Lighting control can have the largest impact on any project. Our clients use the light switches more than the phone, music and even the Internet. The lighting controls around the home need to be well thought out. Have you ever walked into a home and at the front door there were five or even eight switches? Did you notice how the owner dealt with turning on the switches. They may have had P-Touch labels or pencil marks on or next to the switches, or did the just turn everything on with two hands. These problems can crop up in no time when working not paying close attention to the lighting controls.
The parts of the home that have the most impact are the formal rooms of the home such as the foyer, living, and dining room. These areas have a tendency to have more than four groups of light. Other areas that can create problems are the main hallways and stair landings. When you come to a stair landing there are several decisions that need to be made. Are you going up the stairs, down the stairs or just walking down the hallway. Trying to deliver that kind of flexibility with conventional switching is just not possible.
Our lighting control design is broken down into four different categories, aesthetic gain, wall switch reduction, modified system management and overall system management.
Aesthetic Gain: Large rooms in finely designed homes typically have more than four groups of light in a room. The room may have chandeliers, sconces, table lamps and recessed lighting. The problem that is created is a very large bank of switches that is difficult to control and an eyesore to look at. Dimmers can be consolidated in to a preset dimming control so the room can be turned on from a simple press of a button. This allows the home owner to comfortably use the room without trying to remember which button did what. This can be done on a room by room basis with nominal increase in cost.
Wall Switch Reduction: Today’s finely designed spaces have multiple types of fixtures for each room. To offer the best level of control, multiple switches are located at the entry points of a room. A five or six gang switch plate is very difficult to work around when designing an important aesthetic space. The areas that are typically affected by the large gangs of switch plates are also the important rooms of the home. Our approach is to reduce the switches down to a one or two gang programmable keypad that offers preset scene control. The scenes are used to recall the proper amount of light for a given scenario.
Modified System Management: Taking the wall switch reduction method to the next step would connect the important rooms together so that the hallways and house exterior are connected together as a system. This would allow our client to walk from the front door to the kitchen and then up to the master bedroom all by pressing buttons on a few properly located keypads. The coverage for this configuration typically includes the main floor, upper hallways and the master suite, house exterior and the main areas of the finished basement. A combination of keypads and local smart switches are used to keep the cost of the project down.
Overall System Management: Allows our client to manage the entire space by providing total control of the bathrooms, bedrooms rooms, landscape, garage lights and mechanical spaces as well as the spaces mentioned above. Providing this level of control allows our clients to manage their space for total energy management. At night or when leaving the residence our client simply presses a button and walks out knowing that only the desired lights were left on.