Are you still using a flip phone, TV antenna, or other outdated technology? Probably not. Yet, specification consultant Kevin Bremer brings attention to offices currently being designed with 30+ year old technology that’s proven to fail. In a recent site visit to develop a plan to upgrade lighting and lighting controls, Kevin asked the space users what they liked and disliked about their lighting. He took this short on location video to show how outdated occupancy sensors are affecting occupants. (The above video looks like a TV sitcom, but this is real life footage).

Understanding the Problem and Cause of Occupancy Sensors that Don’t Work

“We are reviewing drawings for projects that call for Wall Switch Occupancy Sensors with 0 to 10v dimming in both large and small sized spaces. In the field, we’re seeing these sensors being disabled or replaced after installation due to the sensor frequently causing false ‘OFF-s’. It’s a really common occurrence that I see time and time again. I don’t recommend wall sensors of any kind for office spaces.” Kevin explains.

False “OFF-s” cause a loss of productivity and it’s a constant annoyance to space occupants. The main reason for the malfunction is that desks are typically facing the door where the use of large monitors block the Dual Technology Passive Infrared (PIR) / Ultrasonic sensor, blocking the two or more sensor channels needed to detect occpancy.

Identifying the Occupancy Sensor Solutions

Fixture embedded dual-technology PIR / Microphonics (PDT) placed over the occupant allows for better motion detection coverage (as demonstrated in the graphic). Acuity Brands nLight wired or nLight Air (wireless) dual technology sensor embedded fixtures with advanced microphonic filtering and wall dimming switches give you the best of both worlds: properly functioning office lighting AND a lower cost of installation and maintenance.

What’s more, with dual-technology PIR / Microphonics, you do not need a sensor in every luminaire as opposed to other dual technolgy sensors.

With fewer devices to install and the elimination of interoperability challenges on the job, you can see both device and labor savings. These digitally connected luminaires can be used in a single office, but they also lay a foundation for a full network solution. Learn More Here.

What about the cost savings?

Kevin explains, “I have worked with electrical contractors to give them three example layouts of rooms with wired and wireless configurations, along with pricing that demonstrates up to a 15% savings with nLight wireless solutions over older technology. This takes into account the same specifications for luminaires, with luminaire embedded dual-technology sensors, wiring and labor.”

Not only do you save on initial installation, but operating costs are reduced by up to 64% in office spaces with a thoughtfully design controls system. See the study (page 7) by, an independent 3rd party resource. You can also view a chart below of various cost savings created thought good lighting controls design and a thoughtful sequence of operations.

Contact us for more details, a controls layout or cost comparisons.