Going for the Gold with Light Management
Technology Integrator: What are the biggest benefits that shading, drapery and lighting control bring to your clients, and to the interior design community and architects with whom you collaborate? What bottom-line benefits have these categories meant for you in the last year?
EJ Feulner, Managing Director, Elite Home Technologies/HiFi House Group, Broomall, Pa.: In the ultra-luxury integrated system market, it is an absolute necessity to offer shading solutions to our clients and their project stakeholders, including architects and designers. Most of these project partners are well-versed in the different motorized shade and drape options, and expect the integrator to be as well. This is even more evident when working in MDU condo and apartment buildings in urban areas. When working on these projects, shades will definitely come up at the initial meeting—they are that important to the client and project. It is easy to explain the benefits to any client sitting on the fence about shading solutions, including using natural light as a layer to the overall lighting control system scheme, the convenience of simple shade operation of complex window configurations, and automatic operation with global scenes or based on sun position.
Kevin Lotto, Director of Operations, DC Home Systems, Portsmouth, N.H.: Motorized window coverings and lighting integration empower our clients to have greater control over their environment. They can quickly make changes from one reliable, familiar interface to adjust natural and artificial light, creating the atmosphere that they desire. Our clients have confidence that lights aren’t being left on, vacation timers are keeping the home safe when away, and energy is being saved.
These categories also provide a fuller offering for the client. They have fewer “stops” to get the level of quality and service that they expect from a quality integrator. There is a consistent interface for controlling all of these systems, and just one phone number to call if there are questions.
These technologies also allow us to work more closely with the interior designer and architect to create a consistent design style throughout the home. Wall clutter is reduced due to simple keypads instead of gangs of switches and thermostats everywhere to be seen. Equipment disappears into storage
spaces and shades are hidden in headers,
leaving just the styles that are desired.
Lighting creates mood.
It’s truly a showpiece for the interior designer and architect.
We continue to benefit year over year, as designers are beginning to understand these points. Shades, drapes and lighting control are typically an add-on to the scope of our project—not a transfer from some other part of our budget, so they have real effect on the revenue for any given project. We also gain from the referrals that designers bring in. We work to maintain partnerships with them for the long haul.