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Turning off the lights can really save energy, but for those that are just too preoccupied (lazy?), Adura Technologies wants to smarten up your lights so they can click off themselves. The San Francisco-based startup announced yesterday that it has raised $5 million Series A round of funding for its wireless lighting management systems. VantagePoint Venture Partners led the round, which also included Claremont Creek Ventures.
The company’s flagship product, its LightPoint System, is targeted at offices, commercial and institutional facilities, and has been deployed to several customers in Northern California, including UC Berkeley. The system includes lighting control hardware and a facility management software application which is where the company’s real IP and secret sauce resides, COO Josh Mooney tells us. LightPoint connects motion, ambient light and timing sensors to automatically turn off unused lights using Zigbee, a low-power wireless mesh network protocol popular among smart energy companies. The company estimates the system can reduce lighting energy costs by 40 to 70 percent. Mooney says customers can expect a payback in two to four years but in some cases, like UC Berkeley, rebates and incentives can cover the cost of installation, offering savings immediately.
The software can also be used as a tool to handle lighting controls during a demand response event when a facility operator would need to curtail energy use. Mooney says Adura is testing the automated capabilities of its system with the Alameda County Water District, another one of its customers. The company has been talking with PG&E (s pcg)to see how it might work with the utility’s demand response program, but Mooney laments that PG&E doesn’t yet have a program for lighting response.
Lighting controls have been around for a while, but with better low-power wireless hardware and software, these systems can be managed more intelligently, yielding higher cost savings and an attractive business prospect. Foundation Capital recently installed Control4 lighting control system at its new, greener offices. Meanwhile, big players are also looking to cash in, like Philips, which just partnered with the Berkeley National Lab to develop research energy-efficiency solutions for buildings.