When it comes to lighting, people have a variety of solutions to choose from. We asked Ned Atkinson, President of SS Lighting, about building automation and profound shifts in the industry. He also shares advice to home and business owners looking to change the way their spaces are lit.
How has building automation played a role in providing customers with suitable lighting solutions?
Building automation is evolving as quickly as the lighting technology it controls. Complete wireless control of all of a building’s lighting is very close. Couple that technology with the advancements in colour temperature picking of luminaries and you have a building that can be energy efficient and versatile. A space that adapts to the needs and requirements of each user, interacting with the technology that they already use and that only provides light when needed and in the perfect amount.
We saw a total change in theatre lighting and colour change control for aesthetics purposes about 7 years ago, when DMX programming started to be easily integrated with light mapping software. This allowed easier overlay of video to buildings rather than lengthy scene programming and crossover effects. In essence, the interior of a building and building automation is becoming very similar with the control of the lighting and individually addressable fixtures allowing the user to be as creative as they like. Imagine a home that only illuminated what you were walking to, or and office that had the colour temperature of the lighting change as the day rolled on, or a building that would guide you in an emergency around dangers via the lighting. We will soon be in an era where the lighting controls can directly communicate to personal devices, such as smart watches and phones, to see where you are and what you need.
Were there any profound shifts in lighting manufacturing in 2015?
LEDs seem to have a profound shift every few months. Currently, you can do pretty much anything with an LED, the only thing that stops that is cost and efficiency. In 2015, we saw a dramatic reduction in cost and a large increase in efficiency allowing more of the theoretical technology to become a reality.
What advice would you give to home and business owners looking to change the way their spaces are lit?
Lighting historically has been an important part of any interaction with a space, even before it became popular to observe it. I watched a movie based in 1910 a few weeks ago and noticed that all the lighting at work had ‘green’ shades for desk lamps and clear shades for general illumination, whereas the lighting at home had ‘red’ and ‘orange’ shades. This ties nicely in to the thoughts about circadian biorhythms and the effects of natural and artificial light.
Most home owners and business owners have been concentrating on hard work and then speedy relaxation. Lighting is a very important part of creating a more efficient environment in both situations. LEDs can be a big part of that, but other traditional sources are just as big of a part. I would say that the best thing to do is research, also to look at the areas you feel most productive/relaxed in and observe how the lighting is created and try to emulate that into whichever environment you are thinking about altering the lighting in. I would also say consider the aesthetics of the designs of your lights. Decide on whether you want to have a single design throughout the house, like a radial wave light fixture which can also be used for exterior lights, or do you want different designs in every room to suit the aesthetics for each environment. This will help you to create the environment you really want.