Abrams Design Build  |  202-437-8583  |  

The Human Factor Strikes Again–Energy Efficient Device Backfires

Following up on the frustrations of dealing with human frailty

With the arrival of our new chief building engineer, Robert Burgess, Parkside Plaza (my home) has been greening up. Robert is a LEED certified professional, and has been aggressively finding ways to reduce energy consumption in our 250 unit building, replacing fan controls, balancing pumps and boilers, and dealing with a host of related–including lighting controls.20130327_075429

So a few weeks ago I was pleased but not all that surprised to find a motion sensing light switch in our laundry room.  Countless times I’d found the light left on by careless users.  I probably left it on a time or two myself.

I went about my business doing the week’s laundry.  At some point, while bending to remove clothes from the drier, I had ducked below the range of the motion sensor.  With a click, the light went out, and I was left in almost total darkness.  Although I am a veteran of numerous creepy attics andcrawlspaces, and grave-like excavations, the sudden darkness gave me a momentary start.  Of course, as soon as I stood up, the sensor detected me again and switched back on the lights.  I made a mental note to let Robert know about the issue.  Maybe he could adjust the timing function of the sensor, or otherwise improve its performance.


But I never got around to notifying anyone, and the next week when laundry day rolled around, I found that some user had set the function to “ON,” so that the light was burning 24-7.

Must…remember…to notify…Robert…