Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advent candles vs lights out in work

(c) 2005 by Mark D. Roberts is the first Sunday in Advent. Many Christian churches will have celebrated by lighting one candle in an Advent wreath holding four (or five including an extra one for Christmas Day) this morning.

(Even some of the normally candle-phobic Protestant denominations will have got their matches out this morning!)

Ironic then that in this season of light and Christingles that our floor in work has been without light for over a week. Only six years old, our building has a lighting management system.

A fancy way of describing a PC that sits in-between the light switches and the light fittings in the ceiling. So when you press the light switch, you actually send a signal to the PC that decides what to do to which set of lights (turn them on, dim them etc).

Why bother you ask? Well it allows rules to be set that switch off all the lights after 7pm when most people have gone home, or to turn on the lights in the corridors when someone walks past the sensor in the light above the door.

However, when the PC fails, it can leave two half floors without any light! And given the dark mornings and failing light from mid afternoon, it’s fairly gloomy!

So until the suppliers can send someone across from England to sort it out, we’re left with the kind of floodlights normally found on building sites strung around the window sills and on tripods. They’re hugely inefficient, and give off a lot of heat, so any savings made by the intellident lighting management system over the last six years have probably been cancelled out by the extra load on the air conditioning and energy inefficient bulbs in our new yellow friends.

And yes, someone has to go around and turn off the lights at night.


John Self said...

Speaking of office lighting, as we were driving across the Albert Bridge last night, I pointed out to my passenger the top six floors of BT Riverside Tower, which were lit up like Christmas. What is this fashion for offices being illuminated at night? She pointed out that there may be a 24 hour call centre up there...

Anyway, speaking of wasted energy, our journey was fruitless anyway. We were headed to the QFT to see the widely acclaimed Pan's Labyrinth: only to find that the door was closed with an apology for 'staffing problems.' Onward then to Storm Cinema, to catch Borat, which we'd been meaning to see. Another waste.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

The overnight security guys in some big buildings walk around the floors to check for fires etc.

So if they get a lift up to the top floor and then walk down, they tend to trigger the automatic lighting on most of the floors, before the lack of movement (and the time of night) automatically switches off the lights.

I saw Pan's Labyrinth on Thursday night - will post something later. Not quite what I expected, but worth seeing.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Some thoughts on Pan's Labyrinth now posted.