Mention lighting trends, and what comes to mind is the growth of LEDs. But the incandescent bulb isn’t the only thing about to disappear—the wall switch may be going the same way.
That’s because more homeowners are opting for “smart” lighting controls that replace conventional switches and dimmers with wall-mounted touchpads that can control settings for multiple lights. With these controls, a homeowner can set specific light levels for everything from vacuuming the carpet to entertaining guests to watching a movie.
Smart controls can make lighting a dynamic design feature at home, and they’re easier than ever to retrofit. Such under/above/in cabinet LED lighting. When doing kitchen remodel, this is a perfect time to consider adding this feature.
Today lighting design is in the midst of its most significant change ever thanks to LEDs and two wireless technologies.
One technology is voice control. The major lighting manufacturers now integrate with voice controllers like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. “Since Alexa came out, all my customers suddenly want smart lighting,” says Webb.
The other is wireless touchpads. In the past, the only way to get whole-house control was to wire each individual switch or dimmer back to a central cabinet. In an existing home, the cost of fishing those wires through the walls tended to be prohibitive.
Although these devices communicate wirelessly, they don’t use the home’s WiFi. Instead, they use point-to-point radio frequency or Bluetooth signals, so if the internet goes down, they still work. The system does need WiFi for voice and smartphone control, however.
If the home has a voice controller, the homeowners can tell it to activate a scene while at home. This could be as simple as saying, “Alexa, it’s bedtime.” Or for a safety feature, “Alexa, all lights on.”
Most of today’s smart lighting control systems have geofencing capability, which means your phone can signal the router to switch on certain lights when you turn onto your street or into the driveway. You’ll never have to worry about coming home to a dark house.
As more people install these systems, homes that have them will become more desirable to homebuyers. That, along with the many benefits available today, means that anyone planning a remodel should seriously consider smart lighting control.
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