The Compulsive Use of Lights

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

I’ve noticed that people compulsively turn on lights, even when they don’t need to be on. I’m all about energy conservation (not only because it’s environmentally friendly, but also because it lowers the electric bill), so it irritates me when lights are on for no good reason.

Morah and I have gotten pretty good at appropriate use of lights, although from time to time Morah will leave one on, or I’ll catch myself flipping on the light when I really don’t need it.

Mostly I notice it at work. I’m often one of the first people in the building (except for the Master Control Operators, who are here 24 hours a day). It’s quite normal for me to go upstairs to fill up my water bottle or put my lunch in the fridge, and when I do, one or more lights is on. Why are they on? There’s no one around who needs the light on, so why leave it on? The same thing happens by the downstairs copy machine. It’s in the entry to the sales office, so when I show up, the lights for the entire sales office are on, even though it’s empty. More than enough light spills in from the hallway for anyone making copies to see what they’re doing, so why turn on extra lights? More importantly, why not turn them off again? Ironically, there’s a sticker on the light switch next to the copier urging people to turn off the lights when they aren’t in use.

The compulsive aspect comes in when other people walk into rooms that don’t have lights on. I’m always nonplussed when I’m with someone and they flip on the light in the middle of the day in a room that’s receiving enough light. I actually prefer the sunlight to the artificial light (mostly because of the color).

What do you think? Do you compulsively turn on lights, or am I just raving mad?

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  1. Do you compulsively turn on lights, or am I just raving mad?

    Does it have to be one or the other? ^_^

    I don’t compulsively turn on lights, although I do leave my front light on 24/7 (low-watt CF, not a big power drain).

    Here in Japan, fluorescents rule. I don’t think I have any incandescent bulbs in my apartment at all, so I don’t feel too bad for leaving lights on. That being said, I still don’t leave lights on. Enough light comes in through the windows of my apartment to keep it well-lit for the majority of the day.

  2. at night (at home) i tend to turn on at least one light in each public room/area, but i try to make it the lowest light possible. i’m more compulsive about too many lights when i’m home alone.

    but i like daylight better too during the day.

  3. I have been keeping the light on in my home office the past week without even thinking about it. I’ve got a huge window and totally don’t need it. I’m going to think of your rant and do better next week!

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