Use Occupancy Sensors to Automate Your Lighting

Are you looking for a way to save some money on your utility bills at your office?
We encourage you to look into using occupancy sensors to benefit from greater automation of your lighting throughout your facility. Studies show that lighting can account for 20 percent of energy use in an office building. The use of lighting controls like occupancy sensors can reduce that amount by 25 percent, which, over a number of years, can add up to some significant savings.

Occupancy sensors are not a particularly new feature for electrical lighting installation in Alexandria, VA, though the technology has certainly become more sophisticated over the decades. If you have been under the assumption that occupancy sensors don’t work well or can be an inconvenience, you are likely basing that off of the outdated, inferior sensor technology. Today’s sensors will almost completely eliminate issues of lights turning off while occupants are in the room but sitting still, which had previously been the most common complaint associated with these sensors.

Here’s a quick sampling of some of the types of technology used in today’s occupancy sensors.

Ultrasonic motion detection
Ultrasonic technology is ideal for locations in which there are small movements that occur over extended periods of time, such as a person typing at a computer. The technology involves the release of a pulse into space, and that pulse bouncing back. If there is movement in the space, the bounce-back comes with a different reading, and the sensor will then know there is movement. The sensor is also capable of reading these pulses around corners. This technology does have slightly higher power requirements, but it is highly effective at reading what might otherwise be considered minute movements.

Passive infrared motion detection
Passive infrared (PIR) sensors are ideal for detecting major sources of motion, such as a person walking through space. It works by tracking heat sources and their movement when in direct range of view of the sensor. These sensors are less expensive and have lower power requirements.

Dual-tech motion detection
This type of sensor comes at a higher price, but also gives you greater flexibility, as it detects both major and minor movements as described above. Occupancy sensors will not turn on the lighting until both PIR and ultrasonic elements in the system have been triggered.

The most holistic occupancy sensor setups will make use of each type of technology as much as possible. There might, for example, be hallways in your building where PIR sensors are more than sufficient for your needs. Rarely will you have a person just sitting in the hallway for long periods of time, so it makes sense to use PIR technology there.
Office spaces that are actively used throughout the day, however, are better served by ultrasonic or dual-tech motion detection to track those smaller movements.

For more information about how you can make effective use of motion detection and occupancy sensors, contact Walsh Electric to discuss your electrical lighting installation in Alexandria, VA.