Motion-Sensor Light Switches

Project Timeline: 1.5 – 2 years

Preliminary Project Budget: $16,500

Project Description: The amount of energy wasted due to leaving lights on can accumulate in a large university. This can also cost a lot of money because many of these lights are left on 24/7. As the U.S. Department of Energy states, you are supposed to turn off the lights if nobody will be in the room for 15 minutes or more (2016). Since the University of Illinois at Chicago is big it is not realistically possible for someone to be constantly monitoring when hallways, classrooms, or offices are empty. Therefore, using motion sensor light switches might prove to be useful especially when it is night time and many students and faculty are not in the university. The cost of installing a motion sensor light switch can range from $20 to $150 dollars but it has many benefits (Sarkisian, 2016). You can reduce the university’s carbon emission footprint and energy bill. A study from Clarkson University showed that installing motion sensor lighting equipment can reduce energy consumption by 22 percent. Further expansion of the motion sensors to its other dormitories can save that university about $5000 every year (Sarkisian, 2016).

The cost of installing motion sensor light switches in various parts throughout the university will be expensive. It is important to start off small in this project and then expand when we find out that the university can potentially save large sums of money. Therefore, it will be important to locate specific areas that are kept on for long periods of time. It will take about 6 months to a year to gather all the data necessary for our project. The first bit of information we need is to figure out how much energy each building is consuming. After figuring out which buildings consume the most energy we will choose the top five most “expensive” buildings for our project. From these buildings we will count all the lightbulbs and monitor the areas that are left on the longest when nobody is in that room or hallway. These first steps will cost about $1500. After we gather the data we can then start looking at the cost of the motion sensor switches. Assuming each sensor will cost $150, we can purchase 100 sensors and use 20 of them in each building. The equipment will cost $15,000 in total. Installing the equipment might take about a year. In total, this project will cost $1500 during the first year but it will cost $15,000 the following year. So, on average, this project will cost about $8,250 per year.


Sarkisian, Ellen. (2016, April 25). Benefits of Using Motion-Sensor Light Switches. What’s Your Impact. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Energy. (2016). When To Turn Off Your Lights. Retrieved from


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