Singapore 19th August 2010
One of the great ways to save further energy from lighting is through the use of motion sensors. The Singapore government has been leading the way in energy saving measures and has not only embarked on replacing all fluorescent lighting in their housing development flats to LED but also to install motion driven sensors which dim the lights to about 1/3 of the full setting when the areas are not used. Areas concerned are staircases, lift lobbies, corridors and the like.
It is claimed that the LED energy consumption is about half that of the fluorescent lighting and that the life expectancy of the LED is about 4 times longer. While the LED’s are about double the cost of fluorescent, the government claims the additional costs are recouped in less than 5 years. Now they are adding the motion sensors in low traffic areas which reduce the energy consumption with another 60%.
The use of motion sensors to control the lights has been around for ages, but with the focus on energy saving and reducing our carbon emissions these are becoming more and more popular. I recently stayed in a 5 star hotel that had motion sensors installed at every guestroom door and as you walk through the guestroom corridor the light would switch on ahead of you and gradually switch of behind you, leaving only some basic orientation lights on.
The same principle is being explored for usage on a much grander scale for public and road lighting installations with several leading lighting manufacturers developing systems that would be interactive and reactive to the density of public usage. It is not so much a matter o switching off lights as well as using the dimming capability of LED for instance to reduce non operational lighting to basic minimum levels, mostly for distant orientation, security and safety reasons.
I think we are all familiar with motion sensors around the house with lights switching on when someone approaches the front door for instance. The biggest issue with motion sensors has always been the sensitivity of the detection with lights switching on triggered even by a small mouse or a bat flying through your garden…sounds familiar?
But technology has improved and it should now be possible to set the sensor sensitivity such that it is only triggered by human motion and not by “batman” like unidentified objects! 🙂