Technicians may soon find another product to offer customers worried about rolling energy meters (and the resulting economic and environmental effects): motion sensor controls — a familiar feature in lighting that’s gaining traction in HVAC, especially on the commercial side.

While motion sensor-controlled systems will be attractive to homeowners looking to conserve energy and cut costs, Air Condition, Heating and Refrigeration News’s John Hall writes that commercial buildings offer the most practical application of motion sensor technology. The reason? Commercial floorplans are generally standard and open, eliminating the nooks and multiple rooms of houses, which would require a more intensive (and expensive) installation.

According to several HVAC industry experts who spoke with Hall, motion controls for a residence aren’t yet a reality — but that will likely change. Several vendors, including Peco and Jackson Systems offer home thermostats that include built-in motion sensors, although they generally only work in standard room configurations. Oddly shaped rooms decrease the sensor’s effectiveness.

Although the technology has yet to be really developed in a residential capacity, products on the market today work in smaller commercial spaces (churches, strip malls, etc.), in addition to large-scale office buildings.

The move toward motion sensor-enabled HVAC systems mirrors the larger industry push, both residential and commercial, toward automated energy reduction tactics such as home energy dashboards and demand response. Taken together, these trends signal an increase in clean energy options that service contractors can pass along to their customers.

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