By Richard Laliberty
Every integrator knows that when it comes to technology, a flexible solution is invaluable. When a solution is flexible, it adapts easily to any project and can be reconfigured to meet future requirements and client wants. This especially holds true in the lighting arena — an area of extreme growth and opportunity for installers, according to CEDIA’s 2021 Integrated Home Market Analysis. But there can be some challenges when it comes to selecting and installing lighting control. Here are five best practices in lighting control that will deliver freedom of design, a more seamless installation, stronger relationships with lighting and interior designers, and of course, a great user experience:
- Plug and play is where it’s at.
Lighting control modules that easily plug into terminal boards without needing tools or addressing allow an electrician to complete the wiring and verify loads are operational before installing dimming modules. This also eliminates damage that can be caused by miswiring. Keypads that feature fuse-protected line feeds have the added benefit of being protected from outside surges. Finally, plan for the reality that clients may want to update or replace their controller. Controllers that can be updated without requiring reprogramming will save hours of labor.
- Don’t spend your days wiring.
There are a multitude of keypads on the market, and just as many wiring schemes. Look for keypads — including those with touchscreens or tactile buttons — that can live on the same two-wire station bus. This will save you time when wiring a variety of setups. Moreover, this ensures that keypads can be switched or moved around as needed.
- Keep the infrastructure.
How often have you heard clients select one brand, only to turn around months or even years later and say it wasn’t a great fit and now they’re ready to try something else? That’s the way of technology evolution. Usually that would mean having to rip out and replace the entire control infrastructure. However, with a flexible station bus topology utilizing a two-wire non-polarized power/communication cable, the existing lighting control system can be easily converted to meet the customers’ ongoing needs. Second, the use of conversion kits for enclosures that contain dimming and relay modules, such as Vantage’s LT2VA insert, will simplify projects with existing systems.
- Look for an end-to-end solution.
Tunable lighting opens up a world of benefits, including human-centric lighting (HCL) systems, such as Vantage LHUMAN, that automatically adjusts a room’s lighting throughout the day, fully synchronized to natural daylight patterns. Double check that the lighting fixture selected for the design has been tested and guaranteed to work with the controller’s tunable control profiles. This will take the guesswork out of configuration. And for greater ease of installation and programming, look for software that has a library of calibrated load profiles on deck, so it’s simple to program once the fixture and load have been confirmed.
- Keep the focus on the design.
Build stronger relationships with lighting designers and interior designers by choosing control solutions and accessories that will mesh with the designer’s style and make the home come to life. Choosing interoperable solutions with a high-end, stylish appeal ensure the entire room is more cohesive and luxurious and will get every designer and homeowner excited — making the installer the hero.
Take control — of the opportunity!
Lighting makes a powerful statement in the home. And for integrators, it’s an incredible opportunity for their businesses, as lighting projects utilizing lighting control continues to grow exponentially. Because integrators possess integration and control expertise that’s built around creating and achieving custom home experiences, they are poised to be a unique and much needed asset on lighting projects. Combining that expertise with flexible, beautiful lighting control solutions, such as those offered by Vantage, will make the biggest impact. Choose keypads and wall controls that integrate seamlessly with the lighting design and style of the home, are easy to install, and can be upgraded as desired effortlessly. These solutions will help to not only achieve an elegant lighting design with an enjoyable user — and installation— experience but also open the door to future AV projects in the home while building relationships with architects and lighting and interior designers.
Lighting Trend to Know: Human-Centric Lighting
Human-centric lighting (HCL) is a system that incorporates lighting controls, motorized shading, and color-tunable light fixtures to harness natural light when it’s available or create it artificially when it’s not. With the right control system and a solution like Vantage’s LHUMAN, integrators can help create a lighting design that mimics natural light variations, providing benefits like better focus, increased productivity, or a more restful night’s sleep. For example, LHUMAN can tune interior lights to a cool, bright-white light to help users concentrate and stay alert, thereby maximizing productivity throughout the workday. It automatically adjusts a home’s light throughout the day, fully synchronizing the natural daylight from the sun while allowing homeowners to make changes with pre-set scenes that deliver the right color temperature and intensity to match their current activity, need, or mood — from sunrise to sunset. All it takes is the touch of a button on a Vantage touchscreen or keypad, like the company’s popular EasyTouch Glass. Finally, to harness the benefits of natural lighting, LHUMAN integrates with motorized window shades. The system will automatically raise and lower the blinds, allowing users to effortlessly open their homes to bright, sunny days and to close them at night — or any time of day.