Monday, May 17, 2010
The Light Switch Saga
I’m not sure what it is about turning off lights. It’s been like pulling teeth to get people in the office to turn them off when they leave the restroom; even though leaving the lights on is a huge waste of energy and money.
My first attempt to get the lights turned off was to put up signs (written in English & Spanish) in the restrooms. But half the time I went in there I found that the lights had been left on. This was very frustrating.
Last week I thought I had solved the problem. Nick Rios, Park Grill’s Facilities Manager, and I installed occupancy sensors in the employee restrooms. I'm so proud of myself for not getting electrocuted! But, alas, these sensors don’t stay on long enough. They save us money but leave people in the dark - which isn't fun when you're in the restroom.
When used correctly, occupancy sensors are a great way to manage energy usage. They are activated when movement is detected and then shut off after a period of time. When the lights in the employee restrooms are left on 24-7 (8760 hours a year), it costs us around $105; using occupancy sensors will cut that in half, saving us $52.50 a year. That doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up.
So, I’m on the hunt for some better occupancy sensors. Any suggestions for quality sensors that don't break the bank?