Circadian Lighting, one of the most popular add-ons on the Home Assistant Community Store is becoming a first-class citizen in Home Assistant. While there is the Flux platform which changes the temperature of lights already available it is far inferior to Circadian Lighting. A fork of Circadian Lighting, going by the name of Adaptive Lighting, will be added to Home Assistant in a future update. Let’s take a look at these platforms and discuss why you should be using them.
Why adjust the colour/temperature of lights
Having your lights synchronised with the naturally occurring colour temperature of the sky throughout the day has a number of potential benefits. Besides giving your home a more natural feel with cooler hues during the daytime and warmer hues near twilight and dawn there are a number of reported health benefits.
What is the circadian rhythm?
A circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. This rhythm responds primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. The amount of light which enters your optic nerve influences the hormones your body produces. When there is less light your body produces melatonin and you become drowsy.
Artificial light can mess up your natural circadian rhythm. The light coming from lamps, phones, and TVs tell your body that it isn’t nighttime yet. To counter that the Home Assistant components Flux, Circadian Light, and Adaptive Light adjust your lights to match the hue of the outside light.
What is Flux?
Flux is a switch platform which controls your light similar to how the popular application f.lux controls your PC monitor, using circadian rhythm. With
Flux active your lights will be bright and cooler during the daytime and gradually fade to a warm red/orange at night.
While seemingly perfect,
Flux has some drawbacks which have left many a user frustrated. Just about all of the issues experienced with
Flux are fixed in Circadian Lighting, making it the better option in every way.
What is Circadian Lighting?
Circadian Lighting is a Home Assistant component developed by Bas Nijholt. It is available on HACS, which is my preferred way of installing it. If you’re looking for reasons to use Circadian Lighting here’s just a few:
- Circadian Lighting has two main components, a sensor and switch (or multiple switches). The sensor maintains the calculated colour temperature to keep all lights in sync. The switch allows for specific options to be set for specific groups of lights.
- In contrast to Flux it tracks the state of all configured lights. In doing so it can instantly react to a light being turned on. And when a light is turned on the transition to the colour temperature defined by the sensor is almost instant.
- Because Circadian Lighting creates a sensor which makes the calculated colour temperate available to all other components you can create automations in which lights turn on with exactly the right colour temperature. That way there won’t be a jump from the previous colour.
- Circadian Lighting can automatically disable when a specified entity is in a specified state. This allows you to disable Circadian Lighting without having to manually toggle it off or create an automation to do so.
- You can use Circadian Lighting to create a nightlight (or as I call a pee light) using the
sleep mode. This mode activates when a specific entity is in a specified state. So if you use a
binary_sensorto let Home Assistant know when you are asleep you can use the same sensor to turn on
One sensor for all lights
Another benefit of using Circadian Lighting is that all of your lights can be controlled using a single sensor. It doesn’t matter whether the lights are RGB, RGBW, or whathaveyou. Lights which only adjust the temperature are supported and lights which only dim.
What are the downsides of using Circadian Lighting?
Because Circadian Lighting has so many variables which can be configured (but don’t have to be) it can appear a bit intimidating to newcomers. The Circadian Lighting can only be configured using YAML, there is no UI configuration available. That issue will be fixed with the introduction of Adaptive Lighting.
What is Adaptive Lighting?
Adaptive Lighting will be an official component for Home Assistant forked from Circadian Lighting. In contrast to Circadian Lighting, Adaptive Lighting should be easier to configure through the web interface. Despite being easier to configure, Adaptive Lighting doesn’t remove any functionality from Circadian Lighting. You can even configure it using YAML which should give you some more advanced options.
How to install Adaptive Lighting now
If you want to give Adaptive Lighting a try now, before it is integrating into a Home Assistant release, you can install it by adding the following repo to HACS:
To do so enter HACS from the Home Assistant menu and add a custom repository from the three-dot button in the top right-hand corner. Select
integration in the window which opens up and paste the URL. You should now see the option to install Adaptive Lighting. Once installed you will need to restart Home Assistant and then you’ll be ready to configure it.
Configuring Adaptive Lighting
The Adaptive Lighting configuration is added from the UI. Simply enter the configuration, click on
Integrations and search for
Adaptive Lighting. Next, you will have to enter a name. You can create multiple instances of Adaptive Lighting. Say you wanted to only have the hue and not the brightness of your office lights adjusted but in the bathroom, you wanted both the hue and brightness to be adjusted you could do that using multiple instances. Each instance can contain multiple lights.
In this example, I’m configuring my office lights. The office is equipped with a couple of Philips Hue temperature adjusting lights. And all I want to happen in this room is for the lights to adjust their temperature but not their brightness. Using the UI I can easily disable the brightness adjustment.
I’ll also configure a nightlight which will be enabled when a certain
input_select is set to
sleeping. And just like that, I’ve configured my lights.
More can be done
Once you’ve got Adaptive Lighting configured you’ll notice that there are a bunch of other options available. I’m sure the descriptions of these will be cleaned up a bit before it is officially a part of Home Assistant. A good overview of these options can be found in the Circadian Lighting wiki.