Lighting is arguably the most critical element in a smart home. Everyone that enters the home will interact with or at least notice a homeowner’s lighting setup. From light bulbs and plugs to light switches and wall panels, smart lights continue to gain popularity in smart home design. And, with lots of new options on the market, it might be difficult to decide which solutions are best for your next new build or renovation project.
Incorporating the latest smart home trends in your new builds will help to set you apart from your competition. It can also increase the overall value of your finished project. And when done correctly smart lights help make a home more convenient, safer, energy efficient and modern .In order to guarantee this will be the case for your next project, it’s important to be aware of all the key aspects to a successful smart lighting solution including cost, installation and these three often overlooked, yet crucial variables:
1. Bulb compatibility
The growing popularity of LED light sources is rooted in energy savings, long life and new fixture options that enable them to be used in almost any application. While LEDs support a more sustainable home, there can be compatibility issues when paired with dimmer switches that builders should keep in mind.
Compatibility between LED lamps and controls can be confusing, and if they are not specified properly, performance will suffer, leading to issues down the road for the homeowner. To set your future homeowners up for success, focus on selecting the right lighting controls that will support whatever their preferences for dimming and control may be, no matter what bulb they choose to install down the road.
While many LED bulbs are now dimmable, not all are and not all of them dim in the same way. Since LEDs consume such a low wattage, many types of dimmers do not function as well with LED bulbs compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Specifying smart dimmers that are compatible with these low-wattage LED bulbs is important to avoid bulb flickering, slow start-up, limited dimming range, humming/buzzing and inconsistent illumination. Leviton’s simple and effective LED bulb compatibility tool can be a helpful resource to builders and buyers alike. This app provides users with the most compatible LED bulb options for each Leviton LED dimmer available.
2. Hub Requirements
Whether or not the smart lighting controls you are selecting for your projects have a hub or not can be a key design factor for your project and for the buyer down the road. Solutions that require a hub need to have a base station centrally located in the home in order to communicate with all the home’s smart devices. This can often be somewhere in sight like the kitchen counter or often takes up closet space on a shelf or the floor. It also leaves the uncertainty of ensuring the end-user does not unplug or discard of the hub unknowingly.
Hubless systems, on the other hand, require less hardware to incorporate into the build and ultimately, one less installation to worry about. Hubless smart home solutions were designed with easy installation in mind, requiring only a Wi-Fi connection for fast set-up. Leviton’s Decora Smart Wi-Fi product line features hubless devices that connect to Wi-Fi with a user-friendly set-up process and minimize the hardware that builders need to place within their new builds.
3. Compatibility & Future Expansion
For builders looking to offer smart home options to their buyers and to increase easy end-use for homeowners, it’s important to specify smart lighting controls throughout the home that can support and will continue to be compatible with Amazon Alexa, Hey Google and Apple HomeKit/Siri. Including such compatibility standards in your new project’s buying criteria today will maximize the value of your buyers’ smart home investments down the road.
It’s crucial the smart lighting control devices that builders put into their new builds are ripe for customization and expansion in the future. A perfect example is Leviton’s Decora Smart Wi-Fi 2nd Gen product family. By pre-enrolling devices in the My Leviton app for buyers, all homeowners need to do is create their account with their own preferred settings, routines, and scenes to enact while home or away. These Wi-Fi 2nd Gen devices are also compatible with Leviton’s Decora Smart Anywhere Companions. At any time, this wire-free solution allows homeowners to add additional light dimming and switch controls throughout the home to meet their individual lifestyles and needs with no cutting of holes required.
The future of the smart home is bright with smart lighting solutions illuminating the path forward. Acknowledging variables, such as bulb compatibility, hub requirements and control options, when selecting your next build’s smart lighting controls will warrant a happy homeowner from move-in day well into the future. To learn more on the about smart lighting control options available, visit Leviton's Residential Builders site.