The more complicated you make any system, the more likely it is to fail.
Why then, do the experts always try to fix something complicated by making it more complicated?
This morning I went toe-to-toe with a principal who told me that she wanted my personal guarantee that the new "Super" automation system that turns the lights on and off based on whether a classroom is occupied will never fail again. Right.
Now, I have maintained from the first time I ever heard this idea suggested nearly 20 years ago that there will come a time (just one?) when the children will be sitting in a dark classroom with the adults pointing fingers at each other as to whose fault it was, and maybe how to fix it. Here it was for real ... again.
I didn't design it, buy it, or recommend it. I didn't even put it in. I just came to take the bad part out and put a spare part in. Somehow this woman demands lifetime responsibility for the equipment. Of course I deferred. She emphatically declared that to be "Unacceptable".
The excuse for this million-dollar waste of the taxpayers money is for our school system to be an Energy Star system. Yep, we are going green. We will save energy and money no matter what it costs.
But the real punch line is that it neither saves energy nor energy bills. The lights will all turn off automatically sometime between eight and ten at night when the custodians set the burglar alarn and go home, until the morning custodian comes in at six to open the building. Contrast that with the old solution - the teacher would turn the light off at four when she went home and turn them back on at eight in the morning when she came back in, all at a cost of a couple of bucks for the light switch which is there already. That's it, just turn off the lights when not in use.
Don't dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back for being "green". Use that hand to turn out the light switch the way my teachers did 50 years ago and my parent's teachers did a generation before that.