Recycling, short showers, washing full loads of laundry, we try to be as eco-minded as possible in my house. But in living with multiple people and their various daily habits, the one thing we haven’t mastered is turning the lights off when exiting a room.
My skivvies certainly doesn’t need to be well lit once I’ve started the delicate cycle, but making tapping off the light switch a habit has been less than, well, habit-forming (especially since I’m usually carrying a full load out to fold when I exit). And don’t even get me started about the kids’ bathroom— if the light is turned off in there after they get ready for school in the morning, I get suspicious that there’s an intruder in our home.
Game Changer: The Lutron Maestro Small Room Occupancy Sensor Switch ($20) is one of those little gadgets you pass by at the hardware store all the time without giving it a second thought. March right back into the store and scoop this guy up— you’ll save yourself some nagging… and some electricity bill money.
The sensor is deceptively smart, letting you customize a room’s light settings with the switch itself. It defaults to turn off five minutes after someone leaves the room, but that can be changed to 1, 15, or 30 minutes based on how much you know the kids will be running back and forth between rooms. A daylight sensing mode lets you tell the switch, “Hey, even though I walk in the room, if there’s plenty of natural light, cool it with the energy use and keep the lights off.” And then there’s the high sensitivity setting: Most needed if you plan to spend Sunday evenings curled up on the couch with a good book— it will sense even those tiny page flips and keep the lights on (no waving your hands around needed).
Installing these switches is as easy as turning off a light… though if you already had problems with that, I guess I shouldn’t draw the comparison.