Occupancy sensors are simple devices that are found in many lighting systems. The sensor is capable of identifying when a particular space within a building is occupied, and adjusts the lighting, heating and cooling, and other appliances accordingly. In recent years, the installation of an occupancy sensor has become an important part of creating an environmentally responsible control system within a home or public building.
There are two common forms of use associated with an occupancy sensor. One is a means of lowering utility costs. When no one is currently occupying a given area of the building, the sensors note this and will turn off unnecessary lights as well as adjust temperature controls slightly. This helps to minimize the use of electricity during those periods when the space is not in active use. As someone enters the space, the occupancy motion sensor recognizes the movement and automatically brings up the lights and adjusts the climate control equipment, allowing the individual to be comfortable while in the room.
However, an occupancy sensor can also be used as a security measure. With this application, occupancy motion sensors are located in every area of the building. At any given time, it is possible to consult the security system and determine where there is movement or activity taking place. With some monitoring systems, the occupancy sensor is configured to trigger surveillance cameras to display images of the area, making it possible for security personnel to view whomever has entered a given chamber or space.
While many people think of an occupancy sensor as controlling lights along with heating and cooling equipment, sensors of this type can do a lot more. For example, occupant sensors can be used to open and close doors as someone enters or leaves an area. In like manner, the sensors can power up equipment when anyone enters the space, then power down that same equipment when the space is unoccupied.
The simplest type of occupancy sensor focuses on shutting down lights and equipment when no one is in the room. With these sensors, it is necessary for someone to manually turn on lights and equipment upon entering the space. However, once the space is vacated for a fixed amount of time, the occupancy sensor triggers a shutdown of the lights and any other equipment that is routed through the sensor. Sensors of this type are relatively inexpensive and can be added to an existing residential power system with little effort.