be in the house to control it. If a homeowner left the lights on or forgot to turn on the porch or backyard lights before leaving, all can be switched on or off from the user's smartphone.

Security

There are many ways through which lighting can enhance home security. Indoor smart lights can include motion sensors that activate when a room is occupied. They can be scheduled to automatically turn on or off at various parts of the day and night. Smart lights can be controlled remotely and through voice commands. These types of automation can make it seem as if someone is home when they are not.

If the focus is outdoor security lighting, there are many options. Some include solar-powered path lights, porch lights, LED floodlights, and many more. And each has unique automated security features.

Smarter Energy Consumption

The main benefit of smart products is energy conservation. Some devices are designed with built-in motion sensors and only turn on when they detect presence; others have geo-fencing technology, which tracks the user's smartphone's location and turns on/off accordingly. These lights are also environmentally friendly, can last much longer than standard lights, and produce less heat.

The Types of Smart Lights

Basic Bulb Types

The most common smart lighting options are smart bulbs and smart switches. The lighting a homeowner wants depends entirely on what fixtures they have to work with, unless the home is being renovated or built. Listed below are several types of light fixtures to understand better what kind of bulbs are used in which setting.

Chandeliers

Chandeliers typically use candelabra-style bulbs. The primary purpose of Chandeliers is to provide ambient lighting. They hang from the ceiling and direct light upwards, so they don't illuminate a space but add a soft glow to a room by reflecting light off the ceiling. They are usually placed over dining tables or in the center of halls to add a more sophisticated element.

Recessed

These are ceiling lights that typically use BR30 bulbs. They aren't installed on the surface of the ceiling – these lights require installation at least 6 inches above the ceiling, and the effect is a band of lights directed in a particular direction. These lights are most common in theatrical settings or for ambient purposes. Recessed lighting requires insulation to avoid condensation dripping into the fixture.

Sconces or Lamps

Light fixtures in lamps or sconces typically use standard A-19 bulbs. These are possibly the most common bulbs that are present in every house. Lamps are portable, practical, and can create a particular feel to any room.

White vs. Multicolored Lights

Smart lights give users diverse options when it comes to style, color, make, and intensity. Homeowners often have the opportunity to select what kind of lighting they want at any particular time and can easily control their lights to behave however they want. Several options can be convenient since, usually, different lights for different occasions have to be purchased and set up separately. Those lights are practically disposable and may need replacing often. Smart lights can include a vast range of colors and intensity to choose from.

Conclusion

Lighting has progressed dramatically over the past decade or so. Efficiency standards have improved; now, most bulbs are at least 25 percent more efficient. These new efficiency standards mean homeowners can easily save money by changing to energy-efficient light bulbs – which all smart bulbs are. And they use less energy to generate electricity, so they can help save the planet as well.

When planning a smart home, it's practical to start with lights since it's a small yet significant step. Yet, people often shy away from smart lights because the whole setup can be pricey. But typically, this is only true because of the cost of hubs, switches, and bulbs.

Energy-efficient bulbs may be slightly higher than old incandescent bulbs. Still, while the price may be higher, they cost less to operate, saving money over the bulb's life. Many of the newer bulbs last longer than traditional bulbs, so they won't need replacing as often.3

Thanks for reading. To learn more about smart lights and other smart home products, visit the FirstEnergy Home Learning Library.

© 2021 FirstEnergy Home


1 Ministry of Business, Inovation and Employment. Smart Guide: Smart Lighting Choices. Retrieved from https://www.smarterhomes.org.nz/smart-guides/power-lighting-and-energy-saving/smart-lighting-choices/
2U.S. Department of Energy. Lighting Choices to Save You Money. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/frequently-asked-questions-lighting-choices-save-you-money#changing
3Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable. How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/how-energy-efficient-light#:~:text=While%20the%20initial%20price%20of,to%20replace%20them%20as%20often.

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