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Smart living: Smart lighting for your home and office

Blog post   •   Apr 02, 2015 10:24 +08

In a recent article, Southeast Asian Sales Director of Lutron Electronics Boon Liang Seng acknowledged that “Singaporeans are no strangers to technology” and that the country's technologically savvy citizens are using the latest mobile applications to add convenience to their daily routine.

Technology growth within the Southeast Asian region is not just limited to smart phones and mobile applications. The connected home is now becoming an increasingly popular way of digital integration into everyday life.

Technology within living spaces

Home Automation (HA) refers to the automation of items around the home, from controlling curtains to window shades, lighting systems to ice-dispensers, all at the touch of a button. Some elements of HA are relatively inexpensive (like installing a clapper), but others, like central temperature control, may require more investments in terms of time and money.

Though HA has “yet to make major headway” in Singapore homes and offices, according to Boon, it is certainly an area of growth in the Asia-Pacific region – with revenues in the industry set to grow to US$361.1 million by 2018, cited a research from Frost & Sullivan.

With Asia-Pacific’s increasing smartphone penetration, it can be expected that other smart products such as lighting and motorised shading devices will soon become more affordable and widely used in building development.

Smart lighting and energy savings

There are many ways in which HA can be implemented in everyday living. This can increase convenience as well as energy efficiency, which can then potentially translate to savings in costs. Lighting -- one of the key functions in a home or workplace -- is a good place to start when considering to enhance connectivity within a commonly used space.

Smart home lighting can be as simple and inexpensive as installing a single smart light bulb or as part of an integrated system.

There are two main ways of controlling smart lights – either through control hubs or smart devices (including tablets, smartphones and desktops). LED light bulbs can allow adjustments between varied amount of light colours, or be dimmed according to sleep schedules and set to brighten again when it's time to wake up.

A complete automated lighting system could also give you control over all your lights en masse. Take Panasonic's Symphony Lighting as an example. The lighting works as a part of the company's Home Energy Management System implemented within homes.

Designed for energy saving and creating ambience in a room, the LED lights in the Symphony system can change from a brighter white light for working or reading to a softer, warmer yellow light for watching TV or entertaining guests.

Improved efficiency at work

Boon points out that in the office, lighting is responsible for 38 per cent of energy consumption, and that dimming lights by 50 per cent can reduce energy costs by as much as 40 per cent. This can be further reduced through daylight harvesting, which can be most efficiently accomplished with automated lighting and shades.

In an office space, motion detectors can sense the presence of people or when there is activity in a room. These sensors turn on the lights when they detect motion and automatically switch off when a room or other areas are empty. This eliminates needless energy consumption of unnecessary lighting in the event one forgets to turn off lights.

Light sensors read the prevailing light levels and adjust lights and shades for optimum energy efficiency and user comfort. When natural light is available, the shades automatically open and lights dim or turn off. Again, energy savings can be reaped here by making use of natural lighting to reduce the need for artificial, energy-consuming lighting.

Since smart lighting can be effectively adjusted to suit different working conditions, employees could enjoy a higher level of customisation within their work environment.

As automation within homes and commercial buildings increases, intelligent lighting systems could be used to control both electric light and daylight to reduce energy usage and costs. As the appreciation of connected homes and offices continues in the future, we can expect to see more implementation of smart lighting solutions within building developments. 

(Image Source:  Flickr)