Centralized lighting control is a system that allows all the lights in a building or home to be monitored and controlled from one central location. In the past, centralized lighting control systems were found mainly in commercial buildings or high-end homes. Today, however, these systems have become more affordable and accessible to the average homeowner.
The level of complexity of a centralized lighting control system can vary greatly, from fairly simple to extremely complex. The control panel installed in a home, for example, might be an intuitive and user-friendly touch screen. Simply by touching a button on the screen, the homeowner can conveniently control and manage lighting in every room of the house. The control panel in a high-rise office building, on the other hand, might have a complex multi-button control station, capable of managing multi-faceted lighting functions throughout the entire building.
Central lighting control systems can be programmed to meet a homeowner’s specific needs. For example, a homeowner might schedule his porch and living room lights to switch on at the time he usually gets home from work. He can program his lights to an “entertaining” mode in which the dining room and living room lights dim to pre-set levels when that mode is engaged. He might program in a “vacation” mode that will switch lights on and off throughout the day while he’s out of town to make his home appear occupied, and thus reducing the likelihood of a break-in.
In addition to the safety and convenience benefits of centralized lighting control, it also has the ability to help conserve energy and reduce electricity costs. Energy costs can be significantly reduced if lighting controls are scheduled so that lights are switched off at times when rooms are generally not occupied. The amount of energy savings will vary depending on how the controls are set, the predictability of the occupants’ routine, and the amount of time lights were previously left on in unoccupied areas of the home or building.
The majority of the centralized lighting systems today are hard-wired, although wireless systems are also available. In order to have hard-wired centralized lighting control, an intricate structured wiring system must be installed in the walls of the home or building. Fortunately for some homeowners, many home building companies are now including structured wiring in all new homes they build.