Saturday, January 28

A Massachusetts institute has spent a year and a half with smart lights on 24 hours a day, because they can’t turn them off


It was devised as a system to save energy, but it is costing thousands of dollars a month in electricity bills. The Public institute regional minnechaug of Massachusetts He has been with the smart lights on 24 hours a daybecause they have been damaged and… they can not be turned off.

Behind it there is a bizarre story that is difficult to understand. Doesn’t the institute have a general switch that turn off all the lights, or can’t they do it from the power company? Well, simply… no.

The nightmare began 10 years ago, when the aforementioned teaching center installed a new intelligent lighting systemwhich would supposedly save energy.

According to NBC News, a company called 5th Light installed a sophisticated software created by them to manage light in function of ambient lighting. This software increases or decreases the intensity of the lights, depending on the natural light in the environment.

Lights so smart…they can’t be turned off

one of his multiple failures of this lighting system is that it is capable of lowering the light of a bulb until it does not illuminate, but in reality the bulb is not off. The system does not have a shutdown mode, it’s always on. At night the intensity of the bulbs drops to zero, but they don’t go out.

Everything was fine until in August 2021, the lights stopped going out. The 7,000 bulbs and fluorescent they stayed on at full power The 24 hours of the day. This is not only a cost problem: the teachers could not dim the lights to put videos with a projector in the classes.

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As we said there is no kill switch, and if the power was physically cut off, entire areas of the institute were turned off, and even houses in the neighborhood. If the power were completely cut off, the software would not restartand would leave the school without power in the middle of the year.

The radical solution is to cut everything and do a new light installationbut it has a cost of $1.2 millionand the school closed for weeks.

Eternal lights in the institute

So the Minnechaug Regional Public Institute opted for repair it. But it turns out that the company 5th Light It had changed owners several times. It took weeks to find the person in charge of the new company.

Over there no one knew how it worked lighting system, so they spent more weeks finding someone who understood it. When he finally got down to business, he discovered that some parts of the installation had to be changedfor which they were required several orders to different Chinese companies.

But these orders coincided with the closure of factories and the massive confinements in China due to the covid, which prevented the manufacturing of the missing components. In the end, a year and a half has passed… and They haven’t received the parts yet.

LED lighting

Meanwhile, the electricity bill rises to several thousand dollars a month, paid by citizens, being a public institute. Just at a time when there are restrictions on consumption and high energy prices in the United States.

The risky decisions that are sometimes made when the money is not yours, incompetence, the pandemic, and bad luck, have made a massachusetts institute I carried Years and a half with smart lights on 24 hoursBecause they can’t turn them off. And there it goes…

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