School installed smart lights to save energy, it has been almost two years without being able to turn them off

Massachusetts Minnechaug Regional School installed the smart lights in 2021 and has been unable to turn them off since then.

Minnechaug Regional School, located in Hampden-Wilbraham, Massachusetts, decided to change all the lighting in its building in 2021 to install smart lights with the goal of saving more energy and reducing costs.

However, although the educational center changed all the light bulbs for 7,000 of its “smart” variants, it has not been able to turn them off since the middle of the year in which it decided to implement them.

According to what NBC mentions, the 7,000 school lights have been on all the time since August 2021, the date they were installed.

“We are very aware that this is costing taxpayers a very significant amount of money. We are doing everything we can to fix the problem,” said Aaron Osbourne, assistant superintendent for finance at the institution.

Although this lighting change was made with the intention of saving energy and money, the school’s electricity bill has been registering large figures for more than 17 months and this is not paid by the administration of the educational institution, but by the public administration.

What is the reason that the managers of this building cannot turn off the lights? The reason is that, contrary to conventional lights, there is no switch for this lighting system.

When the school decided to install the new lighting, they chose versions so advanced that they do not have physical switches on the walls of the building.

The system is controlled by centralized software on a single server, and in August 2021, a rare glitch in this software caused the lights to stop turning off when they were supposed to.

One of the possible solutions to this problem would, of course, be to call the company that installed the lighting and ask them to turn off all the lights.

Unfortunately, the 5th Light company has gone out of business and changed owners constantly since that date. Today it goes by the name of Reflex Lighting Group and no one who works there has the slightest idea how to use the system or how to access it.

The only way to fix this failure would be to take the server offline and replace it with a new one. But, since this system also powers other devices such as electronic whiteboards, projectors and more, there is a possibility that all these equipment will not work when the connection is restored.

The school presented a procedure to achieve this, but it failed to materialize due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the semiconductor crisis.