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HVAC Occupancy Sensors

Here in the United States, HVAC accounts for between 50-70% of primary energy consumed in commercial and industrial buildings. Adding the fact that a whopping 30% of consumed energy is wasted, we can safely assume that businesses throw away billions of dollars each year in unnecessary energy costs. A smart and effective way to save energy and reduce energy bills is through utilization of occupancy sensors for HVAC.

Occupancy sensors have traditionally been used for lighting control, with great success. They are now gaining in popularity for HVAC applications, and there are several types available. Basic types rely on motion sensors to automatically adjust climate settings, but most operate at a set capacity and do not differentiate between one or one hundred people. A newer technology that can accurately determine the number of people present is demand-controlled ventilation, or DCV. These systems utilize CO2 sensors to monitor carbon dioxide levels due to human exhalation to determine the number of occupants in a space. Another type relies on an exact count of occupants to control heating, air conditioning and ventilation by incorporating data such as ticket sales, security swipes, or even video recognition software.

HVAC occupancy sensors can be tied in to lighting occupancy sensors to further increase energy efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, integrating occupancy sensors for both lighting and ventilation can save up to twenty-eight times more energy than one type alone, and will reduce annual energy costs for the average large commercial or industrial building by as much as 18%


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