First of all we need to lay our cards on the table – if we were embarking on a new build or renovation project a lighting control system would be the number one requirement. If budget was an issue we would install a lighting control system before anything else – audio video distribution, home automation maybe even before a security system! The reason being that a good and reliable lighting control system needs to be wired – it is possible to go wireless but the majority of the negatives about a lighting system are negated by going wired.
The Advantages of a Lighting Control System:
– Lighting Scenes show your home off at its best! With a Lutron or Crestron system lighting levels can be preset and instantly recalled at the push of a button – you can even have different lighting levels for different activities. This allows you to light your home perfectly, adding warmth, ambience and highlighting features.
– They add convenience. Large houses can waste huge amounts of energy simply be leaving lights on when they aren’t required. Fully Integrated lighting systems allow you to easily see where lights are on and allow you to control them from a central location. Integration with security alarms can switch all the lights in the home off when the alarm is set or start to replay your usual activity so it looks like you are home.
– They Save Energy. Crestron and Lutron digital dimmers save energy when they dim. Dimming lights by 10% can result in huge savings across a large property without being noticable to clients. Incoporating dimmed lights into lighting scenes (mentioned above) can save huge amounts of energy whilst a bulb dimmed to its lowest level can add real warmth feeling to a room. Ensuring lights aren’t on and automating light switching can also save huge amounts of energy. On one of our projects a generator designed to run for two days in the event of power loss ran for 12 straight days – with all lights full on in the home – the benefits of coupling our lighting system with our LED lamps and drivers!
– They Increase Lamp Life. Lighting control systems have a slow ramp up to full lamp brightness, vastly increasing the life of your lamps. This might not sound very impressive given the low cost of a lamp but our lighting systems regularly control huge chandeliers in double height spaces – replacing lamps involves scaffolding towers, disruption and high labour costs!
– You can easily set up scenes – Full integration of a lighting system on to an iPad allows the client to stand in the room and dim lighting channels up and down until the perfect scene is created. These light levels can then be saved down and recalled by pressing a scene button on a wall mounted keypad or the iPad.
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The Disadvantages of a Lighting Control System:
– Wireless systems can be unreliable – with our systems we require 100% reliability and low maintenance. By definition wireless technologies are subject to interference and a higher level of maintenance, even if this is just periodic battery changing. For this reason we always try to install wired lighting systems although we have evaluated and installed wireless lighting when there is no option.
– Badly Setup Systems can be difficult to use – A badly designed and installed system can be difficult to use even if this is just because it differs from the normal switches people expect. For this reason we like to instal al fully customisable systems with bespoke engraving. Off the shelf systems tend to have pre-engraved buttons which may not always fit the clients requirements.
– They can require ongoing maintenance – A well installed system should just keep running and not require maintenance. We have systems which are 10+ years old which work reliably and have zero maintenance.
We install high end fully integrated lighting control systems in to large residential properties.