Watt Stopper’s PW-100D passive infrared (PIR) dimmable wall switch sensor.
It seems like every other day I hear on the news that changing your light bulbs could save the world. True. But, how about making it simpler? Let’s change the mantra to turn off your lights when you leave a room. You know what I am talking about Lights left on because you swear you were going to be back in a minute? So, how do we reverse the trend? Occupancy and Daylighting controls. I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Knuffke, Western
Regional Sales Manager at Watt Stopper about his Companies’ residential and commercial products. You can listen to the podcast here or click on the podcast button at the beginning of the post. It is 10 minutes long.
Why change our behavior?
According to the US Department of Energy, energy used by lights amounts to about 11% of a household’s budget. Lighting energy usage in commerical buildings amounts to approximately 21% of total energy costs. If you could dent this percentage to reduce your energy cost, won’t you?
Watt Stopper has been in the occupancy sensor business for over twenty years. Just as their name implies, they stop unnecessary watt usage, and thus our carbon footprint.
Watt Stopper makes three different products for different applications which turn off the lights when they sense no one is in the room.
- passive infrared which senses body heat (intended for small rooms where the switch is wall mounted. PIRs can not see through walls.)
- ultrasonic which senses sound waves bouncing around a room. (Intended where line of site view of the occupant is not available.)
- a combination of infrared and ultrasonic as a belt and suspender approach to such areas as conference rooms, classrooms, and executive offices. (The most expensive option.)
The National Institute of Building Science states:
“Occupancy sensor placement is very important to the successful implementation of the control design intent. Occupancy sensors must be located to ensure that they will not detect movement outside of the desired coverage area, through an open doorway, for example. Ultrasonic devices are sensitive to air movement and should not be placed near an HVAC diffuser, where air movement may cause false tripping.”
During our conversation , Charles showed me some of the Watt Stopper residential products. The Company sells the following:
- Vacancy sensor which is manually turned on but automatically turns off
- Occupancy Sensor with Nightlight
- Dimming Sensor for stairs
- Ultrasonic sensor, which is great for bathrooms and basements.
- Time Switches
- RF (radio frequency) control which allows for turning off and dimming lights through a remote control. It is geared to the condominium market. As Knuffke explained, a couch potato’s dream.
He indicated that a homeowner could install one of the above sensors. However, if you are uncomfortable with working around electrical components, hire an electrician.
Studies have shown that utilizing daylight in a space increase productivity. However, to save money and utilize daylight, you must turn off the lights. Daylighting controls dim or turn off lights when there is sufficient available light for the space. One of the benefits of daylighting controls is it reduces energy loads for utilities since sufficient daylight tends to be at the same time energy loads are at their highest. Watt Stopper offers a variety of daylighting controls and sensors. Schools, office building, and hotels can all benefit from the use of daylighting controls to reduce their energy usage.
For more information about placement and use of occupancy sensors and daylighting controls for various areas of your office building or homes, see here. Why shouldn’t you have control over your lighting as well as your energy bill? For more information about how to locate a stocking distributor, see here. Note, some of the Company’s products are sold on their website.