Last One Out of Germany Turn Off the Lights (With A Cellphone)

Illustration for article titled Last One Out of Germany Turn Off the Lights (With A Cellphone)

Some free advice if you're ever walking down a dark street in Germany anytime soon: Be sure your cell phone is completely charged.


Why? Because the country is turning out all the lights to save energy, and they'll only turn on if you point a cellphone at them and command them to do so.

So far, the program has been met with modest success. In the small town with a big name Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, the citizens were given the ability to turn on street light with their cell. So far, they've managed to save $5,300. Not too bad for a town of only 900.


In Döblitz, resident Heinrich Frühauf tripped and fell in the darkness, and before you knew it, that town was turning lights on with their cellphones too. A timer shuts off the lights after 15 minutes.

The systems are so popular in Germany that a company called Dial4Light (so clever!) now charges the cost of a phone call to have the lights come on in the town of Dörentrup. In Rahden, 60 minutes of light costs about $4.65.

The problem with this system, of course, is that people have tendency to cut corners (i.e. not pay for as much light as safety would require). Light or bread? Light or heat? This could lead to a more than a few open manhole accidents, especially in this tough economy. Maybe this isn't such a bright idea after all. Yes, you can groan about that pun now. [Dial4Light via Treehugger]

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You know what could also work? Push-buttons, like they have on pedestrian crossings and train station heat lamps.

To be fair, you'd have to find the streetlight first, and you might be in danger of tripping while you stumble around looking for it; however, you could attach an LED to each push-button to make it visible in the dark. In any case, if they can afford a complex cellphone-radio-controlled system, then a simple, reliable solution that's accessible to all pedestrians is really what they should consider first.

(Of course, they might have something like that in place already. I've never been to Morgen-Whatsit before.)