What is Lighting Control? Benefits of Using Lighting Control Systems
It wasn’t that long ago that the only way to control the lighting in your home was to move from room to room and flip switches or manually adjust dimmers. Those days are over. Whether you’re building a brand new house or love your older home, it’s possible to install a system that makes it easy to adjust all of the lighting at one time. The latest generation of lighting control systems offer quite a bit in the way of convenience as well as function.
Do you think that some sort of central approach to lighting would work for your home? How about for your place of business? Before you answer those questions, take a moment and learn more about what this solution is and how it can benefit you.
Understanding the Basics
A lighting control system is a network that makes it possible to control multiple lighting devices from a central point of access. The basic design still allows for the manual use of switches alongside the network proper. That means it’s possible to control the lighting in every part of the network using the lighting control panel or flip a switch when you enter a specific room.
A number of components go into any type of control system. Generally, you will find that systems designed for residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial settings will include element like photocells, motion detectors, sensors that detect occupancy within a space, and various types of relays.
It’s not unusual for the lighting control system to communicate with other systems found in the same structure. For example, it can be configured to communicate with a fire safety system as well as a home security system. With the right programming, information obtained from the others systems would trigger the activation of lighting in specified areas. That could make it easier to exit the building in an emergency situation.
In years past, systems of this type were generally operated with the aid of a control console. Today, many systems can be operated using a advanced wireless system interface. The interface makes is possible to utilize a touchscreen to manage each available function.
Elements of a Commercial or Industrial System
Commercial lighting control systems include all of the same elements as found in all other similar systems. They can be used to manage the lighting in various areas of the facility, making it possible to manage energy consumption more efficiently. Sensors detect the presence of people within a space and automatically activate the lighting. It’s also possible to program features such as dimming overhead lights, activating lamps, and shutting down the lighting once the room is no longer occupied.
The system can also control outdoor lighting. From the parking lot to the lighting around points of entry, it’s possible to program the system to activate the lights at a certain time before evening. That same programming makes it possible to deactivate the lights when morning comes.
It’s even possible to program a sequence of lighting changes that occur over a relatively short period of time. A theater lighting control system is a prime example. Using the interface, it’s possible to set up programming to automatically adjust the lighting for a stage production. The house lights can also be programmed to activate at intermission and then dim once again when it’s time to continue with the play.
What’s Included in a Residential Lighting Control System?
Residential lighting control systems work much in the same way as industrial or commercial systems. It’s possible to enter a program that adjusts lighting to activate at a certain time each morning as well as activate around nightfall. Sensors make it possible to have lighting activate when someone enters a room and shut off when the space is vacant again. That same system can control the on and off times for outside lighting.
Thinking Ahead: The Process for Adding to an Existing System
With both commercial and home lighting control systems, there will sometimes be the need to expand the network. That’s true when more rooms are added to the structure or the functions for certain areas of the existing structure are altered. The good news is that the better systems can be adapted to accommodate those types of changes.
An expert can adjust the network controls to recognize the altered or added area. Once the lights are installed, they can be added to the network as well. This cost-effective solution means there is no need to invest in a new system every time you make alterations to the structure.
Lighting Control and Managing Expenses
When people ask about the advantages related to lighting control, energy efficiency is one of the first benefits to be discussed. By setting up the right schedule for use, it’s possible to ensure that no energy is wasted on lighting. Since the lights deactivate when someone leaves a room, the amount of energy consumed is lessened. Consider how much that can save over the course of a year.
There’s also a savings in terms of the bulbs used as part of the lighting system. By making sure the lights are off when no one is using the space, the amount of wear on those bulbs is reduced. That means everything from the bulbs used in lamps, overhead fixtures, and even recessed accent lighting will last longer. The result is that you have to replace them less frequently.
Programming Personal Preferences for Different Spaces
One of the other advantages of today’s lighting control systems is that it’s not an all or nothing option when it comes to programming the changes in lighting. It’s possible to schedule the lights in one space to come on and go off at specific intervals. In a different space, the schedule may have the lighting activate and deactivate in accordance with a different schedule.
Think of what this means in terms of a security feature. If you program the lights in several rooms to activate and deactivate at different times, it creates the illusion that someone is moving from room to room. Even if you’re not home, that would lead someone outside the house to think the space is occupied. Intruders who would rather not break into an occupied home will think twice when they see this type of activity.
Making Programming Changes at Home or Remotely
Wireless access to the control system means you can check on the status of the network and make changes even if you’re not home. All you will need is the app loaded onto your device and the login credentials needed to access all the system functions. As long as you have an Internet connection, it’s possible to log in, check the status, and adjust anything that you like.
This is a great solution if you forget to program the system before going on a trip. Even if you’re only out for the day, it’s easy enough to access the network, activate a saved sequence that you forgot to turn on before leaving, and rest assured that the network will take care of the rest.
The Convenience of a Central Control Mechanism
Having one point of access is certainly a convenience. Using your controls, it’s easy to see what lights are in use, which ones are off, and then make any changes that you want. There’s no need to set manual timers in individual rooms or go around and manually flip switches before leaving the house or the office. Even if you’re home, it’s easy to use the interface to deactivate lights that someone left on when they exited a room.
Protecting the Home When You’re Away
You’ve left for a vacation and forgot to program the network to turn on certain lights at specifics times of the afternoon and evening. From wherever you happen to be, use your wireless device to access the network and set up sequence that has lights go on and off at certain times. Use this approach to activate the outdoor lighting as well as the indoor lighting.
While away, you can also use the access to check on the lighting. Since the network will receive data from the fire safety and security systems, you can even use this approach to ensure doors are locked and windows are closed. Remember you can use the remote access to open a door for a neighbor if you need them to enter the house for some reason.
And Protecting You When You’re at Home
Access the control system if you want to make sure the outside lights are on when you get home at night. You can also activate lights in the garage just before you pull into the driveway. Turning on the lights in the kitchen also allow you to enter the home with a higher level of security.
While convenience is a good reason for installing a lighting control system, there are also a number of practical advantages. Depending on where you live and the type of house or commercial that you call your own, there may be more benefits that apply in your case. One way to find out is to call EDGOnline at (888) 406-2782 and arrange for a lighting contractor to conduct a consultation. The process for installing this type of lighting control in a residential or commercial setting may be simpler than you think.
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