One of the things I love so much about traveling abroad is seeing how other people live. I just got back from a couple weeks in Spain and Italy and could go on and on about the differences in everyday life I noticed. But one difference that really jumped out to me is the prolific use of motion sensor lighting. It seemed like every hotel I stayed in, every hallway I walked down and every bathroom entered had motion sensors for their lights and it got me wondering, why we don’t we have them everywhere here?
I never really thought about how much energy could be saved by using these sensors until I started to see them literally everywhere in Europe. Every hotel room we stayed in had motion sensors in the main room and bathroom at least. On top of that, they all had a new feature that requires you to put your room key in a slot by the door to activate the electricity in the room. Since most travelers don’t bother to turn out the lights or turn of the A/C when they leave the room, this certainly helps to save a vast amount of electricity, especially in the summer when A/C units would be running overtime to cool empty rooms.
While this concept of motion sensors works great in hotels and public restrooms, does it translate as well to your home? Curious about it, I did some research and most of the “experts” agree that motion sensor lighting can save between 15 to 90 percent each year in electrical usage. In rooms that see high traffic like the living room or kitchen, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to install the sensors considering most run about $25. But in rooms that don’t see high traffic, and as a result, a light could stay on for days at a time if forgotten to be turned off, then it certainly makes sense. I think of my basement, garage and even bathrooms as perfect spots for sensors.
If you are trying to be more green, then installing a few of these sensors in your house is definitely a great start. But why stop there? If your work doesn’t already have them, why not encourage them to have them installed in bathrooms, conference rooms and work rooms that don’t see lots of traffic but the lights are always on. It is a small way to help save some energy and I can guarantee that after having the sensors for a few days, you will wonder how you ever lived without them.