With the changing of the seasons, Mother Nature significantly shifts the demands asked of home lighting control and home automation systems. Seasonal lighting is much more than spooky Halloween porch bulbs and winter wonderland twinkle lights, and shorter days encourage a strong effort to bring in as much natural light as possible. And, of course, heat and energy management are top of mind concerns as temperatures drop. Here are 7 things homeowners should consider as they prepare for seasonal adjustments to optimize home performance.
1 Safety in Motion
With long, dark evenings, and the potential for snow, ice, and debris buildup, it’s important to make sure walkways, driveways, decks, and other outdoor areas are well lit for optimum safety. Using motion sensors together with outdoor lighting to ensure that walkways and spaces are properly illuminated for security and safety should be a homeowner requirement. Lighting activated by motion sensors is an excellent, easy-to-install, reliable and energy-efficient solution.
2 A Modern Meaning for “Daylight Savings”
Lighting control systems can automatically raise and lower window shades to coincide with sunrise and sunset with an astronomical time clock. By incorporating dimmers, systems can also be programmed to turn lights on and off with seasonal time changes automatically.
Leading systems incorporate multi-channel clocks for fully automating multiple systems, both hardwired and wireless. New user interface apps provide for ease of use, yet allow advanced programming and control that can include special holiday schedules, automatic daylight savings adjustments, and detailed room and house scenes. Various modules can be used to control a range of fixtures, enabling remote dimming and switching, as well as programmed scene control.
3 See the Light
As days grow shorter and nights get longer, adjust your lighting dimmers accordingly. As humans, we evolved to be in-synch with our surroundings. When it’s best to wake up, eat, or sleep — we’re all linked to sun cycles. It’s difficult enough to get your day started, so there’s no need to do it in the dark. Research shows that by incorporating the rhythms of natural daylight — a strategy known as daylighting — home and building occupant satisfaction can be greatly improved. Make sure your dimmers are adjusted to provide a little extra light and warmth for the early and late hours of the day. Put a little extra pep in your step and don’t let the gloom get you down.
4 When Guests Arrive
With the change of seasons and holiday season fast approaching, you may find yourself playing host to visitors and overnight houseguests. Company is great, but an unfamiliar lighting system can complicate their stay unnecessarily. Set up a simple Guest profile and your home’s master settings can remain intact. Profiles can even include zones that integrate with your home’s HVAC system, ensuring that the lighting, temperature, and humidity levels offer ultimate comfort and ease of use for your guests.
5 It’s Harvest Season
Daylight harvesting — that is. Beyond just feeling better, letting in natural light and warmth is a great way to reduce energy use and maximize home efficiency. With sensors and advanced home automation systems, electric lighting levels can increase or decrease in proportion to the amount of natural light present. The system then controls dimmers to adjust electric light output to maintain a desired level of illumination. For less automated systems, setting timers and gradually reducing artificial light as natural light increases through day is a an effective approach.
6 Growing Shadows
The shift of the sun’s angle directly affects the demands of your shading system. Don’t forget to adjust schedules to accommodate the seasonal shift and allow for maximum natural lighting. Automated window shades can be programmed to work in tandem with your home’s control system, dimmers and timers to raise and lower shades perfectly in-tune with sunrise and sunset. Some systems even allow for grouping and super grouping, i.e. all shades on the south side of the house can be programmed to rise and lower with a single press of a button. Additionally, dual shades are a great option allowing for both light filtration and elegant design, while ensuring security and privacy with a separate blackout shade that can be programmed independently.
7 Set the Scene
Many lighting control systems allow for presets to help set a mood for any occasion. Create a bright kitchen workspace or a warm and cozy dining room setting. Proper interior and exterior lighting can help make any holiday event a memorable success.