Comfort and wellness: two buzzwords we’re hearing a lot these days as so many of us spend more time at home. As a result, human-centric lighting has taken on a heightened level of importance for integrators and their customers.
“I have noticed an increase in interest among our clients in more advanced lighting solutions,” says Nick DeClemente, founder and CEO, Elevated Integration, a Savant dealer. “Customers are starting to become aware that they can choose a color temperature, the benefits of maintaining circadian rhythm through tunable lighting, and more. Customers are 100-percent aware of the need for quality white light, as well.
At GHT Group, a DMF Lighting dealer, chief experience officer Eric Joy has not seen increased awareness of the lighting category from new clients — until they get into the GHT showroom. “It has really been an initiative from our end to bring this awareness, but once we get in front of them, it is becoming easier to make lighting important to the project. The quality of the light and the layering of light are very easy for the client to see and to understand that proper lighting design makes a big difference. Health and wellness are not mentioned specifically, but I know that as the category grows, this will become more of a talking point.”
Crestron’s Michael Short, director of residential marketing, says lighting is one of the first aspects discussed on a project. “It’s imperative that a home features good-quality light, and, obviously, Crestron has a long history with these technologies needed for lighting control and automation, scene creation, and all the other elements involved in these systems.
“Over the past decade or so,” he adds, “we’ve achieved the ability to control light through tunable LEDs, and customers are definitely more aware of what that means. As a result, we’re answering the need for solutions for everything from accenting artwork to helping support health and wellness via fixtures that follow Circadian rhythms.”
Speaking of Circadian
Circadian, or human-centric, lighting has been a big topic of discussion, but it’s still very early in the development of these technologies, Short notes. “We’re doing all we can to educate both dealers and end-users in this regard, but there’s definitely a fundamental awareness in the market. As an example, everyone doesn’t switch on the bathroom light in the middle of the night because they know that bright light will wake them up.”
What’s interesting, he says, is that many customers have been exposed to Circadian lighting and don’t even realize it. “It’s been in offices for a long time as a result of several studies that have shown it can improve the working environment. As these solutions move into the home, however, it should be noted that Circadian lighting doesn’t need to illuminate every space; perhaps just kitchens, bedrooms, home offices, and other spaces where it might be most beneficial.”
Crestron is bringing to market its own light fixtures and is partnering with a number of fixture manufacturers to give dealers the broadest possible selection. “Of course, this is all based around the Crestron Home OS, which makes these options incredibly easy to configure from our SolarSync solution that mimics aspects of natural sunshine at any given time of day to tuning the light specifically to highlight a treasured painting.”
“We feature lighting prominently in our presentations and we demo Savant Daylight Mode all the time, along with the fun aspects of incorporating LED Tape light and adding color to décor!” DeClemente says. “I think a big key for us in managing the expectations, both during the sale as well as in the installation and commissioning process, is that we can reassure our clients that every single Elevated employee has Savant in their homes, including some aspects of lighting. That familiarity helps both in managing expectations and in the client support/learning process when a system has been commissioned.”
At GHT, Joy credits DMF as a great partner, one that has been patient as the dealer becomes more comfortable with the category. “The design of its One Frame and Square Frame modular systems make it easy to sell the concept of lighting without having to know all the final specs needed for each installation. The DMF – DRD2 and DRD4 are the primary SKUs we sell, and we showcase them throughout our facility. Part of the biggest impact is showing our clients how properly lit paintings/sculptures can make such a big difference. And their Warm Dim modules allow us to show how you can easily change the ‘mood’ of a space.
“Selling lighting is definitely important in the overall project,” he notes. “We’ve been selling the control aspect of lighting for many years now, and to take full ownership of the entirety of the lighting scope is beneficial to us as the integrator, and for the client and our build partners as well. It has taken some getting used to, but we are absolutely getting into the habit of leading with lighting. We know that of all the things we can offer our clients, it is the one sure thing that they will use and enjoy every single day that they spend in their new home.”
The lighting fixture category will continue to be an extremely important category as the ecosystem of fixtures grows and the prices come down over time, DeClemente concludes. “The story of great lighting throughout the home will become more widespread, and the opportunity for CI channel integrators will become more substantial.”