Signs of the Times - September 2012 - (Page 76)

Neon: Green Again Choose lightsources for your customers based on your expertise. By Loren Hudson As with everything new again.” trendy, eventually “what’s old is This even holds true with signillumination components and the newly established UL Energy Verified Program. With the program re-establishing neon and cold cathode as Green Energy Verified lighting sources, perhaps they will become more politically correct again. Neon’s energy efficiency probably doesn’t surprise sign professionals, but, possibly, that an outside entity, Underwriters Laboratories, has finally recognized the product, does. This certification is listed in UL’s publication titled “Certification Service To California Energy Commission Title 24 Technical Requirements and Audit Instructions (ENVS).” While this program’s primary consideration is electrical-consumption issues, other factors – such as longevity, sustainability and available replacements – must also be considered when evaluating long-term “green” applications. Although neon has remained primarily the same type of operating system since its inception nearly 100 years ago, this lighting system has also evolved with current customers’ environmental concerns. The introduction of electronic power supplies, lead-free tubing, longerlasting phosphors, controlled mercury-dispersing electrodes, and a product that can be 100% closedloop recycled, exemplify how earthfriendly neon can be. Because of neon’s longevity and consistent performance, most people don’t realize how much neon is out there quietly doing its job until it needs servicing or is replaced with another product that doesn’t perform as well or last as long as the original neon. On your next drive home, see if you can remember how long those neon signs you pass have been burning. Neon has been a primary signage lightsource for decades. For example, the neon on the famous Citgo sign at Fenway Park in Boston burned for about 40 years with an annual cost of operation (initial product cost plus electrical usage) of $8,100. In 2004, the sign’s first LED retrofit was installed and lasted five years at an annual operational cost of $282,000. That hardly seems green compared to neon. The verdict on the 2010 retrofit of the retrofit is still out. A recent Los Angeles Times article touted a neon tube that was covered by a wall during a renovation (see ST, July 2012, p. 10). The building owner’s records indicated the tube had been operating behind the wall for more than 70 years. Not only was it working, but the replacement parts would still be available today, had it needed servicing. Such hands-off longevity proves neon as a long-term lighting solution. Brightway Signs (New Orleans) 76 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / SEPTEMBER 2012 /

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

Signs of the Times - September 2012
ST Update
Possible Future for Digital Printing
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Show Yourself
Enter STs 2013 Intl. Sign Contest!
Looking Ahead
Pop Art
Neon: Green Again
Channel-letter Update
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - September 2012