There are many ways through which you can reduce consumption and negative impact on the earth. Most of these methods include making changes to how you live in your home. Such changes should revolve around altering your consumption with more environmentally conscious products. One of the best eco-friendly changes you can make in your home is your electricity consumption. Finding ways to curb the use of electricity in your home or business can significantly impact the environment, save you money, and provide other benefits.
The impacts of energy consumption on the environment may not seem immediate and obvious. However, they are severe. Energy is applied in homes as lights and in running appliances, among other leisure and work-related uses. The energy used is sourced from the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels create high levels of carbon dioxide emissions. Fossil fuels also emit other harmful gases and chemicals. When these emissions get into the environment, they alter the atmosphere and create health hazards. The amount of energy consumed in homes and offices directly impacts the amount of damage done to the environment. This means that reducing the amount of energy consumption could have significant positive impacts on the environment.
You can reduce your energy consumption by changing your habits around using lights in your home. Such changes could include turning off lights when you are not using them, using electric appliances with low consumption rates, and using eco-friendly lights like LED lights. The lighting industry has made eco-friendly energy consumption easy by introducing new technologies like environmentally friendly switches.
The role of switches is to control overall lighting features. From turning on the lights to turning them off, light switches are at the center of it all. Traditionally, you had to perform all these functions manually. The procedures were also limited to turning on and off. However, the introduction of new technology has paved the way for more tasks like dimming and better control of your home's lighting.
Programming and setting its switches
Programmable light switch
Programmable switches are designed to customize when you want the fixture to light up and go off. They are also known as programmable timer light switches. Below are some examples of programmable switches;
Electronic programmable timer switches are digital devices designed with up to seven daily on and off settings. These devices also come with other random settings that affect your lighting turns off and on even when you are not around. People use these devices to make it seem to outside eyes that someone is at home. Electronic programmable timer switches are highly versatile, although they are more challenging to program.
Mechanical spring-wound timer switches have a dial that you have to wind to turn on a fixture. This means that you can set how long the light stays on depending on which direction you wind the dial. These types of timer switches are prevalent in bathroom heat lamps and fans.
Plug-in timers- this comes in handy when you want to automatically turn a lamp on and off without switching the lamp out for a programmable one. All you have to do is get the timer and plug it into a wall outlet and lamp controls. You can also screw-in the timer directly into the socket of the lamp where the bulb is installed.
Programmable light switch settings
Most programmable lights have seven main settings that are found in most types and brands. The seven settings are split into the following two categories;
Programmable light switches : Mode setting
The mode menu or settings allow you to choose how you want the lights in your house or business to function. They include:
Manual mode- In this mode, you can operate your light switches like any regular switch. You have to use the central button to turn the lights on and off.
Automatic mode- this setting allows the light of your lights to go on and off according to the program you have set. It gives you full control of the lighting in your house.
Random mode- this setting does not feature a specific on or off mode. It is designed to give the impression that someone is in the house when they are away for vacation or any other reason. There isn't a fixed program here. The light will go on and off randomly when this mode is on.
Temporary override- This setting helps change the default state of the current settings on the device. This means that the lights may turn on when they are supposed to turn off and vice versa. The new setting will be maintained until you press the override button again or until the next program goes live.
Programmable light switches : Time settings
There are two primary light switch timer settings. They are:
Automatic daylight savings time changeover- when this setting is on, the time the lights go and off automatically changes depending on the season (like winter and summer).
Latitude and longitude coordinates- this setting involves coordinates to turn lights on and off at sunset and sunrise, respectively. Typically, the latitude is set to +45, and the longitude is set to -75 by default. However, you can change the settings depending on your coordinates. The device usually comes with a coordinates table that you can use.
Backlight mode- with this setting on, the intensity of the screen light is influenced.
How are programmable light switches eco-efficient?
Programmable switches are some of the most eco-friendly light switches because they reduce the amount of energy you consume in your home. This is because they eliminate issues like forgetting to turn lights on and off.
In addition to reducing the amount of energy you consume through lights, programmable switches are also very safe. Giving the impression that you are at home even when you are not, the light switches can prevent burglary.
Dimmer light switch
Dimmer light switches are handy electrical components that allow you to adjust the light levels in a room by simply turning a knob. They are generally used to lower the brightness of light without turning it off completely. By lowering the brightness, they also reduce the level of energy consumption.
Using light dimmer switches offers numerous advantages. The main advantage is that they can reduce the amount of energy consumption in your house. Doing so reduces the amount of fossil fuel utilized and the resulting harmful gases and chemicals released into the atmosphere. Additionally, dimmer light switches make it easy for you to adjust the ambiance of a room to your preference at any time of the day or night. Another advantage is that these switches can help expand the life span of your bulbs. This is an additional financial benefit because you will not have to spend money replacing the bulbs.
How do Dimmer Light Switches work?
Traditional dimmer switches had a pretty straightforward functioning mode. They used variable resistors. Resistors are pieces of metal that don't conduct electrical currents properly. They offer a lot of resistance when used within moving electrical charges. They work by adjusting the distance that the charge has to travel through a material. When this happens, the energy is lost in the form of heat, causing a drop in the circuit's voltage. It, therefore, reduces the light output from the bulb. However, this technique's issue is that it led to the consumption of a lot of heat. For this reason, modern dimmer light technology was introduced.
Modern dimmer light bulbs work by rapidly shutting down the light circuit instead of diverting energy into a resistor. They shut the light circuit on and off repeatedly to reduce the quantity of energy that flows within the circuit. This happens several times per second. This technique revolves around the fluctuations of a household AC.
Alternating Current features different voltage polarities in an undulating sine wave. This means that it fluctuates from positive to negative with time. It is also worth noting that the AC continually changes direction. It also features a triac, which acts as a voltage-driven switch. The technology also involves a voltage on the gate, which controls the switching action. On the gate, there are variable resistors that control the voltage. Note that you can also use a dimmer timer switch.
Turn on the light only when you are in the room
Using programmable lights can help reduce energy consumption in your home. While they are convenient, they are often hard to set up. However, you can also control how much energy you consume without programmable lights by manually turning off the light when you are not in a room. This means that you only use the lights when you need them. It also means that you do not have to go out of your way to purchase energy-efficient products. You can also reduce the amount of energy consumption in your house by simply turning off appliances when you do not need them. By reducing your home's energy consumption, you also get to reduce the amount of money you spend on lighting.
Light switch with motion sensors
Another easy way to reduce energy consumption with an eco light switch in your home is by using light switches with motion sensors. It also helps reduce the operating costs of lights in a home. These lights work by turning on and off when someone enters or leaves a particular area. The light sensors, also known as PIR sensors. The sensors are typically installed on walls and ceiling fixtures. The sensors detect all movements of the body heat of a person when they move inside a room. After they detect a person's presence in a room, whatever happens, depends on a pre-determined action. The action may be turning the lights on and off.
Depending on the product you use, the sensors either emit infrared energy, microwaves, or soundwaves to determine a movement's presence in an environment. Infrared energy sensors work by emitting passive infrared energy, also known as PIR. These sensors are specifically sensitive to the heat produced by the body of human beings. They detect a variety of body temperatures within the normal range. They then emit electrons, which bump into a substrate. Using the bumping, the motion sensors can determine the movement of a body. The motion is then amplified and transformed into a signal. The sensor then turns on. It is easy for the sensor to detect fast movements immediately. However, when it comes to slow movements, the sensor relies highly on the subject's heat emitted.
Types of motion sensor lights
Below are the most common types of eco motion sensor light switch technologies;
PIR sensor- this is the most commonly used type. It uses infrared radiation to detect physical movements. It contains a pyroelectric material that is usually sensitive to IR radiation. These sensors are standard because they can last for a long time, and they also do not use up a lot of energy.
Microwave sensors emit microwave impulses, and they measure how the impulses bounce back off different surfaces. When it comes to detecting movement, they are not as useful as PIR sensors. However, they are very energy efficient, and they are built with on/off cycles.
Ultrasonic sensors- these sensors are both active and passive. Active ones emit sound wave pulses that will detect movements based on how waves reach different surfaces. The downside to these sensors is that pets and animals can hear the vibrations they produce in your environment; hence can be very disturbing. It is also worth noting that they are very costly and can trigger false security alarms around the house.
Tomographic sensors- these sensors use radio waves to detect movements. They are some of the most useful sensors because they can detect movements through walls and other surfaces and objects. These sensors detect movements when their radio waves are disrupted. They are commonly used in warehouses and storage areas since they are quite expensive.
Combined motion sensors- also referred to as dual sensors, use two methods to increase efficiency. They offer the advantages of both sensor techniques used. They are very energy effective, and they are also very convenient.
Also known as eco motion light switches or motion light switch, light switches with motion are very efficient in reducing the negative impacts of energy consumption in the environment. They are commonly used for security lights with outdoor motion sensor switches. You can also use a motion sensor dimmer switch. This type reduces or increases the light voltage when it detects movements within an environment. Using these devices helps reduce the amount of energy you use because they eliminate unnecessary light when you do not need to.
Light switch with a locator light/ illuminated light switch
Types of illuminated light switches and their uses
Light switches with a locator light usually illuminate when they are off. The role of the illumination is to help locate the lights in the dark. They make it easy for you to operate the switches in your house.
There are also pilot light switches that illuminate when the switch is ON. The illumination aims at alerting you that there is a light that's out of your sight that is on. Such out of sight lights include outdoor lights, basement, and closet lights. These illuminated light switches help prevent high energy consumption by keeping track of the lights on and off in your house.
The third type is the lighted toggles. These are light switches with lighted handles or edges. They are located on toggle switches. Illuminated toggle dimmer switches are pretty standard.
Lighted rockers can also be lit or illuminated in various ways. For instance, some rockers have a jewel that lights up embedded on them. Others have a light within their structure, which glows through a paddle. Additionally, some rocker switches with a bar at the bottom or top can be removed and replaced with a snap-in bar that lights.
Illuminated light switch plates- a pilot can also be installed inside your electrical box to illuminate the switch.
In addition to illuminated light switches, illuminated dimmer switches are also standard. They turn on and off when the dimmer element is on or off, respectively. Illuminated three-way dimmer switches and illuminated LED dimmer switches or dimmer switch with locator light is also common in the market.
Where can you use illuminated light switches?
You can use illuminated light switches at any place in your house. Most homeowners install illuminated light switches in the living room or areas that are easily accessible. For instance, you can have an illuminated switch for your garage on a wall in your living area so that you get alerted every time the garage light is on, even when you are not outside. This will help keep you from leaving your garage lights on for the whole night when they do not need to be. You can also install your closet and bathroom lights on a wall in your bedroom. By doing so, when you are in bed or the bedroom, you can tell if your lights are on. Most of these illuminated switches allow you to turn the lights on and off. This means that you need to have more than one switch for such areas as your garage so that you do not have to go back outside to turn the lights off.
The market is packed with a wide range of light switches. They include:
Single pole light switches- these are the most common type of light switches in the market. They are also the easiest to use because they are based on the basic on and off functions. Their name stems from the fact that they only feature one circuit passing through the switch. This means that they can only control one light.
Multi-location switches- these come in a wide range of variants, and they allow multiple switches to control a single light. For instance, you can have more than one switch for the same garage lights. Three-way switches will enable you to maintain a single light from one location, while four-way switches feature three switches. They do not have the ON and OFF label on them, and they are more complex than the latter.
Dimmer switches are used to control the light emitted by a light bulb without switching it off completely. They are more personalized types, and they also come in multi-location versions.
Programmable switches- these allow you to control when the lights go on and off and other modes. They are very intricate, and they often have Wi-Fi connectivity.
Motion sensor switches- they are also known as occupancy switches. They activate light switches when motion is detected.
The types of lights mentioned above are the most common. When choosing between the classes, you ought to consider price, ease of use, and installation. However, one of the most important factors to consider is the eco-friendliness of the light switch. Smart switches are the most ecological of all types of light switches.
An ecological light switch like smart switches can help you reduce the amount of energy you consume in your house, reducing the amount of money you spend on energy bills. Another significant impact of reduced energy consumption is reduced carbon footprint in the environment. All these benefits of smart switches stem from the fact that you can control them remotely.