“Where the Light Is: Home Lighting Trends” is a major feature article I wrote for the March issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR.

The 2008 housing-market crash ended the home construction boom. A steady recovery began in 2012, and it continues today, bolstering the U.S. economy. Historically, residential construction averages 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Total construction spending jumped 10.5 percent in 2015 to $1.1 trillion, the highest level in eight years, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. With spending increasing 12.6 percent for the year, home construction was a bright spot in construction. Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Housing Market Index, builder confidence remains strong.

“For the past seven months, builder confidence levels have averaged in the low 60s, which is in line with a gradual, consistent recovery,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist and senior vice president, in mid-December 2015. “With job creation, economic growth and growing household formations, we anticipate the housing market to continue to pick up traction as we head into 2016.”

Several major trends are affecting home design, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which asked a panel of 500 architects what they thought would be the hottest home-design features over the next decade. The results included technology integration offering greater control of temperature, security and lighting; energy-efficient and sustainable design elements; senior-friendly options such as added handrails; kitchens remaining the home’s focal point; and outdoor and home-office spaces growing in importance.

Lighting plays a role in all of these trends, from greater connectivity and control, to energy efficiency, to satisfying the particular vision and lifestyle needs of the growing senior population. In turn, a number of key trends is imposing major technological change on lighting.

Click here to read the rest of the article and check out the major trends in residential lamps, luminaires and controls.