Innovation, Expertise Shine Bright for Energy Focus

Energy Focus
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Energy Focus is a relatively small company that is having a sizeable impact on the LED lighting industry. Through its exceptional products and innovation, and unbridled passion for smart lighting solutions, Energy Focus has placed itself at the forefront of the LED lighting and retrofit revolution.
Energy Focus has the expertise, the passion, the technological capabilities, and the integrity to shine a flicker-free light on the many benefits of LED lighting. In doing so, Energy Focus is directing the future of the industry and cementing its place atop the industry.

The primary benefits of LED lighting are energy savings, aesthetics, safety, cost, and less maintenance, but the lighting can have a positive impact visually, physiologically, and psychologically. The Department of Energy estimates that by 2030, LED technology should replace all artificial lighting, especially given the fact that it can reduce carbon emissions by ten percent.

There are several impressive statistics related to the positive impacts of LED technology adoption. Replacing 35,000 lamps can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,100 metric tons per year. Environmental offsets equate to 225,400 gallons of gasoline, 4,650 barrels of oil, 2,100,000 pounds of coal, the annual electricity use of 183 homes, 421 passenger vehicles and 718 tons of landfill waste.

The company was established in 1985 under the name Fiberstars in Silicon Valley, illuminating hot tubs with colored lights.

“Those light shows, where the water seems to glow purple or red, that was very likely us,” said Jeremiah Heilman, vice president of research and development at Energy Focus. “In 2003, we turned our attention towards LED, and we went after four Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contracts.” At the time, DARPA was looking at the Navy fleet and identifying ways for it to be more efficient.

Energy Focus was successful in securing all four DARPA projects. The company designed and installed LED lighting upgrades for the US Navy, which helped save time, costs, and improve the lives of the sailors onboard the fleet.

The LED solution, M1 Intellitube, offered the military unmatched longevity and reliability when compared to the existing system. A great deal of time and effort went into the design, engineering, development, and qualification of this product, and since that time, Energy Focus has installed tens of thousands of M1 Intellitubes on more than 40 percent of the fleet,.

“Everything you needed to make it glow was inside the tube,” said Heilman. “Taking the ballast out of the fixture meant lower spare parts they had to carry, less weight on board and less failures, so more reliable, more efficient, and fewer spares on board. This was a triple win for the Navy.”

“Who values high-performance, low maintenance, and the ease of implementation in a burgeoning LED industry?” was the immediate question, and the answer was that many industries did.

The company introduced the LED technology developed for the military to the commercial sector, making it more affordable and commercially available to consumers. It continues to serve the US Navy, as well as many other government agencies.

Over the last twelve years, the company has undertaken thirty-three government upgrade projects, in addition to serving the commercial, industrial, municipal, education, healthcare, and hospitality sectors. Energy Focus guarantees that it will never undertake a contract without a clear path to commercial viability.

Its products include LED lighting and related products, commercial and Energy Service Companies (ESCO) LED, LED tubes and retrofit kits, LED luminaires, LED housings, military and maritime LED.

Product specialties include explosion-proof LED globes, vapor-tight housing and a variety of other features that helps it to shine brighter than its competition. Energy Focus has never had a product recall and boasts a reported failure rate of zero with its military products.

By operating at lower temperatures, its products enjoy longevity – backed by a ten-year warranty – and longevity means fewer replacements making it better for the environment and the bottom line. Energy Focus is also launching its Lighting as a Service (LaaS) program that gives customers the opportunity for lighting upgrades at regular maintenance intervals.

Eyes are the medium by which light impacts upon neurological processes. Higher color temperatures can impact upon sleep/wake cycles as bright white light with sufficient blue content is important for melatonin suppression during waking hours, providing a boost of energy. “LED light is great because it can promote circadian photoentrainment,” said Heilman.

Energy Focus recently showcased its new products at 2016 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Los Angeles, at which it introduced its RedCap, Intellitube NR and 500NR, in addition to launching its Flicker Off! campaign.

“The RedCap battery backup unit is one that I’ve been working on,” said Heilman. “We realized that having a very high-performance product, there was enough empty space in the tube that we could put AA batteries in it and make a battery backup, and it’s a low-cost retrofit that’s easy to install labor-wise and offers a much better solution than what we’ve been doing for the last fifty years.”

The company’s RedCap solution is hassle-free, portable, and meets all the emergency lighting standards while offering superior everyday performance. Likewise, its network-ready products (NR 500D and NR IT2.0) offer even more energy savings, exceptional 150 lumens per watt, and advanced controls to optimize light use.

Energy Focus’ Flicker Off! campaign educates users of the multiple advantages associated with flicker-free LED lighting solutions. Energy Focus is leading the industry with its UL-verified 100 percent flicker-free dimmable products.

Switching to flicker-free lighting is proven to improve productivity, health, and wellbeing. Though subtropic flicker is not visible to the naked eye, the adoption of flicker-free LED lighting solutions can reduce the prevalence and severity of headaches and eyestrain in some and presents even greater benefits for those with visual hypersensitivity, individuals on the Autism spectrum, for example.

“That’s what’s really fun because you really have a fundamental sense of doing the right thing,” said Heilman. “ATEFOI, our stock moniker, the acronym is accountability, trust, extraordinariness, fun, openness, integrity. And when James Tu, our CEO, came on in 2012, he looked at that and felt like it was missing a piece, and that was kindness. So now, we have ATEFOI +K, and the +K is like the golden rule.”

Energy Focus takes kindness a step further. “It’s really finding what can we do that people don’t even realize they want us to do yet and how do we make that affordable and impactful for them.”

“People, planet, profit,” Heilman continued. “If you do the right thing for people and their lives, if you do the right thing for our environment and our planet and for generations to come, profit naturally grows out of that. That’s your reward for doing the right thing.”

He credits Energy Focus employees as being, “good, hardworking people who believe in what they do. To me it is the most fascinating business unit I have every had the pleasure to work on because we all recognize what we are good at and we all want to be better at it. What’s fun is that we’re not selling light bulbs, we’re selling energy savings; we’re selling sustainable fixtures. It looks like a light bulb, acts like a light bulb, but that’s not why you buy it.”

“We’re one of a kind,” he continued. “I want to help you save money and save energy, and in doing that, I believe I can provide a solution for you that costs you less than what you are doing today, and I can make a profitable business on it. That’s a great value proposition.”

The company is already anticipating how the market, the technology, and the innovation will advance over the next decade. Energy Focus continues to identify technology that is smaller, more mobile, user-friendly, and improved in cost, energy, and operational efficiency.

“Trying to cram everything in the tube originally put us at a disadvantage. In the meantime, I am competing with folks who would give a full-view integrated two-by-four gizmo that plugs a hole in the ceiling and makes light. I’ve caught up. I’ve passed them in terms of efficacy, how much light I can make per watt,” stated Heilman. “Adoption is as easy as changing the light bulb.”

As a trusted brand, Energy Focus is bringing 100 percent flicker-free LED products of superior quality, and this is only the beginning as it continues to identify ways to expand its products while continuing to do the right thing for people, planet, and of course, profit.

“Things are going to be that much better in ten years than they are today, and that’s a good thing for the environment, and that’s a good sustainable thing for our business model,” said Heilman. “I want to be the leader in LED lighting and retrofit.

“I want people to come back to Energy Focus and say that product I bought from you ten years ago was great, what have you got now. Next gen-LED. There is a revitalization here that can and should be embraced,” Heilman concluded. “It doesn’t always come around in a lifetime, this revolutionary technology that you can hitch your wagon to.”



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