These things are actually of architecture but in the context of cost reduction and DIY smart/IoT controlled lights, we need to know the basics. This article is intended to provide the information to clarify the basics so that you can choose the correct stuff. A good architect will expect an informed client specifically when you want to implement automation.
In the case of masonry/RC construction, whether you’ll use a false ceiling (drywall) that depends on many factors. If you want to avoid false ceilings for masonry/RC construction at home, you can use the surface light version of the type of light. It is possible to bury concealed conduit wiring within the plaster even after once finishing is done. The reason to think about false ceiling are:
- cost reduction (in some of the countries, it is the main reason)
- making the cassette AC/HVAC vent installation beautiful
- hiding the ugly pipe works required by law for fire control (not applicable for home)
- cutting off the heat/cold of the ceiling
- to realize different shapes of the ceiling such as a dome
False ceiling/drywall may harbour various types of mites and they spread infection, allergy etc. Just termite is enough bad creature for us. Termites and mites are members of the same phylum but they are classified differently.
Normally, for the rooms in our homes, we need a total of 40-60 watts of LED bulbs to cover 100 square feet area for a room with 12 feet height ceiling. Reflected or diffused light is always superior for reading. Think of solar power for powering the LED lights if you have not implemented solar in your house.
Panel Light Vs COB Light Vs Track Light
Panel lights are the basic LED lights for the ceiling. They are a kind of replacement for traditional bulbs, LED bulbs, baton lights/tube lights etc. They are for general illumination and designed not to create shadows. There is a translucent white sheet in front of the unit for delivering the diffused light effect. This kind of light is for aiding our day-to-day activities at night such as working on a laptop or reading a book. For a 100 square feet room of 10 to 12 feet in height, one white panel light of 10watt in each corner (4×10 watts = 40 watts) should be sufficient to produce the required illumination. One additional baton light/tube light of 20 watts may be required for reading purposes. We will avoid installing a panel light at the centre of the room.
This is the basic light for the living room, bedroom, kitchen etc. These lights usually produce minimal heat. These four (or six if the room is bigger) lights should be wired together for inverter, solar, IoT smart switch etc as one unit of four lights. These are the basic lights and are practically mandatory now for good illumination. Do not omit the installation of this type of light. It will cost just $100 for a solar and IoT smart switch for these 40-watt lights. With $130 material, you are getting the most modern lighting system. When the room becomes longer or bigger, you will need more than 4 units of panel lights and possibly you have to increase the wattage.
The rest of the lights I will mention next are simply for beatification and luxury only.
COB light and Spotlight
We have explained COB light in another article. COB light is for focusing the elements of decoration such as a plant, part of a floor, or an artwork.
When you are using a 7 to 10-watt COB light at least 8 inches away from one 10-watt panel light, then the light is visible on the floor and wall even if all the lights are ON. If you use too much higher wattage COB light, that will create increased heating of the room and using too low wattage will work just for decoration of the ceiling. There is the usage of 3-watt COB lights.
We can use COB lights in corridors, and rooms to highlight the decorations. These lights can be costly. Despite the cost, they may not highlight exactly what we want. These highlight the floor, and tabletop better.
Connecting just one light with an inverter, solar, IoT smart switch etc in case of a corridor will save a significant amount of electricity since we will not keep them turned on for 12 hours per day. We will tend to use warm white colours for COB, spotlight etc.
Spotlight is a different type of light and usually today the technology is COB LED. They can be tilted to different angles making them suitable in some use cases.
Track lights have endless usage to highlight an object of decoration. Their technology is COB LED and thus can produce heat. This is only a viable option when the height of the ceiling is lower than 12 feet. Probably you’ll not connect them to an inverter, solar, IoT smart switch etc since their usage is only when guests are inside your house or on certain occasions.
Profile lights are LED strips inside an aluminium channel. You should purchase the LED strips which are smart, and dimmable, and you can change the colour. They are SMD LEDs and remain cool. They can increase the ambient light of the whole room but that is too costly to produce.
Usually, 4 to 8-panel lights and 2-4 COB lights are enough for the rooms we live in. However, you can think of profile lights, LED strips etc. Investing too much in various types of light will increase power consumption and thereby only solar will be unable to supply the power within a practical budget for most. Also, the cost and complexity behind making them smart with the help of IoT will increase. Most of the commercial solutions to convert traditional switches support 4 switches of 3-5 amps each. If you have a lot of lights then the cost will disproportionally increase. LED, Solar and IoT are great technologies when properly used.