Energy efficient lighting - occupancy sensor control

Energy efficient lighting - occupancy sensor control
© dmitriykazitsin, image #142901057, 2017, source:
All sectors
Investment cost:
Medium cost
Payback time:
1.4 Year(s)
Cost savings:
378€ / Annual: £ 347 (€ 378.23)
Resource type:
Electricity - Lighting
Resource saving:
Annual: lighting controlled by sensors, therefore removing human error; 3852 kWh or 1927 kg CO2 equivalent
Investment cost:
545€ / £ 500 (€ 545.00) for two sensors and simple wiring; investment cost proportional to project; sensor should be set up to ensure that all likely occupied areas are covered by a sensor and lighting is provided for an adequate period of time; no maintenance required
Assumptions taken in the presentation of the above performance indicators:

Installation of control and appropriate wiring; works in applications where lighting is poorly controlled and only required when area is occupied (e.g. lecture theatres or seminar rooms); installation of occupancy sensor and appropriate wiring in a lecture theatre of 17 m x 13 m and lux levels of 500 lux,  2 800 hours use per annum

The case for occupancy sensor controls

Movement- and photo-sensors, timers and other smart technology can be used to adjust lighting to conditions outside, when you are away, and to manage overall operating hours. 

Motion sensors have become one of the main techniques to cut electricity use and address inefficient and unnecessary lighting in and around your property.

They rely on three motion-sensitive techniques to detect presence:

  • Passive infrared (PIR)
  • Ultrasonic detection
  • Microwave detection

Making lighting energy efficient can help a company achieve significant savings. Estimates show that in the UK, some 20 % of the electricity generated is used for lighting and that over 75 % of lighting installations are thought to be out of date.

Cost-effective changes include the:

  • Lighting technology itself (e.g. LEDs and organic LEDs, or OLEDs, metal halide, fluorescent, etc.),
  • Luminaires (e.g. checking that the light is well diffused)
  • Lighting controls (e.g. installing sensors for better lighting management)
  • Lighting design (e.g. over-lighting a space, or leaving lights on unnecessarily)
  • There are many low- and no-cost options to help save money and improve lighting operations. They range from 'quick wins' to more significant refits or investments. While quick wins' can deliver instant energy and cost savings, consideration should be given to the potential longer-term gains of a full overhaul.


Consider the three following operations:

  • New construction project: a completely new lighting installation, bearing in mind the future operational costs of the installation
  • Refurbishment: consider the long-term benefits of replacing light systems as part of other planned refurbishments, which could remove existing constraints such as ceiling type or height, space, layout for improved future gain
  • Retrofit: a project where only the lighting is reviewed, and no other works are actively pursue

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