Lighting designer Jim Benya, a regular contributor to Architectural Lighting Magazine (my alma mater) and a thought leader in the lighting community, wrote an excellent article about residential lighting controls for the magazine’s April/May issue, which was released at Lightfair. Calling residential a leader in lighting control, he identifies three ways to approach control:

Photos courtesy of Lightolier Controls.

Photos courtesy of Lightolier Controls.

* Manual switching and dimming
* Whole-house integrated lighting control system
* Mixture of manual and scene controls, and controls capable of remote and automated functions

The systems can be wired or wireless. Among wireless, options include:

* Power-line signaling systems
* RF systems with repeaters
* Mesh network systems

Benya identifies a number of product offerings:

Power-line Carrier Systems
* X-10, the residential PLC signaling system
* Compose PLC by Lightolier, based on X-10 technology
* Decora Home Controls by Leviton, based on X-10
* Insteon by Smart Labs Technologies, a mesh network system using PLC and RF signals to increase the reliability of X-10 PLC systems
* Pulseworx by Powerline Control Systems, a UPB carrier system

RF Wireless Systems
* Enspire by Vantage Controls, using proprietary repeater technology
* Miro by Watt Stopper/Legrand, using proprietary repeater technology
* Radio RA and Homesever by Lutron Electronics, using proprietary repeater technology
* Jetstream by CentraLite, using ZigBee RF mesh control open standard in the 2.4-GHz band
* Vizia by Leviton, using Z-Wave RF mesh control proprietary (but de facto open) standard in the 900 MHz band

Whole-House Systems
* Brilliance II by Lightolier
* Elegance by CentraLite
* Homeworks by Lutron Electronics
* Lite Touch by Lite Touch
* Vantage by Vantage Controls