Shine Retrofits: Motion Sensors or Timers?

We all know LED (light emitting diode) technology is currently changing the lighting industry. It’s helped companies and individuals save considerable amounts of money on their energy bill. USA TODAY recently listed calculations that, over a 10-year period, a single LED bulb costs $17.25 to operate compared to an incandescent bulb which costs $78.80 over the same period. But when it comes to making your home or commercial space even more efficient, you don’t have to stop there. Pairing LED lights with other technologies can multiply the energy-saving benefits of your lighting system, allowing you to cut costs more than ever before.

Motion sensor and timer technology have both been around for years. Since their inception, they’ve been used in many different applications for businesses, college campuses, and industrial complexes, helping these organizations and companies save money on lights that would usually be left on. Here we’ll go over the pros and cons of using these two different technologies in combination with your LED lights, helping you make a more informed decision about how to light your space.

Motion Sensors

A lighting system that uses motion sensors allows for spaces and outdoor areas that are only lighted when they’re needed to be. There are many different types of motion sensors, allowing the technology to be used in many different ways to help lighting be more efficient, only illuminating areas when people are present and making it impossible for them to be left on in empty rooms.

One type of motion sensor is a vacancy sensor, which senses when a room is empty (detecting small amounts of motion) and then turns off the light. The light must conversely be turned on manually, meaning that the light won’t go on because of some random motion that isn’t a person, or when someone pops in the room only for a second and doesn’t need the light. This allows for higher amounts of energy efficiency when the room isn’t being used. Lights that are left on in a building could possibly be left on for hours. With a vacancy sensor that won’t happen.

Occupancy sensors, on the other hand, sense when people have entered the room, turning lights on and off automatically based on the presence of people in the space. For a better idea of the motion sensors currently available, check out Shine Retrofits’ product list of motion sensors.

The Pros of Motion Sensors

The pros of installing motion sensor lights is their high energy efficiency. Just imagine an office scenario utilizing motion sensor lights. If there is a space in the office, like a meeting room or lounge area, that only gets used at certain times of the day, say during lunch hours when employees are eating or drinking coffee, a motion sensor is perfect.

Instead of relying on one of the employees to turn the lights off when everyone is absent from the room, a motion sensor will automatically detect when the room is empty and turn the lights off for you. Although there might be a little lag between the time the last person leaves the room and when the lights shut off, there will be less wasted energy than when relying on employees to turn lights on and off.

Whether you’re using an occupancy sensor or a vacancy sensor, you’re going to benefit from their energy-saving functions. Another plus, though, is the hands-free functions of the lights. Vacancy sensors allow you to operate your lights at least partly hands-free, and occupancy sensors grant you a completely hands-free experience with your lights.

Also, sensor lights act as easy deterrents against crime. Any person who might break into your office or commercial space will be much less likely to continue an intrusion when lights flicker on.

The Cons of Motion Sensors

There are a few cons to motion sensors, though they are generally outweighed by the benefits you’ll experience with the technology.

One downside is the lack of control you often get with a motion sensor. With an occupancy sensor, you have no choice about whether the lights come on or not. You could be passing through a space and the lights get turned on, which can be annoying and wasteful at times. This can be avoided, though, by using a vacancy sensor that requires lights to be manually turned on and will only shut off after it detects that the space is empty.

With all motion sensors, sometimes you can be using a room and be too still to keep the sensor activated. Although you may be in the room quietly reading a book or watching a program, it will sense that no one is in the room and shut off the lights. This can be a bit aggravating, though can easily be fixed by moving around a little bit to reactivate the motion sensor.

Lighting Timers

Lighting timers are fairly self-explanatory. They either operate on preset schedules based on individual or company timetables, or are manually set to stay on for a certain amount of time. Lighting timers are often used in spaces that don’t get used often enough, like storage spaces, where you might only need access to light for a short amount of time and definitely don’t want lights accidentally left on.

The Pros of Lighting Timers

Convenience and saving energy are the best benefits of investing in lighting timers. By setting lighting to only be on for a certain time period, you’re ensuring that less energy is wasted by lights left on in unused spaces. Also, lighting schedules for your business can make a huge difference for efficiency and hands-free lighting, especially if your hours are consistent.

Another factor is safety. Lighting timers can be set to turn on only when it’s dark, helping keep certain spaces like a business park or college campus safer.

The Cons of Lighting Timers

Lighting timers have a few downsides, though. One is that they’re generally not as efficient as motion sensor lights. Since timers are set to be on certain schedules or shut off after a determined amount of time, they may be on during times people aren’t using a space. This can be especially troublesome if your business has varying hours of operation, and timers aren’t changed.

Which Is a Better Fit for Your Business?

Shine Retrofits is excited to be on the cutting edge of lighting technology, helping you save energy on lighting. Check out our selection of lighting controls and sensors for specific products, and consider which option may be best for your needs based on the pros and cons listed above.

Our customer service team is ready to help you figure out what will work best for you. You can call 1-800-983-1315 during our hours of 6AM to 6PM MST, Monday through Friday, to talk with our team of lighting experts, or use our contact form to send a message. We’re excited to assist you in planning out a new lighting system for your business, one that will take your energy efficiency to the next level!