Resource Conservation

Lighting Vacancy Sensors: Questions and Answers

Why were vacancy sensors installed?
Vacancy sensors increase safety because lights do not automatically turn on during a lockdown. They also reduce energy waste. The Seattle Energy Code requires that we use vacancy sensors to help meet energy conservation goals.

How do the vacancy sensors work?
These sensors control the lights and sometimes heating and air flow in your room. When the room has been vacant for fifteen minutes the lights and air flow are switched off. Your temperatures may change up to +/- three degrees during unoccupied periods. As soon as you switch on the lights the temperature and air flow readjusts to district standards.

Does the vacancy sensor impact the light switch?
No. The light switch or switches are manual on and manual off. This allows you to select the amount of light you prefer for whatever task you are doing. Please turn off the light whenever you leave the room.

Will the lights and air turn off when I am in the room alone?
Some older technology turned off lights when someone was stationary in the room. If this happens, please let your Head Custodian know that repairs are necessary. Newer technology will not allow this to occur

Questions? Contact a Resource Conservation Specialist at