EnLighted spreads sensors for efficient lighting

Startup raises $14 million and enters the commercial lighting controls fray with a sensor-per-light fixture approach designed for simpler installation yet significant energy savings.

As lighting becomes more computerized, startup EnLighted is taking a low-touch approach.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company today announced it has raised $14 million in venture capital and disclosed more details on its efficient commercial lighting technology. Investors are Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Intel Capital.

Startup Enlighted has designed a lighting management system in which sensors are attached to existing fixtures to ease installation. Enlighted

EnLighted's lighting system is installed by attaching sensors to existing light fixtures. The sensors, located at every 100 square feet, monitor light levels and occupancy to make adjustments, such as turning off lights or changing light levels based on outdoor light, explained CEO and co-founder Tushar Dave.

The product has been tested by about 20 customers, including carpet maker Interface, which is known for its leadership in business and sustainability. Because of the improved controls, energy savings have been in the range 65 percent to 70 percent, with a return on investment of 18 months to 24 months, according to Enlighted.

There are a number of companies building commercial lighting systems and controls for commercial customers, where a substantial amount of money and energy is wasted. Lighting accounts for about 35 percent of electricity use in commercial buildings, according to the EPA.

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One key difference with incumbents and other startups, such as Redwood Systems and Daintree Networks, is that EnLighted's system doesn't require sensors to be networked to control lights, said Dave. That eases installation, which takes about 15 minutes and can be done by any electrician. Still, sensors can also be networked to provide detailed information to building managers on energy consumption, he said.

Using sensor-based controls on light fixtures has become more economic in the past few years as the prices for components, such as dimmers and occupancy sensors, have dropped substantially, Dave said.

 

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