Thoughts From LEDucation

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Eaton lighting controls
Eaton Z Wave Collection,

The Lighting & Decor team was on the road this week, making a stop at LEDucation to check out the latest offerings in the LED lighting arena.

While there, I sat in on a session called “Is LED Lighting Old News?” The title drew me in because I’ve been a part of similar discussions internally many a times to this point. The presenters, Dan Blitzer, Principal of Practical Lighting Workshop LLC; Craig Bernecker, founder of The Lighting Education Institute and professor in the Masters of Fine Arts in Lighting Design program at Parsons School of Design; and Melanie Taylor, Lighting Designer and Vice President at WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff were discussing this topic through the lens of the Next Generation Luminaires Solid State Lighting competition, but offered some unique insights about the current, and future, state of LED lighting in residential settings.

Is LED lighting old news? It’s not, but we’ve reached a point where luminaire quality and price is up to par with incandescent and more accessible than ever before, respectively. Now, the next category of products deserving attention is indoor connected lighting systems. There is no one standard for these systems — some companies have developed their own, some follow Zigbee, some follow Z–Wave — which is one hurdle, and systems with external controllers and networked luminaires, although extensive in functionality, can create limitations.

Blitzer stated that one of the major reasons controls aren’t more widely used in this country is because of user satisfaction — if the system doesn’t work easily or intuitively, it gets shut off and left off. This is clearly a crucial barrier, just as price was for LED luminaires a few years ago.

I’m curious to hear about your experiences with controls, either in projects for customers or in searching out new systems to carry in your stores — what have you found works best thus far? What are the most common issues? Your application–based feedback is requested.

Nicole Davis
Nicole Davis

Nicole Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of Lighting & Decor and was also the Editor-in-Chief of Lighting & Decor's predecessors, Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast. She's been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries for six years and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.