• Craig Drabyk

Save Energy with Occupancy Sensors

Updated: Oct 11, 2019


Occupancy sensors are devices that turn equipment on and off in response to the presence or absence of people in a specific area. These devices, which have been proven to significantly reduce energy consumption and provide long-term energy savings, are widely used for lighting control, and as the technology progresses, more and more buildings and facilities are integrating HVAC controls into the mix, with great success.


The typical occupancy sensor used for lighting applications uses infrared or ultrasonic technology (or a hybrid of the two) to detect motion within a space. When someone enters the area, a control unit activates the lights and keeps them on while the space is occupied, and turns them off when no motion is detected for a set period of time. Lighting occupancy sensors can be expected to cut electricity use by about half.


Occupancy sensors used for HVAC controls automatically adjust climate settings when motion is detected in a room or area. Since HVAC accounts for 50-70% of primary energy consumed in commercial buildings, these devices provide huge potential for significant energy savings and can prolong equipment life. Advanced ventilation controls offer about eight times more savings than advanced lighting controls.


Groundbreaking occupancy sensor technology that is now under development is expected to generate even greater energy savings by detecting not only the mere presence of people but the number of occupants in a zone or area. Currently, most sensor-based ventilation systems operate at a set capacity, whether there are two or two hundred people in a room. Future sensing devices will be capable of determining how many people are present, and adjust fan speeds and air movement accordingly. A recent study by the DOE estimates that these sensors will save twenty-eight times more energy than today’s already-energy-efficient sensors when used for both lighting and ventilation, and will reduce the annual energy bill of the average large building by an impressive 18%.


The use of occupancy sensors for lighting and HVAC are proven energy savers and should always be installed in new buildings, and retrofitting existing buildings almost always produces significant energy gains as well, even considering the expense of installation. To find out more about occupancy sensors, contact OMNI at 908-412-7130 or 240-341-7915.

About Omni

Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc. is a premier instrumentation and electrical contractor, providing superior total care solutions since 1986. Services include instrument installation, tubing installation, instrument calibration, control loop testing, startup and commissioning, power and lighting, process control wiring, BMS wiring, telecommunications and data wiring, fire alarm wiring, security wiring, process network wiring, and control panel fabrication. Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc., is certified in Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus, DeviceNet and ASI-Bus installation.

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