Today’s advanced lighting controls provide the adaptability to plan lighting arrangements that are functional, energy-saving, and beautiful. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the most common types of lighting controls that are out there and how they can help you to conserve energy and create the ambiance that you are looking for in and around your home.
What Can Lighting Controls Do?
There are a number of new technologies out there that make lighting controls that much more interesting, and they help to save a lot of energy and cash in the long run. One of the most innovative technologies is that of the motion sensor lights. These lights, as their names suggest, can sense when someone or something is coming in or out of a room so that you don’t have to worry about “turning off the lights” when you leave the room.
It used to be really pricey to get a lighting control system in your home, and people assumed it was only for those who could afford something “lavish.” As time has gone on, it’s also become a lot more inexpensive to set up your whole home with a lighting system. It couldn’t be at a better time either, because as the prices of these technologies are decreasing, the cost of energy is increasing. So while you may have to put a bit of upfront investment into the installation, the long term costs end up being a lot lower for you and your family.
Types of Lighting Controls
1. Basic Lighting Controls
It consists of a manual on/off switch. The occupants in the building must remember to turn them on when they enter the room and turn them off when they leave to save money with these types of lighting controls. Using energy-efficient light bulbs, like LEDs and CFLs, with basic switches, can help reduce electric bills.
2. Preset Lighting Controls
Preset lighting controls permit you to change the brightness of the lighting by a little slider that is by the flip switch. The switch permits you to turn the lights on and off, while the slider permits you to modify the intensity of the light. There are preset dimmers that you can use as well, which implies that you can set them at a preferred setting that will stay at the pre-set level each time you turn the switch on. That being said, these dimmers can also help you to save some energy when you don’t really need a lot of light in a particular area of your home.
3. Slide Lighting Controls
Slide lighting controls give full ranged, manual lighting control. Some are outfitted with a touch switch that permits you to come back to the past lighting level when the lights are turned on. Others have a light on them that makes it easy for you to find them when you come into the darkroom. They work the same way as the other dimmers, but instead of having preset lighting arrangements, you get to take control of exactly how much light you want in the room that you are in.
4. Occupancy Sensors
Occupancy sensors automatically switch on indoor lights when they detect motion and switch them off when the area is not occupied for a specified amount of time. Occupancy sensors controls provide convenience by turning on the lights when someone enters the room and turn off the lights when the last person leaves the room resulting in 35-45 percent energy savings.
5. Motion Sensor Controls
Motion sensor controls are used for utility and security lighting. It turns on lights when it detects motion and turns it off a little later. Motion sensor controls are needed when lights need to be switched on when it is dark, and some people are present.
6. Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches are a slightly more advanced technology to control room lighting. These switches allow an individual to slide the switch to their desired level of lighting that uses less electricity compared to a switch that is either fully on or fully off. When combined with LED light bulbs, dimmer switches can help control your building’s energy costs.
7. Touch Dimmers
Touch dimmers permit you to change how intense the light is without using a switch to do so. You just touch the little touchpad, and you can make the room lighter or darker. Touch lighting controls can also make it so that you can have light when you leave a room, and then it will turn off after a certain number of minutes so that you can save electricity and you don’t have to worry about walking around in the dark. Dimmers increase the lifespan of bulbs and provide significant cost savings when lights are used at a low level.
8. Integrated Lighting Controls
They permit you to make different preset lighting scenes inside a room. Scenes can be reviewed with the touch of a switch from a box or with handheld remote controls. A few makers have even begun offering these sorts of lighting controls that you can control from a cell phone or another mobile device, which makes them that much more versatile and interesting to use, and it could end up saving you a lot of time and money in the long run.
9. Networked Lighting Control Systems
This is the most advanced type of lighting control system, which can be part of a Building Automation System (BAS) package or designed as a stand-alone system. Networked lighting control systems allow the operators to control the lights from their computers or handheld devices that contain the lighting system software. Operators can turn lights on and off and set timers to control the lights. Advanced software programs can even store data and create usage charts so that energy usage can be precisely monitored.
These aren’t the only types of lighting controls that are out there, but they’re definitely the most common ones that you will find on the market today. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, and you will find that you can save a lot of money if you install these lighting controls into the different areas of your home. A qualified professional can help you decide which setups are best for your home arrangement and how you can save time and money by installing these incredibly handy devices.
Benefits of Using Lighting Controls
1. More energy efficiency
The golden rule for saving electricity is that the less time your lights are on, the lower will be your electricity bill. Lighting controls make it easy to know they’re on only when you need them.
You might forget to turn the lights off. With smart lighting, you can open the app and turn off lights even if you’re not in the house. Program a personal schedule on your timers and sensors or use vacancy sensors to trigger the lights to switch off when no one in the room. Also, whenever possible, dimers reduce the power to the lighting source, which will save energy, extend the bulb’s life and reduce the need for electrical maintenance or repair from overuse.
Additionally, according to British Telecommunications, smart light bulbs can be at least 80 percent more efficient than typical bulbs.
2. Personal preferences
Lighting control systems offer intuitive flexibility. Change the amount of light depending on the time of day. Color-changing smart light bulbs give you the creative freedom to set any kind of mood. Elevate your mood with bright lighting or relax with dimmed ambiance as per your choice. Think neon purple for dance parties, ambient yellow glow for movie night or your favorite team’s color on game day. You can program whatever you want at the push of a button.
3. More convenience
You can control your lighting system with ease on the devices you are comfortable, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Many systems also offer options of remotes or wall-mounted control centers to make it convenient to adjust in seconds.
Wireless switches don’t require complex cabling systems to install or maintain. Dimmers and energy-saving light controls make it easy to work from home in a well-lit, productive environment without wasting too much electricity.
The safety of the house means a lot as sensors can help navigate the house easily. To make your way to the bathroom in the night, a simple press of a button on the app can turn on the lights before you even leave your bed. You can also set your bedroom lights to mimic the rising and setting sun that you wake up and fall asleep naturally.
When you’re home, the exterior motion detectors turn on lights when someone walks by. This feature will alert you to suspicious activity and deter intruders from targeting your home. The U.S. Department of Energy recommended installing photosensors as they prevent outdoor lights from turning on during the daylight hours.
If you’re out of the station on vacation, setting your lights to turn on for a few hours each night can help deter anyone from taking advantage of your absence. While this feature will use up electricity, it will give the impression that someone is home.