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Minnechaug: The light was on at this school—a year and a half—at work

The lights are on at Minnechaug High School. For a year and a half, about 7,000 lights competed day and night. The impressive brick building in the US state of Massachusetts can also be seen from afar on a weekend. Energy crisis? High electricity prices? Minnechaug lights up.

The school wanted to install a “green lighting system” in 2012. The program should dim or turn off the light as needed. They say this saves energy and money. It turns out differently. In August 2021, an error occurred in the lighting system software update. Since then, the smart system has been stupid. The LEDs remain at the default setting: maximum brightness.

This leads to absurd situations. When the teacher wants to show a movie, he unscrews the lamp, High school newspaper described. The article appeared over a year ago, and until then no one could laugh at it anymore. “It’s a waste of energy and we feel powerless,” the author quoted a responsible official as saying.

Thousands of dollars a month

Permanent lighting is not only harmful to the environment, but also very expensive. “We’re well aware that this is costing taxpayers a lot of money,” said the regional school district’s chief financial officer. American broadcaster NBC. After all, Minnechaug installed energy-saving lamps. With regular bulbs, the cost is probably in the tens of thousands of dollars per month, thanks to LED bulbs, zero is eliminated.

This does not satisfy the district council. In a letter to the school board, the deputies wrote that the illuminated school building “conveys an image of waste at a time when many families are struggling with their energy costs.” A number of citizens complained. Compared to other issues in the region, it is not a particularly costly and urgent problem. “But, unfortunately, it is only visible.”

So, with growing desperation, Minnechaug tries to extinguish the beacon against his will – and encounters obstacles that should be a warning to people, for who they are. I dream of a comprehensive smart home. The company that installed the lighting system has changed hands several times in the meantime. It took weeks to find anyone still familiar with the technology. Months later, an offer came: $1.2 million to install a new lighting system. Minnechaug politely declined.

Minnechaug Regional High School in Massachusetts, USA

(Photo: John Phelan/CC BY-SA 4.0)

After several failed repair attempts, it was decided to replace part of the system. Parts were ordered in November 2021, and work will begin in February 2022. But the pandemic has affected production in China and disrupted supply chains. March turned into October, after all it promised: during the Christmas holidays.

The students have long since returned, and the light is still on. The now responsible company chief for the month of February aims to hide Minnechaug in the dark once again. The best news: this time they thought of an on/off switch that works even when the server is crazy.