Lights that can detect when someone is in a room are nothing new. Just under a decade ago a friend used to work at a chicken factory in Scunthorpe and said his staff toilets employed this light-sensitive system. All was well provided you weren't someone who likes to take a paper in with you, otherwise expect to be plunged into darkness after 4 minutes.
Supplied by Contrac Lighting, the system being trialled at Ayr, Glasgow, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Gloucester and Chichester depots appears to be a little smarter than that at the 2 Sisters Factory. They can detect the amount of natural light and can dim or brighten to compensate. I really can't see how such a system can significantly reduce energy consumption, though Stagecoach reckon it will cut electricity bills by 40%, saving almost 230 tonnes of CO2 a year.
By 2014, Stagecoach hopes to reduce CO2 usage in its buildings by 8% and its fleet by 3%. The group estimates a combined CO2 saving of 40,000 tonnes by 2014, which will have a positive effect on its financial outgoings, too.
Of course energy saving is nothing new. In the 1990s BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire, leisure centre manager Gordon Brittas (Chris Barrie) instigated something similar to good effect, placing notices above light switches in all areas of the leisure centre with "This light switch is connected to the earth's dwindling resources". Who says council workers are unable to choose the cheapest option to reduce consumption!