Motion sensors to mitigate energy waste

From a smart home standpoint, we have a lot of bases covered here. All switches are smart, all plugs are smart and monitored by sense, etc. Given that my wife and kids are home more now than ever due to the pandemic, I’ve noticed a lot of energy waste when I pop in the house throughout the day. For instance, the TV being left on with no one watching it (100 watts give or take), lights that are on during the day time for no apparent reason and the AC on with the back door open. It really gets under my skin to see energy wasted and I was able to convince my better half to allow the installation of smart things motion sensors throughout various rooms. I set up routines where if motion isn’t detected in a zone for x minutes, the devices in that room are shut off. My wife seems to think I’m going overboard but why waste our net metering credits on things that are being wasted. My question is how many here run lighting automations and triggers and what is your setup. I originally wanted to do smart cameras inside at various locations but we settled on motion sensors as a compromise. So what say you?



Our stories share an important common-thread. We both clearly understand the benefits of efficient energy usage. This is easily acquired by leveraging the use of technology!

Here are a few sample base-routines:

  1. All controlled devices are off at midnight
  2. Thermostats are at the highest setting at noon, decreasing one degree every four hours - until midnight
  3. Create a group that contains all controlled devices, affording ease of turning off everything when leaving home
  4. Leverage IFTTT to customize routines, across all of its integrated smart applications - like Sense and Amazon Alexa

My arguments here could be endless but are somewhat summed up by the following two approaches:

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I have done one small change recently. I have three HS110s, and maybe two more if I quickly get on that. One monitors an air purifier that seems difficult for a sense to pick up. The second is for my office desk which has many different and difficult components, like Wi-Fi access point and internet modem. The last one is for my basement home theatre. Most of those components are low or no draw, but in idle it does use 18 watts. 10 of those are my basement access point. I though “why does my basement need Internet overnight?” I set my HS110 to turn off at 11:30pm and turn on at 6am. I have since adjusted it to be 11:59 because my wife and I were in the basement when everything turned off. Oops. I set it to turn back on at 6:30am to make up the lost half hour. The reason for that is so the thermostat down there can get good Wi-Fi before 7am when it’s scheduling take over. Is 18w for 6.5 hours a lot? Probably not.

I’m not good enough to know the watts to kWh to dollar conversion, but it’s something, right?

I’ve done similar with my family room TV and Roku. Its a smart TV so its drawing 7 watts at idle. The roku only 2 at idle. But i have them programmed to be shut off as well as the bedroom set and roku at midnight and come back on at sunrise. Saves me roughly 15 watts for 6-7 consecutive hours. I also have added motions sensors in every room now. I refuse to waste any energy as I want to be as close to or at net zero at the end of my true up period with the local utility. I’ve only had solar for a month but we’ve been doing a great job and sense is helping me keep track of solar output vs consumption. Right now its almost a 3 to 1 ratio for this billing period. 1,500 kwh produced to 500 kwh consumed. 1000 kwh in the bank :grin:

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I have most lights on Lutron occupancy sensors. The original intent was power saving but it will take quite some time to get any actual savings just due to the cost of the switches since everything is now LED. The only ones where it’s really saving a lot is for the ones controlling a large number of lights. If nothing else it’s a convenience to not have to worry about turning the lights on or off :grin:

I have also recently added some Wyze products including motion and contact sensors to control some stuff including turning off the entertainment center if there is no motion for a few hours, but they are not 100% reliable like the hard-wired Lutrons.