Intelligent lighting improves data center efficiency

Centralized control of a data center’s lighting was achieved through implementing LEDs that improved lighting quality and increased visibility in the facility.


Figure 1: Redwood Systems’ intelligent lighting platform complements Fenwick and West’s data center’s energy-sensitive mechanical systems that include cold aisle containment and controlled airflow management. Courtesy: Redwood SystemsFenwick and West LLP is a national law firm specializing in technology and life sciences. In 2010, the firm worked to incorporate the next generation in energy-efficient technology into its own facilities by implementing LED lighting in its firm-wide data center renovation.

Seeking to further maximize energy savings, Fenwick and West selected Redwood Systems’ intelligent lighting technology for the 2,000 sq-ft Class A data center, located in Mountain View, Calif. The firm achieved centralized control of the data center’s lighting, with web-based access, improved lighting quality, and increased visibility into the facility’s energy usage. The system also complements the data center’s energy-sensitive mechanical systems, which include cold aisle containment and controlled airflow management, helping the facility reach the lowest power usage effectiveness (PUE) and attain U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification.

Fenwick and West wanted to ensure it realized all of the benefits of its LED installation. Redwood’s platform provides the firm with “smart” lighting capabilities; the capacity to use light only when and to the degree needed. Sensors attached to the LED fixtures detect people’s presence in the data center and respond by lighting only the pathways in use, and with Redwood’s fine-grained dimming control, lights can be turned up and ramped down in smooth, linear fashion without ever disturbing staff working in the space.

Redwood’s platform was installed on a separate track to the HVAC system, by Fenwick and West’s design. The customized control system gathers data on each individual light fixture. Fenwick and West relies on this information to enhance aisle configuration and overall space utilization. Additionally, the per-fixture lighting data increases monitoring capabilities and tightens data center security.

Energy savings

Figure 2: In 2010, Fenwick and West LLP sought to incorporate energy-efficient lighting technology into its Class A data center, located Mountainview, Calif. Courtesy: Redwood SystemsSince installing Redwood’s technology, Fenwick and West has improved its data center’s lighting efficiency by approximately 90%. The LED fixtures run at cooler temperatures than the data center’s previous lights, helping contribute to dramatically reduced HVAC operations in the facility. Combined with the facility’s other energy-efficient technologies, Redwood’s network has helped Fenwick and West significantly decrease the energy consumption of the data center, contributing to a 1.18 PUE overall.

A unique challenge Fenwick and West faced was having to take extra precautions in making upgrades, as the data center was already LEED Gold certified prior to the Redwood installation. The goal of achieving maximum LEED points was the primary factor behind Fenwick and West’s decision to install LED lights instead of fluorescents. Fenwick and West was drawn to Redwood’s technology based on the novelty of sustainable, environmentally friendly lighting, and the fact that it represents the cutting edge of energy-efficient technology.

The Redwood installation project in Fenwick and West’s data center started in earnest in July 2010 and was completed by November 2010. The Redwood installation served as a test bed for a conference center Fenwick and West built following the data center’s completion. Fenwick and West drew from the experience with the Redwood installation and applied it to the conference center, whose lights are also controlled by Redwood’s platform.

Information provided by Redwood Systems.

Summary of benefits


  • Efficiency gains due to significantly reduced lighting energy through “on-demand” lighting
  • Detailed, easily accessible data that provides insight and informs decisions not only on lighting, but also on building design and function
  • A customized lighting environment that incorporates capabilities such as judicious workplace lighting, occupancy sensing, and real-time monitoring of unauthorized areas
  • Lighting controls that contribute to LEED credits in energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design categories of LEED.


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