Saving energy can be as simple as turning off the light switch when you leave a room. But in most homes… that doesn’t happen all the time. Lester Graham reports… motion sensing light switches are becoming more popular because they’ll switch on and off automatically.
Saving energy can be as simple as turning off the light switch when you leave a room. But in most homes… that doesn’t happen all the time. Lester Graham reports… motion sensing light switches are become more popular because they’ll switch on and off automatically.
In some families, Dad stomping around the house, turning off lights and yelling to no one in particular is legendary.
“How many times do I have to tell you, turn off those lights.”
Don’t burst a blood vessel there, pal.
Well, Dad might have had a point. Matt Grocoff with Greenovation.TV says he’s been poking around the Environmental Protection Agency’s website and found this:
“Sixty-percent of lighting actually goes to lighting an unoccupied room, hallways, bathrooms, your bedroom. Drive by any neighborhood house and you’ll see eight rooms lit. How many of those houses have eight people in them.”
Matt says there’s a solution. Motion-sensing light switches. They can be set to turn on when you walk into a room and turn themselves off when you leave… staying on for a minute or two… or five… or a half-hour. Whatever you set it to.
There are a lot of different types. Laurie Gross is President of Gross Electric in Ohio and Michigan. They’ve been selling lamps and lights and switches for one-hundred years.
She says there are light switches that turn on when you enter and off when you leave, others that you have to turn on and they turn off when the room is empty. Different technology works –well– differently. Gross says passive infrared works well for pantries or kitchens because they detect motion.
“Then there’s ultrasonic which doesn’t need a line-of-sight. So, those are good in public bathrooms so when it senses heat, when go in there, it knows you’re there and turns off if you take a little longer than expected to take.”
And there are switches that use both infrared and ultrasonic… good for places like big office spaces.
You can expect to spend 50 – 60 bucks or more for a good one, depending on what you want. There are cheaper sensor light switches out there… but in this case, you really do get what you pay for.
Now… these switches use a tiny bit of power themselves… so the best place for them is in a room where leaving the light bulb on is not likely to be noticed for a while. Matt tells the story of forgetting to turn off a light in the garage during vacation. That bulb burned for two weeks. A sensor switch makes a lot of sense in a place like that… or in a closet… or a room you don’t use a lot.
Matt Grocoff and his wife Kelly are working to make their 110 year old house the oldest net-zero energy home in America. And he says he loves having motion sensing switches in key areas for the convenience as well as the energy savings.
“We open the door in the kitchen and come through the door with loads of groceries and the light comes on automatically. You don’t have to do the elbow dance.”
His wife Kelly says for her… it’s avoiding a little childhood terror.
“I have a little PTSD from when I was younger and my Dad was constantly harassing us to turn the lights off. Now, I know if I leave the room and I don’t turn the light off, it’s going to go off eventually instead of having my Dad chase me down and giving me some lecture about turning the lights off, saving energy, saving money, blah, blah, blah.”
Funny story about that. Kelly’s Mom, Jane Casselman was visiting when I was at the couple’s house… and she started laughing about Dad lecturing about the lights.
“’Cause in the evening, yours truly would turn all the lights off before going to bed.”
For The Environment Report… I’m Lester Graham.