Signs of the Times - July 2012 - (Page 104)

EDITORIALLY SPEAKING By Wade Swormstedt “To participate, manufacturers must first be a subscriber to UL’s sign-certification program.” The Greening of Neon Does UL’s certification combat governmental aversion to neon? Herbie Moulton, 77 (Masters Technology, Phoenix), ecstatically emailed me. He’s been involved with neon for 56 years. “Here is the U.L. Green Listing file regarding the procedure so that we can begin the process of getting a Green Listing for neon in the sign industry. I will be working with UL, along with The Neon Group, as we need to make the business community aware that neon and cold cathode are eco friendly.” In response, Lee Hewitt, UL’s principal engineer for lighting-product safety (and a frequent contributor to ST and the ISA Report) explained, “The Title 24 Certification is open to all sign types including fluorescent, LED, neon, etc. UL currently has about two dozen companies that are subscribers to both UL Listing for Signs and Title 24 certification.” Lee’s colleague, Julie Leet, a lighting account executive, wrote, “UL has communicated this service to the industry, but has not focused on any particular type of signage.” And she specifically calls it Green Leaf Certification. To achieve this certification, a sign company (Lee explains that this certification applies to the creation of neon signs, not individual neon components) must adhere to general technical requirements in one of two ways: via a maximum watts-per-sq.-ft. approach, or through a specific lighting-source approach. (The following is quoted directly from the Verification Services document.) “To comply with the specific-lighting-source approach, a sign may only be illuminated by the light sources in Table 1 below: Table 1 – Approved Sources Any neon and cold cathode with a transformer or power supply having: • Efficiency* ≥ 75% with output current< 50 mA, or • Efficiency* ≥ 68% with output current ≥ 50 mA, *Efficiency is defined as the ratio of output wattage to input wattage at 100% tubing load “ Loren Hudson (Hudson & Hudson Neon, Houston, TX) is the president of The Neon Group, whose primary purpose is “to advocate the positive attributes of neon.” In response to this, Loren wrote, “The Neon Group is excited to have neon and cold cathode included in UL’s Title 24 initiative to provide Energy Verified Green Solutions for signage to end users. Though Article 24 is a California-based initiative, the Verified Green Program by UL is available nationwide to manufacturers already participating in building UL-listed signage. The Neon Group hopes, in conjunction with UL, to educate sign manufacturers about the program, as well as the longterm sustainability and universal service abilities that neon offers. This endorsement of neon and cold cathode 104 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JULY 2012 / by UL, simply stated, shows that neon has always been an efficient, long-term signage solution and is finally being recognized as such by regulatory agencies. “Neon’s benefits can be described as: Efficient: Proven by UL Article 24 as Energy Verified compliant Sustainable: 100% closed-loop recycling available Serviceable: Still on Version 1, with universal parts readily available “Although Title 24 is concerned with electrical efficiencies only, some people will say that this can’t be accurate: ‘Neon can’t be green; it has mercury in it.’ Previous legislative activities in some Northeastern states have attacked the use of mercury in neon tubing for signage, and have been successful, despite their allowing fluorescent and CFL bulbs that use exactly the same components. Seems as though the legislation targeted taste and style of signage rather than the actual components used. We’ll just assume it was a lack of education rather than discrimination. Unlike other products that have to be ‘reclaimed,’ neon, cold cathode and fluorescent can be 100% closed-loop recycled. Neon over time has proven itself, not in laboratories, but in the field, as a long-term lighting solution for signage and lighting programs.” From UL’s perspective, Lee wrote: “In 2010, the California Energy Commission (CEC) asked UL for assistance in implementing CEC Title 24 Energy Efficiency regulations for electric signs installed in California. It hoped UL could leverage its comprehensive and successful US/Canada sign-certification program. In response, UL established a development team that included the CEC, industry reps from sign associations, and UL representatives, including myself as Principal Engineer in Lighting responsible for Signs. In early 2011, UL completed development and rollout of the new Title 24 certification program. To participate, manufacturers must first be a subscriber to UL’s signcertification program. The new certification to Title 24 coincides with UL’s new recordkeeping requirements that include Title 24 compliance information that is audited by UL during normal follow-up visits. The program also involves a new combination holographic label that contains the UL Listing Mark for Signs and the Title 24 Certification Mark.” Undoubtedly, all of this raises many more questions than it answers: motivation, 100% closed-loop recycled, the efficiency requirements, etc. May discussions ensue. n

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - July 2012

Signs of the Times - June 2012
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Vehicle Graphics Contest Extension
New Products
The American Sign Museum Opens!
An Electric-Sign Company Snapshot
By Print or by Paint
Extreme Installs
Lessons for the Boss
The Value of Signs
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - July 2012