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Save Energy with Automatic Switches

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Save Energy with Automatic Switches

By Carl Seville, Networx

One of the biggest causes of excessive energy use in homes comes from the amount of electrical equipment, lighting, and electronics we have, and how often it is left on when not needed. I am a green building consultant in the Atlanta area and I work with Atlanta electricians and remodeling contractors to try to improve energy use in houses. Here are my suggestions for installing automatic switches to save energy at home:

Starting with lights, we often turn them on when we walk into rooms, even if there is enough light to see without them.† On top of that, they are too often left on when not needed.† If no one is in a room, then there isnít much point in having a light on.† A little lighting here and there for security Ė to make intruders think you are at home and to have enough light so you donít trip over something or fall down a flight of stairs Ė is fine, but donít leave on so many lights that someone walking down the street thinks that youíre filming a movie in your house.

If you have the old, soon to be discontinued incandescent light bulbs, they produce a lot of heat (about 90% of their energy is heat and only 10% is light), so in the summer, lights left on heat up your house, requiring more air conditioning to keep it cool.

If everyone was just responsible and turned things off, we wouldnít need to worry much, but we are a lazy bunch and, apparently, we need help operating light switches.† That is where occupancy controls come in.† There are many devices available that will control lights, fans, and electronic equipment: turning it off automatically when it isnít needed, saving energy in the process.

Next: Occupancy sensors and manual-on sensors

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38 comments

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4:26AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

Thank you. I have been brought up to turn off a light when leaving a room. Its not hard to get in to the habit; Your hip pocket will thank you.

8:05AM PST on Nov 13, 2012

Thanks.

9:01AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Thank you

1:54AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

Great article thanks for sharing

6:17AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

thanx for sharing

8:13AM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

Great article, but factoring in the cost of some of those automatic switches make them much more expensive than the cost of the electricity you're using otherwise.

The old filament light bulbs we've always known may be going away, but until they come out with cost effective replacements that actually work with dimmers (CFL's don't, even the ones labeled 'DIMMABLE"), I'm sticking with them for the most part as I have dimmers installed throughout most of my home including on my table lamps. LED bulbs are great, but they have a long way to go in coming down on price.

3:42PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

this is a great article, im going to look into one of the timers!

3:09PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

thx.

6:10PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

thanks, these would be a good thing for many people who forget to turn things off

5:59AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

thanks, I was raised to turn out lights when you leave the room.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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