Redwood Systems sees bright outlook for European LED market

May 4, 2012
Date Announced: 04 May 2012 US-based LED lighting control technology specialist Redwood Systems has this week announced it is officially launching in Europe, after inking a deal with energy giant EDF and extending distribution partnerships with infrastructure providers Anixter and CommScope.The company announced yesterday that EDF has successfully trialled its system at its innovation lab in France and will now roll the technology out across facilities in its service division.Redwood specialises in control systems for highly efficient LED lighting, which incorporate sensors that are capable of both optimising the use of lighting in a building and providing data that informs the property's management systems."With LED technology there's the potential to reinvent the infrastructure that drives lighting in a way that delivers massive cost savings and maximises the efficiency savings you naturally get from LEDs," Redwood Systems chief executive Dave Leonard told BusinessGreen. "But there is also the potential to use lighting to provide the nervous system for the building. Lights are everywhere in the building so a sensor at the lighting point allows you to monitor everything."Redwood's sensors are capable of measuring energy use, light levels, and room occupancy, and in the future Loenard predicts they will also measure CO2, humidity, air pressure, and air flow, as well as potentially RFID tags attached to assets in a room. As such the technology can integrate with building management and security systems to enhance efficiency and security across the property.However, currently Redwood's sales pitch centres on the financial savings that can be delivered from well managed LED lighting systems."Against the best fluorescent lighting system with controls we are still talking about 75 per cent savings and in some facilities that can get as high as 90 per cent," said Leonard. "Return on investment (ROI) depends on lots of variables and the cost of electricity in an area, but we are typically delivering a ROI period of three years in the US."The company already boasts a number of high profile clients in the US, including Facebook, SAP, and Volkswagen, and Leonard is now keen to target more "blue chip customers with an eye on aggressive sustainability objectives", particularly in Europe.Redwood has opened a new European office in London headed by vice president for global markets Brent Boekestein, and Leonard predicts that in the medium term Europe could become the company's largest market."We think the EU market has more potential than the US market, because of the relatively high cost of energy and the focus on sustainability," he said. "We expect over 40 per cent of our business will come from the European market. The available global market for this type of infrastructure is $60bn a year and fitting is another $30bn a year. That is a big market."To date adoption of LED lighting systems has been hampered by high upfront costs that have discouraged many businesses from investing in the technology.It is a problem Leonard recognises, but he remains confident that the falling cost of LEDs will help make the technology a compelling proposition."We keep thinking we have a no brainer, but we haven't yet," he admits. "Getting money back in two to three years is often not interesting to the people in charge of the capital budgets. We have to get to cost parity and drive a value proposition that is better. But we are now very close to being able to compete on upfront cost."A year ago customers were paying $400 for a standard commercial office LED light, but now we are doing projects where customers are paying $200 per light, and we are working with suppliers who expect to offer $150 lights by the end of the year."Meanwhile, Redwood is working on new functionality designed to further enhance its lighting controls.Alongside sensors capable of tracking a wider range of environmental metrics, Leonard reveals the company is developing a new "data dashboard", due to be released within six months, that will provide information on how efficiently a building's lighting system is performing and provide anonymised comparisons with a company's peer group."An LED light without controls can save you 30 per cent compared to standard lights," he said. "But with controls savings can rise to 75 per cent."

Redwood Systems


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