Artificial lighting has inevitably entered our lives and it is here to stay. While there are numerous benefits of artificial lighting, there is also the other side of the picture revealing the worry-some statistics: 19% of the energy use in the world is comprised by lighting and this amount of energy is estimated to cause 6% of greenhouse emissions in the world. So this clearly is a technology we cannot substitute by no other means, but there is also a great problem related with increased demand for electricity, which results in carbon footprint and damage done to our nature and environment.
Luckily, the technologies are always being changed, innovative minds are being put together in order to create new additional solutions to already known ideas. Smart lighting is technology design which helps us to reach energy efficiency and save as much energy as we can, without loosing the needed effect of a product – be it outdoor floodlight or your indoor LED lamps.
While many solutions are already available out there, smart lighting designs and technologies are being always developed, providing new, exciting products that surpasses the previous ones. This just means that the niche is more than just promising and we are about to see some quite interesting smart lighting-related products being invented in the future as well. The article will briefly guide you trough the concept of smart lighting, as well as explain the main technologies being applied in smart lighting principles.
What is smart lighting?
As explained above, smart lighting principles are based on utilization of lighting which is as energy efficient as possible. It means that electric light is not being used when unnecessary, as much of natural daylight is being involved and so on. Basically, smart lighting can mean both, technological solutions such as sensors and energy efficient light bulbs that can help you to achieve energy efficiency, as well as transforming your everyday habits and living space, so that you would not have a need to consume a lot of artificial light. Smart lighting means smart thinking and without you actually wanting to save the energy, much of a significant change, unfortunately, won’t be possible.
Smart lighting methods
While smart lighting can be considered as comparatively recent idea among average consumers, under its principles various technological solutions and innovations have been created and are already available on commercial markets. These methods include:
- Sensors. Sensors and automatic lighting systems can save great amount of energy as they can control the light to switch on only when it is actually needed. These sensors include dusk-to-dawn sensors for outdoor floodlights (it means that floodlights automatically turn on and off on certain hours of the day), active motion sensors (detects movement), passive infra-red sensors (detects changes in detectors field caused by object entering it) and others.
- Light dimmers. Dimmer switches are lighting devices that are used to adjust (lower/increase) the amount of light. The switch makes it possible to adjust the intensity of the brightness and also save the energy by using dimmer light when a full brightness is not needed.
- Smart lighting ecosystems. Being one of the most complex of all the solutions, these ones are mainly used in larger buildings where there is a need to control tens, if not even hundreds of lights at the same time. Typically, such lighting systems can be controlled via internet to make lighting schedules and change the brightness in different times and parts. There even is a smart lighting network that assigns separate IP addresses to light bulbs. Although the most complex of lighting control systems are made for larger lighting networks, it is also possible to install them in houses and apartments and connect them to your tablet and smartphone. This means that you can control your lights, brightness and colors from a remote distance at any time, plus control multiple lights at a time. However, keep in mind that mainly LED bulbs can be applicable to such systems.
The advantages of smart lighting
As you can tell, smart lighting is slowly shaping the future of lighting, be it in our workspaces or homes. But why do people actually look forward to such changes? There are numerous advantages of smart lighting:
- It increases energy efficiency. Saved energy means less damage to our environment and lower electric bills as well;
- It facilitates our every day life and saves time by doing many things instead of us;
- It enables different creative lighting solutions and possibilities;
- It allows to control larger lighting systems such as the whole office building or at least to control and adjust numerous lamps at the same time;
- It allows us to follow and control our lighting systems from remote distances by using portable devices such as tablets and smartphones, increasing the conveniences and possibilities.
The future perspectives of smart lighting
To estimate how smart lighting could look like within the next decades, would be similar to writing a script for science fiction movie. The industry is growing very rapidly, new lighting types (for instance OLEDs) are entering the market and the whole concept of lighting in home and workspaces is changing and re-shaping within every year. However, it is clear that there will always be emphasis put on energy efficient solutions, since the awareness of our insanely high demand and consumption of electricity is increasing. More and more people are learning about the importance of energy efficient solutions, as well as they are being educated on different products that actually can help us to save the energy. It means that different smart lighting systems will become more available to average consumer and we will see them being used not only in professional industries, but in households as well.
Moreover, the demand for smart lighting solutions will be a driving-force to some quite exciting innovations and inventions, but it is really difficult to tell how they will look like: self-controlling systems, smartphone apps that will allow adjusting all the lights and will indicate about the issues, new types of sensors etc. All of it is very likely to be introduced in not too distant future, so all we can do at the moment is to follow smart lighting principles as much as we can and embrace new solutions and ideas once they come on our way.