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Tuesday 28 April 2015

Redwood Systems gets the most out of LEDs

Energy efficiency | No comments

by Nathalie Mettling | 12.06.11


During the last French-Californian forum on energy efficiency CAFFEET, the company Redwood Systems got full attention from the French delegation Ubifrance. Founded by former Cisco Systems’ engineers, the Californian company promotes the transition from halogen lamps to LEDs, more durable, more efficient and soon available at an equivalent price. Redwood Systems boosts this technological shift with an original and holistic solution.

1st step: remove junction boxes, relays, light control panels, drivers, ballasts, circuit breakers

LEDs operate at low voltage, and so does our laptop, webcam, telephone etc. What if ceiling lights, projectors and any LED lamp could be managed as easily as the rest of our office’s tools? The “Redwood Engine” works as an adapter and a central dispatcher for over 60 lamps. The engine is plugged to a standard electrical outlet, from which single low-voltage wires or category cables connect and power each luminaire. This simplified structure replaces an existing AC power system usually difficult and costly to install. No junction boxes, relays, light control panels, drivers, ballasts, circuit breakers are needed.


Conventional controls are overlays on the existing AC power system making them expensive to install and difficult to modify.

Installation d'éclairage avec la plate-forme de Redwood

The Redwood System is possible through the integration of technical advances across LEDs, microprocessors, DC-powered devices and sensors. Together, these technologies allow Redwood to deploy a centralized power and control platform.

Step 2: Pair each lamp with a temperature and motion sensor

To favor Redwood System’s LEDs to classical halogen system is both a money saver (LEDs need less electricity) and a time saver (a single circuit, one unique connector type). These savings can then be used to implement an advanced lighting control in the building. Each lamp is combined to a sensor (temperature, movement, light). This pair will allow for example to adjust lightings according to ambient light or the room utilization. I work at my desk, the rest of the room is empty, I can dim or turn the all the lights off except the two above my head.

The innovation also lies in the system’s intuitive and flexible configuration. One software enables to easily operate the lights throughout a building. You just have to define basic groups and criteria. For example, 10 lamps are plugged in the conference room, 3 groups are defined through simple drag and drop “whiteboard spots”, “ceiling fixtures above the table” these two groups included in “lamps in the conference room”. A few parameters’ adjustment for each group can create a very complex and optimal scenario, in just a few minutes.

Beyond lightings

Such system will find broader applications. One of them is space optimization. I discover in real time, what room is barely or never used? Which room is available for a meeting? Or even what aisles are most visited in a variety shop? Etc. High-tech applications made more affordable because investments in advanced lighting installations are compensated by generated economies. This is a rising company to follow in both France and the United States.

Redwood Systems Video

Redwood Systems in brief

  • Company founded in: 2008
  • HQ: Fremont, CA
  • Employees: 60
  • Customers: Facebook, SAP, Volkswagen

Author’s Express Bio

corps_nathaliemettling_101019Nathalie Mettling, Environmental Development Officer at Ubifrance, San Francisco.

She works more specifically in the water, air and waste sectors.

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