Lighting Your Life Automatically

By Dwight Spivey

Like most conveniences, people rarely give lighting much thought until they have a problem with it or don’t have access to it. Automated lighting is a great step toward learning how to maximize the potential of electric lighting while minimizing its impact on the environment and your wallet.

[Credit: Image courtesy of NASA.]

Credit: Image courtesy of NASA.

Reasons for automatic lighting

As technology gets better and people’s knowledge grows, so does the need to be more responsible with the world’s resources. Since the bulk of energy use is tied to lighting people’s homes and the places they frequent, it only makes sense to move to automatic lighting.

The benefits of automatic lighting are obvious — and not so obvious. Consider:

  • Automated lighting helps keep lights on when they need to be and off when they should be. Although it sounds elementary, simply turning lights on when entering a room and off when leaving it saves a ton of money and energy.

  • Lighting often deters folks from doing things they ought not be doing. Lighted houses are much less likely to be broken into than those that aren’t. Automated lighting helps you keep a light on when you may not be home.

  • Lights that automatically dim based on other lighting conditions (sunlight, for example) save you big time on your energy bill.

  • Being able to remotely control your lights is nothing short of awesome. If you accidentally leave the lights on all over the house when you dash out the door for work, just pull out your trusty smartphone and turn the lights off when you get a moment. Why fill the energy company’s coffers any more than necessary?

  • Automated lighting ups the safety value of your home. For example, when your little ones get out of bed at night, motion sensors can trigger lights to come on and go off through the house, following your child to and from her night-time destinations.

Auto-lighting technology

Automated lighting is one of the “it” factors when it comes to home automation. Everyone automatically thinks of turning the lights on and off when the subject of home automation is broached, and for good reason: It’s really, really awesome to remotely and/or automatically control anything, especially something so prevalent in our lives as lighting. Now is a good place to start exploring what you can do with today’s automated lighting technologies.

Some of the lighting technologies employ specific types of bulbs, and others do not. To max out your power savings and achieve a superior experience with your automatic lighting solution, it’s always best to use energy-saving light bulbs. It saves you money in both the power they consume and the infrequency with which they need to be replaced.

Here are just a few of the things that you can do today in your home once you implement an automated lighting solution:

  • Set schedules for your home’s lights to turn on or off when you want them to.

  • Dim lights automatically, saving you on your power bills and also dramatically extending the life of your bulbs.

  • Use a series of preset conditions that adjust your home’s lighting to fit certain conditions. For example, if you are planning to have a romantic evening with that special someone, you can use your Date Night setting to immediately set the lights in certain rooms to low, turn other lights off completely, and otherwise turn your pad into the most romantic getaway in town. Other settings ideas include:

    • Sleep: These settings turn off most of the lights in the home, leaving just a few on in strategic places like the bathroom and front porch.

    • Party: This combination of settings turns most of the lights in the house on, setting a few to dim and creating specific moods. You can even use this setting to control your lava lamps and disco ball.

    • Morning: This setting turns on the bathroom and kitchen lights, as well as those in the garage, so you can make your way safely to the car in those wee early hours.

  • Motion sensors can be employed in your home auto-lighting solution. As you enter one room, the lights come on for you, and after you leave the previous room, its lights go off. The lights appear to follow you throughout your home as you move from room to room, and the energy company begins to wonder how you’re getting away with using so much less electricity lately. Motion sensors also detect when the residence is occupied, adding even more control to your lighting solution.

These are but a few of the things that automated lighting can do to make your life better. Check out the following section of who’s who in the field of automated lighting, and begin improving the quality of your life and the sum in your bank account today. Something tells me that your power company won’t go belly up any time soon, so you can switch to automated lighting with a clear conscience.