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Once In a While

Occasionally—once in a great while, it seems—a true game changer comes your way. I haven’t seen that in the realm of lighting in a long time. In fact, the last time I remember getting excited about lighting control was when a guy from Lutron told me about their products, back in the late 90s. It was cool, because there were no more banks of dimmers on the wall. Finally, your lights could all be turned on and off from one location.

I can safely say that we haven’t seen anything lately but frustration due to the problems associated with the advent of LED lighting. The energy-saving technology has been more of a problem than a source of excitement, especially when combined with centralized lighting control systems.

The current approach to designing and implementing a lighting system is convoluted, to say the least. The standard process for LED lighting requires expensive solid copper wire; this heavy cable is routed from the power source to locations in every room. Once the room is wired, you have to locate an electrical transformer that changes AC to low voltage and then, finally, you can attach an LED fixture.

The process is equally difficult on the design and installation end. It all begins with an architect’s concept, then a lighting specifier proposes fixtures, and an integrator determines how to control everything so an electrician can complete the installation. When there is a problem with this process, you can imagine the finger pointing that occurs and the frustration in remedying the situation.

That’s all changed with the advent of Colorbeam. This Canadian company o