Imagine cooking dinner by candlelight—fumbling in the darkness for the butcher knife and not knowing how much red pepper you’re putting in the spaghetti. Now imagine trying to sleep with harsh fluorescent lights beating down on you. While these examples may seem far-fetched, they illustrate what a dramatic effect light—and therefore lighting design—can have on our dispositions. That’s why it’s important to carefully think out lighting design and control and move beyond a simple switch to make your life more convenient, intuitive, and enjoyable—not to mention saving you money on energy costs!
Get in the Mood
While lighting affects our personal moods, it is also essential for creating a mood. For example, if you’re having a dinner party, you may want the overhead lights in the great room dialed down to 50 percent to create a relaxed atmosphere. There are many control systems that allow you to simply activate pre-programmed lighting “scenes” that automate all this for you. Just hit the “Party” button, for example, to get the mood going before guests arrive. When the last friend has left, hit the “Night” mode, which will increase the lights to your normal levels, allowing you to tidy up. Don’t bother going through the house to turn lights on and off individually before bed. Instead, just hit the “Sleep” button on your bedside touch screen to turn off all the lights house-wide!
Speaking of mood, LED lights are all the rage right now because they have become so affordable and are effective mood enhancers. They allow you to transform your environment with different LED colors to create dramatic ambience, which is great for, say, a home theater ceiling soffit, a pool, or an in-home disco or karaoke room. They also offer conveniences such as a low-profile size (you can install them anywhere, like under kitchen cabinetry), improved color temperatures, and are more efficient than even fluorescent bulbs.
Accentuate Your Beauty
Ever notice that when you go to a museum, the lighting is absolutely perfect? Great pains have been taken to show priceless works in the most stunning way possible. You can bring this drama home, whether you are using lighting to show off your collection of Lichtenstein prints or shelf accent lighting to display your children’s preschool projects. Likewise, outdoor up-lighting on the fountain and landscaping will show the outdoor spaces to their best effect, making your home look beautiful whether its day or night. All of this accent lighting can be easily automated by tying into a lighting control system.
Safe and Sound
Lighting design moves far beyond simply creating a mood or highlighting features in your home. It can have some very practical applications, such as keeping your home and family safe. For obvious reasons, sound and light are the two major deterrents for burglars. But did you know that rather than simply flipping on an exterior porch light, your outdoor lighting can be tied into your home? For example, the exterior lights can be programmed to turn on at sunset to ward off prowlers. Tying lights into a control system also lets you activate or shut off lights while on vacation via any computer or smart phone. In fact, we can even program lights so that if the alarm triggers, exterior lights begin to flash on and off, drawing attention to the home like a visual alarm.
In Your Budget?
While some homeowners are intimidated by the cost of lighting design and control, some lighting control systems end up paying for themselves in the amount of energy savings you’ll garner over the years. Something as simple as replacing lighting switches with dimmers can dramatically reduce your energy consumption and allow you to operate lights at less than full throttle.
You’ll also find that lighting control systems come in all shapes in sizes—from “powerline” and wireless models that eliminate the need for re-wiring to more robust hardwired systems—proving that whatever your needs and budget may be, there is approachable lighting control for everyone. Come in or call us for more information or a demonstration.
Green is Good
Looking to save some green while being green? You’re not alone. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reports that 60 percent of consumers are concerned about their electric bills. In addition, energy consumption is the third most important factor (behind features and price) when considering a new electronics purchase. To see how much energy your electronics use, and get tips on how to save energy, check out the CEA’s Electronics Energy Calculator on the website, GreenerGadgets.org. You can even compare your usage to that of the average U.S. household to see how you stack up.