Last Updated Jul 31, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
Automated smart lighting is becoming the norm in offices throughout the world. Smart lighting is making its way into more homes, too. Why buy smart lighting? While smart lighting costs more than ordinary light bulbs, they can save you money in the long run.
Smart lighting uses LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs use far less energy than ordinary incandescent bulbs or fluorescent lighting. They use less energy because they are cool burning. While an incandescent light bulb uses 60 watts of power or more, a LED light uses only 10 watts.
In terms of dollars, if you use standard light bulbs, over 25,000 hours, a single bulb will cost around $180 to run. A single LED light bulb will cost only $30 over the same period. That's for a single light bulb. Count the number of light bulbs you have in your house and you can see how much you can save. For example, if you have 20 light bulbs in your house, your incandescent bulbs will cost $3600 over 25,000 hours. If you have LED light bulbs, they will cost only $600.
Since they are cool burning, they also last far longer than conventional light bulbs:
Between your energy savings and the length of an LED light bulb's life, you save money over time.
Why buy smart lights if standard LED lights will save you money? Smart lights do cost more, but they add convenience to your life. You can operate them from your smartphone or tablet simply by installing an app. The app works through a WiFi connection, so you can control your lighting from wherever you happen to be as long as you have an internet connection.
A better question might be, "What can't automated smart lighting do for you?" You can control smart lighting with an app or you can program your lights to turn on and off at selected times. This gives you far more control over your lighting. For example:
These are just three examples of how smart lighting can work for you to make your home more secure.
Incandescent light bulbs have a yellowish tinge to them. LED light bulbs come in a range of colours from bulbs that imitate incandescent bulbs to whiter lights that are better as task lights. Many smart light bulbs go beyond that and can be adjusted to any colour in the colour spectrum.
Not too long ago, your choices of smart lighting systems were limited to just a few brands. Today, you have more choices. You can choose from a variety of smart lights or choose a complete home lighting system.
The Philips Hue selection of smart lighting was one of the first available in Australia. They have continued to improve their smart lighting and it has come down in price. Aside from being able to easily control your lights from a smartphone or tablet, you can do much more with these lights. You can adjust the colour from bright white to up to 16 million colours. You can program the lights to flash or pulse if you like. You can also control up to 50 lights from your smart device.
Belkin Wemo smart lighting is another smart lighting system that has been in Australia for quite a while. Like the Philips Hue range, the products have been improved and have come down in price. Wemo smart lights are available at most large retailers. As is true of all smart lights, you can download an app to control your lights. You can buy a single light bulb, a starter set or set up all your home lighting with this system. You can also buy a sensor that will automatically turn on lights as you approach a room.
LIFX smart light bulbs come with either Edison screw in or bayonet caps. As with most other brands, you can buy a single light bulb or as many as you need in your house. Using the app, you can choose from a range of white colours or millions of other colours. LIFX also makes downlights. As with other smart lights, you can easily control all your lighting with an app.
General Electric (GE) also has a range of smart lights. GE has partnered with Light Source Solutions to distribute their range of smart lights in Australia and New Zealand. The GE Link Connected light bulbs are one of the most affordable smart lights on the market.
These are just four of the more popular brands. Many others are available.
You can choose two types of smart lighting systems. If you want to experiment with smart lighting, you can buy a single light bulb and install it yourself. All you have to do is install the light bulb and download the app. You can also buy a starter set that will come with a few light bulbs.
Once you've tried smart lighting, you may decide you want smart lighting throughout your house. You can buy individual light bulbs or hire an electrician to retrofit smart lighting or smart home technology throughout your home.
When you shop for automated smart lighting, bear in mind that different products will have different features. Do you want:
You have a variety of choices when you choose automated smart lighting. Do you want to try a few to see how you like them? You probably will enjoy the convenience of smart lighting and decide to wire your house and install even more smart home devices.
A lighting supplier can help you choose the right automated smart lighting system for your needs. If you're installing new lights (such as downlights), most electricians have experience with smart lights. Ask them which types of smart lights they have installed and why they recommend them.
If you're building, think about having your electrician install smart home wiring. Get quotes from several electricians and ask them how much experience they've had with smart home wiring. Also ask for their opinion about different systems. Smart home wiring will cost a little more, but it's there for you when you need it. You can start with a security system and add on to your system as you want.
You may be surprised by how affordable smart lighting is today. You'll also be surprised by how affordable home automation is today. For some more information about smart homes, read How Much Does a Smart Home Cost?
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