In fact, Laughlin said, some homeowners may actually see this as the primary benefit of a smart lighting product.
“Smart lighting control is still sort of a trendy thing that some homeowners don’t see a use for,” she said, but “preventing people from thinking that you’re away, that’s something that we’ve really seen a lot of people using.”
Start with the basics
Builders don’t have to choose elaborate or state-of-the-art smart lighting packages for their projects, Laughlin said. She encourages builders to work with a lighting designer who can help select a basic lighting package that shows the home supports smart systems, but allows buyers to customize their lighting once they’re living in the home.
“One of the largest misconceptions that builders have is that new technology or new fixtures or new design has to be more expensive,” Laughlin said, but even basic smart lighting products can give buyers “that customized feeling of ‘Oh, wow, I have a smart light capable home,’ even if the builder is just offering a very entry-level package of three smart switches and a dusk-to-dawn sensor.”
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When thinking about smart lighting, homeowners tend to be interested in after-market products like bulbs, Laughlin said, but that’s often because their homes don’t support smart systems without significant upgrades. She recommends looking at smart switches that allow homeowners to use any light fixture or bulb.
“Since it’s your switch that [has] the smart capability rather than the fixture or the bulb itself, it’s just a little bit more universal with where you can use it, how many you can use, how many fixtures can be operating off of that one room or scene,” Laughlin explained.
Being able to turn lights on and off with an app has its uses, of course, but “my question is how often do you really do that rather than walking into your house and still reaching your arm out to your wall and turning on your light fixture?”
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In all but the most modern designs, where owners don’t want any switches on the wall, this innate action may feel more natural, despite the benefits of voice- or app-controlled lighting, she said.