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Be Bright with Smart Lighting


It seems like everything is getting smarter these days—and that includes home lighting.
At its heart, smart lighting is the range of bulbs, controls and lighting systems that are programmable through an app on a mobile device, computer or smart speaker.

Smart lighting can do more than just turn lamps on and off at the right time. Some smart lighting systems can dim at various times. Some can be connected to a sensor or motion detector so that a light goes on when a door is opened or when someone enters a room. It can also be practical, providing lighting that emulates sunlight during the day and is more relaxing in the evening.

In most cases, you control smart lighting through your home Wi-Fi. You can communicate to individual smart bulbs or to a hub that, in turn, controls individual bulbs. In some cases, you can use Bluetooth on your phone to control smart lighting, but you’ll need to be within range of the bulb or hub.

If the smart bulbs are the type that connect through a hub or connect directly to your Wi-Fi network, you should be able to control them via smart speakers like Google Home or Amazon Echo and remotely through the internet or a smartphone. While a hub-based system is more expensive, it allows lights to be grouped by floor or room and also uses less bandwidth on your network than running many separate bulbs. Some hub kits also allow you to use regular bulbs instead of requiring more expensive smart bulbs.

Will smart lighting save energy? That depends on how you light your home and control your lighting now and on how you would control the smart lighting you install in the future. If you use smart lighting to turn lights off when they aren’t needed, like when rooms are empty or no one’s home, you will likely save energy.

But investments in smart lighting aren’t likely to pay back as quickly as some energy efficiency measures. Smart bulbs are more expensive than typical LED bulbs, ranging from $10 to $60, and a hub can cost up to $125, so it could take a long time to recoup those costs. You’re better off investing in smart lighting for the features rather than the energy savings.

One alternative to smart lighting is smart wall outlets or wall switches. For example, you can plug a lamp with a standard bulb into a smart wall outlet, or you can have several lights wired to one smart switch. The downside to smart switches and outlets is that installation can be more challenging, and you may not have the options and features that come with smart lighting.

Another strategy for smart lighting that has been around for a long time and is reasonably priced is to use motion sensors or timers as control devices.

The wide array of options and costs can make it challenging to select the best smart lighting for your situation, so do the research to make sure it’s worth your time and money to make the change.

Posted: 3/20/2023 2:52:15 PM
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