Motion detectors save base energy
October 20, 2011
With stimulus money from the federal government came changes to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, one of which included new motion detectors to unoccupied rooms such as bathrooms and break rooms. The goal is to reduce electricity expenses.
In addition to the motion detectors installed at JBM-HH, a contractor was brought in to install the same type of detectors at the National Defense University at Fort McNair.
"The [detector] type we're going with … is a combination of infrared and ultrasound. It's a two system sensor built into each one," said Bill Lucas, mechanical engineer and energy manager with Directorate of Public Works.
The infrared reads body heat, allowing the light to turn on as soon as a person walks into the room. The ultrasound will keep the light on as long as there is sound, such as typing, so the light doesn't go off with someone still in the break room, bathroom, office or classroom.
Working to achieve compliance within the IMCOM energy policy, the switches will turn the lights off after a matter of minutes with no activity in the room.
"There are two basic types [of receivers]: one is, you replace … your [light] switch … that actually fits in its place," said Lucas. "The second place is for large conference rooms… You actually wire them into the ceiling so they can scan the whole room or large office."
Although the new light switches are more noticeable since they take away the ability to hit a switch, the ceiling mounted receivers are a bit trickier to point out as they look like fire detectors, said Lucas.
As of now, 100 of these new motion detectors were installed at JBM-HH Marine Corps side in 2010, while the NDU is receiving approximately 200. Future plans are to put as many sensors in as many places as possible, but where they are installed depends on funding and availability.