A Thought About the ‘Occupancy Sensors’


The “occupancy sensor” (Photo by Eric Geller ’14)

As you probably know, the College recently installed some “occupancy sensors” in the Caples, Mather, McBride, Hanna, and Leonard residence hall rooms. Sustainability Director Ed Neal told the Collegian that the “occupancy sensors” are part of a “sustainability and energy initiative” that will, “adjust the room temperature based on whether students are in the room.” But I’ve been thinking. Isn’t it suspicious that these “occupancy sensors” are placed in some of the most haunted Kenyon residence halls, residence halls that have been known to suffer mysterious fluctuations in temperature, residence halls believed to be inhabited by ghostly spirits?  Yes, readers, I believe that these “occupancy sensors”  are not intended to track human occupancy, but paranormal occupancy.

I posit that the college isn’t concerned with tracking and eliminating ghosts because of their terrifying nature, but because their activities are simply unsustainable  Both the Old Kenyon and Caples ghosts are notorious resource abusers. Wendy MacLeod ’81 for The Alumni Bulletin reports that the Caples ghost has little regard for the conservation of energy or water (all emphasis mine):

Safety Officer Dan Turner was working the north end that night. When he came on duty at 11:00 p.m., he was told by the afternoon shift to “keep an eye on Caples.” Lights and showers had been unexpectedly coming on, despite the fact that security had thoroughly checked the building and found no one.

Didn’t the Caples ghost ever learn to turn off the lights before leaving a room?  MacLeod goes on to further demonstrate the ghost’s wastefulness, painting a picture of a careless anti-environmental spook:

A shower was running on the fifth floor and steam was billowing into the hallway. In the corner rooms on the upper floors, where the calls had originated, the lights were on and every phone was unplugged. They turned off the lights, plugged in the phones, and prepared to leave.

Not only does the Caples ghost leave the lights on, it wastes hot water! Hot water is the most energy intensive kind of water to make!

MacLeod finds that the Old Kenyon ghosts are no better than the Caples ghost when it comes to sustainability.  She explains that the Old Kenyon leave lights on and additionally target climate control with their ghoulish powers:

On a sultry July night, safety officers Dan Turner and Renee Joris were called to an uninhabited Old Kenyon because a light was seen on in the West Wing Bullseye. It had been in the nineties that day, and on the fourth floor it felt even hotter (the building does not have air conditioning). They turned the light off and started down the hall. But as they pushed open the fire door that leads from the West Wing to the middle section of Old Kenyon, they were suddenly covered in goose bumps. They saw each other’s breath. It was inexplicably freezing.

Climate control is the very energy waster that the College hopes improve using the “occupancy sensors.” The ghosts must be costing the College a fortune in temperature regulation.

So, I think the College has installed these “occupancy sensors” to help maintenance combat Kenyon’s costly and environmentally unsustainable ghost problem. Maybe if they track paranormal occupancy, they can hire a ghost hunter to eliminate the spooks and save the college millions!

My suggestion: the next time you have a run in with the wasteful Caples elevator oogly-boogly (not a soccer boy taking the elevator down from floor four to floor two, the supernatural wasteful Caples elevator  oogly-boogly), try to trap it in there and tell it about Kenyon’s sustainability initiative. We all have to do our part.

5 responses

  1. These sensors seem to operate on the placebo effect… How can you control the heating of specific rooms if the building has CENTRAL HEATING? I realize that some rooms have individual heaters that are controlled manually, but these sensors appear to be strictly on wishful magical. Great way to address a structural problem by fooling everybody. Anyone got an answer??

  2. Pingback: Ask Philander Chase « The Thrill

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