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LED kindly light! enLighten shows the way for Australia


One man who’s fairly unimpressed by Australia’s energy policy is David Whitfield.

The co-founder and CEO of enLighten, a Sydney-based LED lighting company, believes the country does little to promote next generation energy initiatives and, has “an abysmal record” on many leading world indicators. Australia could cut energy consumption by 15% if every light was converted to an intelligent LED light.

For its innovation in LED lighting, and for its vision, Whitfield’s four-year-old startup was presented the 2012 Australian Clean Technologies Competition Open Award. At a gala dinner held in Melbourne on Oct. 5, enLighten’s General Manager Steve Cahill accepted the award from Parliamentary Secretary for Industry & Innovation Mark Dreyfus, whose department sponsors the competition.

EnLighten will now venture to San Francisco to take a shot at the Global Cleantech Competition, to be held next month. The award prize covers cost of the U.S. as well as a tailored business matching service from San Francisco-based ANZA Technology Network, a business accelerator.

“We are delighted to receive the recognition of the judging panel for both our lighting technology innovation and our business planning,” said Cahill.

The Chamaeleon trick

A total of 103 companies entered the second Cleantech Open, which aims to find, fund and foster companies with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. Of them, 30 semi-finalists were invited to present their cleantech solutions to local and international investors as part of one-day investment showcase; and seven finalists eventually contested for the top prize on three key criteria: technology, market and business plan.

EnLighten’s flagship product is the design-patented Chamaeleon multi-function LED light. It is an intelligent light that dims itself when the space is unoccupied, and activates itself when a person enters the space. Ideal for common spaces in apartments and car parks, for example, the Chamaeleon can deliver energy savings of up to 93%

At last year’s NSW Green Globe Awards, the Chamaeleon won the Environmental Innovation Award and enLighten won the broader Energy Award for its overall contribution to sustainability.

Founded in 2008, enLighten successfully raised domestic capital last November, helping expand its product range to include LED troffers, down lights, high bay lights and radio frequency occupancy sensing technology. It plans an international foray next year.