You may think home automation is all about convenience and luxury. While that is undeniably true, automation also has real benefits in energy efficiency and security. Perhaps the one area of home automation that delivers on every one of these benefits is smart lighting control.
It may come as no surprise that smart lighting is the catalyst that gets homeowners to invest in other smart home features. Once people experience the added convenience and comfort, they want more! And more smart control brings increased benefits, as features like climate control, motorized shades, and automated AV management bring added convenience, luxury, and efficiency when it all works together.
Let’s explore some ways you can use lighting automation to simplify and enhance your Chicago, IL lifestyle.
We work with Lutron for lighting control, as the company has been a pioneer and leader in lighting control and automation for decades in residential and commercial environments. Lutron makes a variety of occupancy sensors that detect if a room is occupied. Think of bathroom and kitchen lights – is your family diligent about turning them off when they leave? Sensors can do the job for you. And it’s not about one light. A sensor can trigger an automation sequence that turns off a set of lights of your choosing. So, if you always want a dimmed nightlight in the bathroom, that can stay on. Better yet, that one only stays on when it’s nighttime.
Outside lighting can serve many purposes. It enhances curb appeal and safety when the sun goes down. If you have extensive outdoor lighting, you'll want automation. For example, at sunset, all your outside lights can come on. At bedtime, dim landscape lights to a lower level that maintains safety but conserves energy. In back, shut off lights to the pool and water features or any other highlight, but keep path lights and entry lights on at a low level for visibility.
Rather than fuss with a series of dimmers and switches, lighting control and automation do everything for you on programmed schedules. You can even vary those timers and lighting intensity based on whether you are home or on vacation for different schemes that work for you. And you don't have to modify the schedule for the seasons; the software is smart enough to pick up sunrises and sunset times from the internet.
If you work from home ensconced in your office, you might not hear the doorbell ring. With smart automation, you can have your doorbell flash your lights. You’ll not miss a package or the chance to buy candy bars from your neighborhood kids raising money for a school event. You can also use this approach when the garage door opens, and you’ll know that your family is home or perhaps your housekeeper.
Do you often go to the kitchen for a midnight snack or to refresh your water? You can create a dimmed set of lights that gets you to the refrigerator without jarring yourself or anyone else by turning on a bright light. You'll never fumble for a light switch again if you're sleepy, but just a bit hungry.
Lighting automation can be used to blend natural light with artificial light. If you have motorized shades, they can help with this even more. If it's bright and sunny out, you can minimize interior light intensity to those areas that need it. Your shades can help by lowering to block heat buildup, but just enough not to block all the light. The right mix of lighting is based on your preferences and activities in different parts of your home, but you can set the proper levels with automated scenes, schedules, light sensors, or combinations of these. Your home can become more comfortable while saving energy and the environment too.
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