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USE OCCUPANCY SENSORS IN UNDERUTILIZED SPACES

 

This month's tip is from Al Gilewicz of the University at Buffalo, January's Green Tip submission winner. Al wrote:

Many institutions have existing conference rooms that are used sporadically yet are not equipped with motion sensors.  The results are lights left on and HVAC systems supplying heat and air conditioning to an empty space.  As part of UB's ongoing energy conservation efforts, Utility Operations has identified several of these rooms and have fitted them out with motion sensors for the lights as well as motion sensors for the HVAC terminal delivery devices.  The end result is that we don't have to worry about someone turning off the lights when they leave or having to modify building management system time of day schedules for the HVAC systems on little or no notice form the users.  Based on the historical use of the conference room and actual trend logs of lighting and HVAC system use, the economic paybacks are less than three years.  Most important of all is that the indoor environment of the conference room is improved with little or no negative impact to the occupants.

Al is absolutely right.  Motion, or occupancy, sensors are a great way to reduce energy use for lighting and HVAC systems in rooms that are not in constant use, such as conference rooms and private offices.  At CIR we use them for lighting in our restrooms and kitchen.  If your business doesn't have zoned HVAC where you can individually control temperatures in different spaces, you can still save a lot of energy by installing occupancy sensors for lighting, which accounts for 21 percent of energy use in commercial buildings[1].

Congratulations Al and thank you to everyone who submitted their green tip!

*At Mr. Gilewicz's request, CIR will be making a donation to the University at Buffalo's Electrical Engineering Department in lieu of the gas card prize for January.


[1] Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy http://www.eia.doe.gov/

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