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Energy Efficient Lighting Company

Case Study of Energy Efficient Lighting Company – Energy Mad

Interview with Tom Mackenzie.

Tom Mackenzie started his energy-efficient lighting company, Energy Mad, in 2004. Today, he has expanded the business from his original New Zealand market across the Tasman to Australia, and is now eyeing up Europe and the US. The company will be floated on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in August 2011. So, where did it all start?

“I read a book called Factor 4, which is about doubling wealth while halving resource use, and that really got me thinking. What if we replaced all lightbulbs in the country – or even half of them? The savings would be huge. We didn’t have any bulbs or outlets at that point, but that’s where the idea came from.”
His next step was to get the New Zealand government on side and to start working with the power companies. Today, Energy Mad is a growing company and has won every project it has tendered for.
When asked about the single most important factor to consider when you’re looking at switching to eco-bulbs, Tom says quality has to be top of the list.
“At the point that we launched, there wasn’t a product in our market of a quality that we considered good enough to be using. We sourced 100 or so samples and trialled them before choosing the bulbs that we now install. And we’ve since gone into a joint venture with that supplier.”
The bulbs work much like neons, he says, but are much smaller, warm up quickly and give off a good, strong light in all kinds of colours. They last 15 times longer than a conventional lightbulb and use just a fifth of the power.
The company has sold five million lightbulbs in New Zealand to date (the country has a population of just over four million!), saving enough electricity on the way to power the South Island city of Christchurch. The vision now, says Tom, is to save enough electricity to power Europe.
“The company has extended operations into Australia and is now working with several state governments over there,” he says. “They have had real issues with halogen bulbs starting fires in a country prone to wildfire, and we have a new product that sidesteps that risk. We also have a 12-volt eco-bulb that fits into existing halogen fittings – it doesn’t get hot and it doesn’t explode.”
However, halogen lighting, he says, does tend to be top of mind for people when they’re designing the lighting for their new home.
“The trouble with halogens is that you need a lot of them to produce much light, and you have to cut through your insulation to install them, which is really heat-inefficient,” he says.  “The eco equivalent doesn’t breach your insulation, works well, is energy efficient, is not a fire hazard and gives off nowhere as much heat as a halogen. And because eco lights last so much longer, they offer a far better lifestyle quotient in terms of their energy footprint.”
So, if incandescent bulbs are on the way out, what does the future hold? There are new technologies constantly in R and D, says Tom.
“There’s a lot happening in LEDs, but they’ve got a way to go in terms of initial cost and light quality,” he says. “At the moment, I’d still say go for a really good-quality energy-saving bulb and enjoy the lower power bills.”

Read more about Energy Mad the company and how to contact them.

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About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse