3 Trends to Watch in Smart Lighting

Filed in Design, Housing Trends, Multifamily, Remodelers by on April 10, 2018 0 Comments
LED fixtures

Sam Woodward photographed these Möbius-strip-shaped LED fixtures on the show floor.

An excellent bellwether for advances coming to residential lighting solutions is the biennial Light + Building show in Frankfurt, Germany. The show — which boasts a staggering attendance of 220,000 global visitors — exhibits trends in lighting design, electrical systems and building automation.

While the bulk of the exhibitors are pitching their wares to commercial designers, builders, and architects, much of the cutting-edge lighting technology on display is also turning up in residential builds.

Some takeaways from the March 2018 show:

LED is here to stay. LED lighting has become dominant, overtaking and surpassing fluorescent lighting solutions in adaptability and aesthetics.

Lutron customer education leader Sam Woodward says, “The world of lighting very much used to be lamps of known fixed sizes, and there are dozens of standards of shape of lamp. Now those lamps would be sitting in fixtures, rudely referred to as lamp holders, and the two were very closely married. But now, with LED, the relationship has changed.”

While on the show floor, Woodward encountered “kinds of Möbius-strip-shaped LED fixtures — things that were very much using three dimensions,” he said. The integration of bulb and fixture is leading to very creative results, he said.

Lighting is now a source of data. Bulbs are now capable of collecting information about the rooms they light, and using that information efficiently. “Light fixtures with sensors built in are not all that new, but now we have the idea that lighting and control systems can extract that data and do useful things with it,” Woodard said. “Whether that’s showing the occupancy of buildings over time, tracking assets or movements of people, measuring CO2, or temperature, it’s another data collector in a given space.”

That data can be used to change lighting color or brightness, toggle off or dim lights automatically and or send information to other systems in the home.

Long live the light switch! While control is becoming more  automated, the doesn’t mean that the humble light switch will disappear tomorrow.

“We have some very, very expensive samples that we take along whenever we’ve got a meeting with an architect,” said Peter Aylett, an integrator with the firm Archimedia.

“We don’t sell it as a light switch, we sell it as just a beautiful thing that sits on the wall, and we can match, say, a stone finish with the light switch. This allows us to engage with designers, and talk their language,” he said.

“On the residential side, when we’re talking to folks about lighting control, by far the largest part of the conversation is about the look and feel,” said Woodward. “It’s got to be a conversation that has a very comfortable outcome with the clients.”

This NAHBNow guest post is from Ed Wenck, content marketing manager for CEDIA, the industry association representing those professionals who manufacture, design and integrate goods and services for the connected home.

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