We encourage customers to always keep lighting design in mind during new construction and renovations. We also urge people to think of lighting in terms of "layers":
- Your ambient lighting is your general lighting.
- Accent lighting provides an additional source of illumination in addition to decorative flourishes.
- Task lighting is extremely focused—think undercabinet lights, for example, that can assist you as you slice and dice veggies for supper.
But people often overlook a fourth layer of lighting: shades. Shades control how much natural light enters a space. With automated shades, you can program them to work in conjunction with all of your other light sources, which provides more control and a better overall lighting solution for your home.
Just think of all the benefits this "complete" lighting control can offer:
- Better management of the everyday lighting schedules in your home.
- For example, think of outdoor lighting that automatically goes on and off, according to the time of day…or how about when you want to slowly wake up the family for work and school with automated shades that rise with the sun.
- Improved circadian rhythms. You can program shades to open and close according to your own circadian rhythms and to help maximize your use of natural light. (Note: color-tuning "white technology" can assist with this approach as well, meaning that even in rooms that don't have natural light, a lighting control system combined with the right fixtures can still clue our bodies into the time of day.)
- Money savings on heating and cooling bills. For example, your automated shades can let in more sunlight in the winter and less in the summer—and connect with your thermostat accordingly—so you can cut down on heating and cooling bills. (Cellular shades work particularly well for this. They have honeycomb-like compartments that insulate AND give you greater lighting control.)
So how should you integrate automated shades technology into your overall lighting design schemes?
Figure out how to best harness the sun, depending on a room's location and how you use the space. During the day, the sun can function as the perfect ambient light source, especially in east and south-facing windows of your home. Motorized shades can lend a hand in harnessing that very bright light.
And it's not an "all or nothing" situation, either. Solar shades are UV-blocking shades that provide light reduction while preserving the view outside. Blackout shades can totally stop light from entering the room. And you can find other shades that fall somewhere in between solar and blackout that can gently diffuse light into the space. Remember, it all depends on how you use the area.
To maximize full benefits, consider total integration between different systems. Integration is key—combining lighting controls with your thermostat, shades, dimmers (and more) will allow centralized control.
Read up on products that can help you get the most out of your space. From wireless keypads and battery-operated motorized shades to LED retrofit components, you can put together the right combination of products for maximum effect. That said, we do realize the number of solutions today is staggering and can feel overwhelming as a result, which leads us to our final point…
Work with professionals who specialize in smart home technology. A smart home technology professional can help you determine how to get the most out of your space and ensure everything is installed and integrated correctly.
One of the biggest motivations behind our merger with System 7 and The Boston Shade Company in 2017 was being able to offer our clients one resource for lighting, automated shades, lighting controls, and other smart home technology. So if you're in the process of renovating, stop by Wolfers and let's talk about your lighting design and smart home needs. Our experts can help you make sure everything works seamlessly.
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