Development of illuminated signage and lighting options in the industry has changed drastically over the last century. As technologies advance and more cost-effective lighting choices become more readily available, we are seeing progression of illuminated signage shift and change direction towards more energy efficient solutions.
Traditional neon lamps date back to 1910, when French engineer, chemist and inventor, Georges Claude first introduced his invention to the public. It wouldn’t be for another few years before Claude’s neon lighting tube was patented and ready for large-scale production of signage and outdoor advertising.
Fluorescent lamps had a similar start, with several physicists, inventors and chemists investigating the phenomena of fluorescence and theorizing the construction of lighting tubes similar to those used in today’s modern signage. Commercial fluorescent lamps were designed, tested and patented by General Electric, who are known as the “Fluorescent Lamp Pioneers,” introducing their product to the signage market after 1941.
During this era, the general public marveled at the brilliance of neon and fluorescent outdoor signage, as it was just that – a thing of beauty and wonder! Often times with brilliance, there is consequence, and in the case of energy efficiency, both neon and fluorescent are not. While neon is slightly more energy efficient than fluorescent, neon uses approximately 12 watts per linear foot of signage, in comparison to the 18 watts per linear foot that fluorescent does. Although 12 to 18 watts per linear foot doesn’t seem like a lot, when you’re illuminating 50’ of signage for 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, you’re looking at upwards of $430.00, or more, towards annual energy costs, assuming the cost per kilowatt hour is between $0.11 - $0.14.
But what if I told you Grimco could help get your energy costs below $30.00 per year, a savings of up to 94%, for the same 50’ of illuminated signage? Keep reading to find out more…
Although the phenomenon of electroluminescence has been around since the turn of the 20th century, it wasn’t until the 1960’s when infrared LEDs, light emitting diodes, were invented and patented for Texas Instruments. Since infrared light is not visible to the human eye, it took a few experiments in order to produce the first visible light LED. Mass production of visible LEDs, in red and yellow, began in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1994 when the first blue LED was invented and introduced into the market. Fast-forward to modern day development of LEDs, where there is a wide range of options available for digital and fabricated signage, including several colour varieties and even RGB!
Grimco, exclusive home to HanleyLED, carries several options for both new fabrication and retrofit illuminated signage. Remember when we told you Grimco can help keep your illuminated signage energy costs below $30.00 per year? Take the HanleyLED PhoenixNRG Series PE-2 module, which has a power consumption of 1.09 watts per foot, and pop that into our energy efficient model of 50’ of illuminated signage. If we kept our hypothetical signage lit 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, you’re looking at a total energy cost of around $26.00 per year. That’s right, PER YEAR!
Check out the entire HanleyLED catalogue to find the best LED solution that’s right for you!
You can also use this HanleyPRO Layout Tool to design any signage with customized dimensions.
Not only does LED illuminated signage provide you and your customer with a significant (up to 94%) energy cost savings per year, your local provincial government and hydropower authorities often will offer retrofit energy rebate programs for additional savings. Visit your local hydropower authority’s website for additional information.
Want to learn how to calculate your illuminated signage energy costs?
Using a few basic pieces of information, you can make an approximate calculation of yearly energy costs with the below formula. Here’s what you need to get started:
- Power Usage and/or Consumption (per foot)
- # of Linear Feet of Illuminated Signage
- Cost per Kilowatt Hour (check with your local hydropower authority)
- Cost is typically between $0.11 to $0.14 per kWh
3 “Green” Reasons to Switch to LEDs
Retrofitting outdated neon and fluorescent signage to modern LEDs isn’t all about annual energy cost savings. Implementation of greener LED technology into current signage and lighting has a beneficial impact on our environment by lowering energy consumption, reducing the amount of harmful toxins and moderating disposal efforts.
- Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lighting, in general, accounts for up to 6% of global CO2 emissions into our atmosphere. Studies have shown that a switch to LED lighting technology will save over 1,400 million tons of worldwide carbon emissions. Power plants generate huge volumes of electricity in order to keep our cities running 24/7, and as we know, LEDs require less energy to produce light than neon and fluorescent tubing. By using LEDs in your signage, less power and energy is required from local power plants, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions as a result. If you conserve energy, you can reduce your carbon footprint.
- No Harmful Toxins
Outdated lighting technologies often contain noxious chemicals such as lead and mercury. When fluorescent lighting is not properly disposed of, it ends up in landfill sites, contaminating the environment with harmful toxins that can have detrimental impact on our ecosystems and can lead to air and water pollution. LEDs do not contain toxic chemicals and are up to 95% recyclable leaving behind little carbon footprint. LEDs are primarily comprised of electronic components and must be recycled in the same way traditional electronics are treated. Call your local recycling depot for more information on LED recycling programs.
- Long Lifespan
LEDs have a lifespan of up to 6 times greater than fluorescent or other outdated lighting technology. As a result, fewer LEDs are required for maintenance, which lowers the resources required for manufacturing and packaging, and in turn, reduces the frequency of disposal. Unlike conventional fluorescent lighting, it is uncommon for LEDs to suddenly fail, instead, the light output reduces over time, which is known as lumen depreciation. Look for LEDs with LM-79 and LM-80 (lumen maintenance) ratings, which are efficient testing methods for measuring the depreciation of lumen life.