More and more of our customers are becoming concerned with the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses. They’re concerned not only with the cost of high-energy usage, but also with the environmental impact. Many people are aware of ways to save energy when it comes to heating and cooling (better insulation and windows, installing smart thermostats, etc.), but most are not aware of ways to use less electric lighting in order to reduce energy usage, other than by using LED light bulbs.
In our soon-to-be-released e-book about Crestron programming for smart homes, we discuss utilizing daylight harvesting techniques as part of an environmentally conscious smart home design. Daylight harvesting systems, used in both residential and commercial environments, offer a way to drastically reduce the need for artificial lighting by taking advantage of natural light.
These systems employ photosensors (light level sensors), which evaluate the available natural light in a room and only add artificial light if it is necessary to reach the room’s pre-programmed minimum light level. The minimum light levels can vary from room to room. For example, you may want your kitchen or office space to be more brightly lit than a bedroom or dining room. As the available natural light fluctuates throughout the day, your lights can automatically dim or become brighter through the use of dimmable fixtures.
Another aspect of energy-saving light control can be to add motion sensors that turn off a room’s lights when the room is unoccupied. Motion sensors can be incorporated into your lighting system so you are never using energy to light a room that is not in use.
Shade control is yet another component of daylight harvesting. The shades in your home or office can be programmed to rise automatically in the morning when the sun comes up. If the sun is shining directly through a window, a shade can be automatically lowered or partially lowered to reduce glare and limit solar heat gain, while still allowing useful diffused light through the shade. Later in the day, when the sunlight is more indirect, the shades can rise again to take advantage of useful daylight. As you can probably assume, shade control has a dual benefit of saving energy through both the reduced use of lighting, as well as heating and cooling systems.
When we worked as the Crestron programmers for San Diego’s first certified Passive House last year, a daylight harvesting system was one of the ways in which we helped the homeowners reduce their energy usage. Using a combination of lighting and shade control, the homeowners’ use of artificial light was dramatically reduced, saving them a tremendous amount of energy and helping them meet the strict energy efficiency standards of a Passive House.
Are you looking for a Crestron programming company that is familiar with daylight harvesting techniques that can help reduce the energy usage in your home or place of business? Contact the programming experts at AVPA. We’d love to talk to you about how we can make your home or office smarter, as well as more energy efficient!