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What do you get when you combine computer intelligence, efficient LEDs and industrial buildings?: An idea that investors want to back. On Tuesday morning three-year-old Digital Lumens announced that it has raised $10 million in a Series B round, which will help it expands sales and development of its technology that combines LEDs with networking software.
Digital Lumens brought back existing investors in the round including Black Coral Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Stata Venture Partners, and also raised a working capital line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank. The company has now raised $25 million, and counts customers like Americold, United States Cold Storage, Maines Paper and Foodservice, for its tech that it says can reduce lighting energy use by up to 90 percent.
How does it work? Each lighting fixture has an on-board computer and mesh networking capabilities, allowing the system to adjust to variables such as whether daylighting is available, the state of a neighboring fixture or if a particular work area or machine needs to be illuminated at a set time. The system can also be programmed, and provide data about usage and occupancy to facility managers through Digital Lumens’ energy management system.
For example, at its installation for Maines Paper and Foodservice, Digital Lumens installed its tech in the company’s 460,000-square-foot headquarters, where Maines distributes products ranging from fruit and meat to napkins and plates to restaurants, convenience stores, educational and healthcare institutions. Digital Lumens claims Maines expects to save an estimated 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually, about equivalent to the electricity used by 200 homes in a year.
Digital Lumens started out under the name GroomLED Inc., and shared space in its early days with Salem, Mass.-based efficiency services provider Groom Energy Solutions. As Groom has noted on its blog, it recruited a small team for the Digital Lumens venture with the goal of developing LED-based lighting systems meeting the high-wattage needs of its commercial and industrial customers. The idea was for an interdisciplinary team to consider optics, thermal, mechanics, power and control, taking an approach that Groom envisioned being “more like designing a computer than metal bending.”
Other networked, smart lighting companies include (GigaOM Pro report, subscription required) Adura Technologies, Cavet Technologies, Easylite LLC, Fifth Light Technologies, Redwood Lighting and others. It could be a massive market. The Electrical Power Research Institute reported that only 7 percent of the U.S. commercial and industrial market have installed lighting control systems of any kind.