I stopped by the makerspace around 1 a.m. this morning and found a lot of lights on as well the two radiant heaters in the metalshop. I don’t like highlighting problems without proposing a fix so I’ve included some ideas below.
Both heaters had their thermostats set to the mid-60s and one was actively firing, even though the temperature had hit the 70s. Switching the stat to OFF had no effect, I had to actually set the temp above the room temp to get the relay to close, then turn the stat back to off, to get the unit to shutdown. I think this problem has been identified before, I am not sure what we did about it though. I could see fixing this with a line voltage stat, or a relay controlled from the stat on the AC side. Also, since the heaters aren’t needed all the time, what about putting a 2 hour windup timer on it, so it can’t be left on longer than that? If freeze protection was needed (unlikely, I think), a freeze stat could be wired in parallel to close the relay at 40 degrees.
When I walked around I noticed the entire metalshop, textiles, classroom, halls and kitchen lights left on. Could we fix this with some occupancy or vacancy sensors? I know a lot of people don’t like automatic lights, and many times they aren’t needed due to natural light, so a vacancy sensor might be a good way to go. They are turned on manually and turn off automatically after a while if they sense the room is vacated. This time the marquee was off, but I have seen it turned on a bunch of times in the past. How about an astronomic timer that tracks daylight to turn it on at dusk and off at a fixed time?
I own a commercial property and energy is my largest expense, costing even more than the mortgage. At MakeICT I think “how many memberships do we need to cover our utility bill” and I imagine the number to be several dozen. I am happy to help install any energy management equipment to reduce our energy use and footprint.