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Their at it again. There is always a place and application for all light sources but...

The Drake Hotel Brings Light To Going Green

post-3-0-04469400-1377270211.jpg

http://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?news_id=2007827

"...The Drake Hotel and Olympic Signs of Lombard have teamed up to create green energy you can see. The Chicago landmark neon sign will be replaced with environmentally friendly Sloan LED lighting. Licensed by the EPA, Olympic Signs will dispose of the antiquated neon piping that used to adorn the 20ft "The Drake" sign. Thus, neon's 70 year run illuminating Lake Shore Drive officially ends.

The new and improved sign will be the first of its kind. Olympic Signs President Robert Whitehead, whose company is known for green energy, has lead his team in the production of a new mold, a new source of energy and a new spin on an old goal: reduce, reuse and recycle.

The original "The Drake" sign will be refurbished; essentially Whitehead's team will restore the background metal to its former glory. The neon piping will be recycled per EPA standards and the new lights will reduce the amount of energy the hotel needs to light "The Drake"...."

========================

If this is going to be another retrofit some neon gas pumped tubes to LED then The Drake should get ready for failure. We all remember the Genesee Beer debacle that we kicked around here a couple of years ago. Again, why retrofit something that's already in place? Just re-engineer the transformers and re-pump or retrofit with newer lamps.

But Olympic Signs thinks they are saving the world from evil and curing cancer at the same time and one LED at a time.

2116a.jpg

Olympic Signs say that LEDs over neon only cost 25% higher and that the sign user can make up for it in 10 months in energy consumption costs. Really?

Genesee Beer had all kinds of issues from the start to the end, and if what I'm hearing is accurate they still continue today. Lets review those figures we came up with on that sign.

Neon Project @ 380 linear feet

3.6 watts per foot x 380 linear feet = 1,368 watts
$719.00 annual cost of operation @12 hrs a day for 365 days a year

11 Transformers = $990.00
New Wholesale Glass = $1,710.00

****Much cheaper on glass cost for just adding new electrodes to old glass

Total $2,700.00



SloanLED Flexibrite @380 linear feet

2.8 watts per foot x 380 feet = 1,064 watts
$532.60 annual cost of operation @ 12 hrs a day for 365 days a year

22 Power Sources = $1,914.00
SloanLED Flexibrite = $7,075.00

***Does not include the price of glue, clips, and caps and wiring

Total $8,985.00



ROI: 48 years

Hardly 10 months.

But if Drake Hotel doesn't care about smart business sense and they just want to "pose" as a fictitious guise of been an earth saver by putting up a different light source among other things then hell, SPEND by all means. Sounds like they found the right sign company who will feed their ideology. I'm not hatin!! Money in hand and job is sold.

Just don't remove a light source that does not degrade in light output, or be able to retrofit one with one that won't (Neon Gas)....with one that will and say it's better or better for the environment. Because it's not! Just sell it as what it is, an alternative to using Neon Lamps, not "Green energy you can see". Does Olympic not know Neon NOW is recognized as "Green" by UL? Last I looked it TOO has a UL Green Leaf stamp of wacko environmentalist approval

A 70 Year old classic sign, The Drake has been a landmark....what a shame.

Hope it works out for them


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Great post Erik! We're currently fabricating a "retro" neon entrance sign for a restaurant. This customer loves neon. And we love making neon signs for him.

I'm not saying that we don't use LED's. 85% of our letters are LED's. I explain the differences to our customers. But most customers now have been brainwashed into thinking LED's are the answer for their lighting needs.

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Olympic signs is probably one of many Chhicago companies that bid on that job. should be interesting to see them fit all those tight bends with the new product. Will sure have less illumination than the red neon. All the companies around here, like elsewhere, won't even argue agaainst leds anymore. Most have shuttered their neon plant anyway. The labor is cheaper, wiring is easier, breakage is non existent, and the warranty is forever. So -- case closed. That "bad" neon "piping" gets EPA approved thrown away? Meaning, since its red - it can legally get dumped in the dumpster. Wow,, now that is a major selling point to the client.

But "---has lead his team in the production of a new mold, a new source of energy and a new spin on an old goal--" was the funny part.

That same company has done neon exterrior and interior for a major chicago hot dog establishments - even now out in Arizona. Their installs out here - not UL or legal by any imagination, esposed gto, no trode caps outside, hardly any on the inside, wire thru the walls on the interior stuff - but they got the jobs firmly in hand. Oh, did I say that the Chicago and suburbs areas have the best inspectors?

gn

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But "---has lead his team in the production of a new mold, a new source of energy and a new spin on an old goal--" was the funny part.

That is a funny line!


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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When getting back into the neon biz I took neon and LED samples into our municipal trash authority to get their opinions. Anything pumped without mercury can either be recycled or dumped right in the trash bin, mercury tubes must eventually make their way to a fluorescent/HID lamp recycler. The tubes, electrodes and mercury are pretty much 100% recyclable.

However after looking at the LED borders and modules it was explained that the minute amount of valuable content would not be enough to recoup the costs to separate the materials so they'd get buried in the landfill.

Guess this makes neon lighting GREEN like UL recently announced. The hotel doing the switchover will pay dearly when the LEDs fail and a costly refit occurs.

Jean-Claude

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***Does not include the price of glue, clips, and caps and wiring

Total $8,985.00

ROI: 48 years

Or labor, or the markup on the materials the customer will pay. This is certainly a 20K+ job when it's all over.

Man, people sure do dumb things.

Edited by megavolt512

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I guess after 70 years they want a change, LOL Funny part is that the companies that supplied the glass and electrodes are one of the ones that are still around and able to provide replacement parts. I'm pretty sure that in even 5 years sloan or Olympic wont be able to supply replacement parts and even then it wont match like the clear red neon does.


GOOD things happen for a reason......

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Olympic wont be able to supply replacement parts and even then it wont match like the clear red neon does.

I think the Sloan flex will need replacement in 6-8 years. Red LEDs are very durable... But flexible plastic tubes are not when out in the heat and UV. At least not the products I've seen currently used.

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Hey, all be damned that switch from neon to led's, but I'm curious as to who used to service that account and what if any difficulties, poor repairs or overcharges could have led to this customer switching to led's besides the snake oil salesman.

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One would think that "expired" LEDs (and their power supplies) would legally have to be treated the same as expired computers - as e-waste. Can't dump that in the trash (as it winds up in landfills) because the assemblies contain toxic metals, etc. Just a thought...

Edited by TelfordDorr

"Freedom has ceased to be a birthright; it has come to mean whatever we are still permitted to do" - Joe Sobran

I was tired yesterday, I'm tired today, and I'll be retired tomorrow - TD

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One would think that "expired" LEDs (and their power supplies) would legally have to be treated the same as expired computers - as e-waste. Can't dump that in the trash (as it winds up in landfills) because the assemblies contain toxic metals, etc. Just a thought...

I can get away with it in my region since the municipality sends all contents of the garbage trucks through a sorting facility. I can't imagine it would be fun working on that conveyor line after the trash comes out of a hot truck in the summer.

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This kind of shit really posses me off, and not even because they're switching to LEFucks.

If you want to switch your shit over to plastic lighting then go right ahead, but don't trash the product that's been working flawlessly on your sign for over 70 years.

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Apparently it's not just the LED people who are snake oil vendors. I called the local Entela testing rep to get some info and when he discovered I was back in the neon biz he sort of laughed and said "why? it's a dying art, LEDs are taking over".

I explained that I'm trying to promote a product with a track record when it comes to brightness, efficiency and long-life. He believes LEDs meet those specs as well.

In any event his quote on getting certified as an Entela shop was out to lunch - 4 site visits at $700+ each, instituting a quality control system (for a 1 man shop!) another $2000, testing of each type of sign to be made $500 each. So year 1 would be about $10,000.00 in costs. No thank you.

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We run into the same issues here in NYC NYC is full of older neon signs.

Neon is a skilled art. Manufacturing and installation is done with skilled labor. There is a limited supply of these professionals.

LEDs are available to every one with money in their hand. No Skills , limited if any installation skills or electrical understanding

The real issues are who is the better salesman. Neon verses LED. The better salesman and the educated customer will win.

  • Like 1

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I hear ya. Note the highlighted quote, debating whether I approach the nearby provincial wildlife park to see if one of their monkeys would like to learn how to install LEDs as a winter hobby. It's not a human so I could pay way less than minimum wage :P

We run into the same issues here in NYC NYC is full of older neon signs.

Neon is a skilled art. Manufacturing and installation is done with skilled labor. There is a limited supply of these professionals.

LEDs are available to every one with money in their hand. No Skills , limited if any installation skills or electrical understanding

The real issues are who is the better salesman. Neon verses LED. The better salesman and the educated customer will win.

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BTW if anyone missed it here is a link to the Signs of the Times artical about neon being listed as green:

http://www.dragunsigns.com/files/signs_of_the_times_neon.pdf

I will still be makeing and repairing neon, just ask someone when you show them a neon next to an led which they like better......

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Yeah, we kicked it around here last year, some even trying to take UN-deserved credit

http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5689-neon-ul-green-leaf/

BTW if anyone missed it here is a link to the Signs of the Times artical about neon being listed as green:

http://www.dragunsigns.com/files/signs_of_the_times_neon.pdf

I will still be makeing and repairing neon, just ask someone when you show them a neon next to an led which they like better......


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Just read that thread......I agree with you, but anyting tha w ill get the public to look to neon as an option is good in my book. Talking to some builders here, having neon listed as green gives them options with neon as architectural lighting options, and more for me to bend.......

Anything that gives correct info about LED vs neon is good in my book because neon will win that fight with proven reliability etc. I wonder how many refits we will all be doing when the sun kills all the plastic etc and the lumens of these led units drop to levels the salesman never told them about........oh well Keep bending!!

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Here is a link to the kind of BS that I guess sells.

http://ontario.kijiji.ca/c-services-skilled-trades-electrician-LED-sign-retro-fit-convert-to-LED-concrete-bases-W0QQAdIdZ463289993

Sad that people can belive this.

And it appears to be a member on this board too! One neon letter repairs pays for a complete LED changeover, not too likely unless you over price the repair just to get the LED order.

I might be wrong but don't sign repair companies make more money when their trucks are sent out on job sites? Just wondering what will happen when everything gets changed to LED and no service calls come in for a few years. No service calls = no revenue.

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I've seen a similar LED product (made by I-light) used here in Florida on some high profile exterior jobs that were retrofitted from neon.

The cost for the retrofits for 2 of the jobs that I quoted for a relamp was more than 5 times the cost of replacing the 15 year old neon. Install not included.

In less than 2 years I was contacted to replace the I-light do to its miserable performance. The Florida sun made short work of the plastic housing encasing the LED's . A couple of tropical storms later and you have a bunch of disintegrated plastic tubing hanging from your building or sign structure. That product is definitely not made to hold up in a tropical climate . I'm sure colder climates with freezing temps. and ice would have a similar affect on it.

It really does make you wonder what a "salesperson" has to say or promise to get someone to spend way too much money on an unproven product that is made to replicate the one that has given you 70 years of service.

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I might be wrong but don't sign repair companies make more money when their trucks are sent out on job sites? Just wondering what will happen when everything gets changed to LED and no service calls come in for a few years. No service calls = no revenue.

Yes Service and installation is where the most money is made but if you bank on doing service on your own work then that gives your work a bad name.. I just landed a multi location headed towards a national level where a restaurant is merging with a entertainment center because I did neon on one location 8 years ago and the shit aint gone out or needed to be serviced.. The company I beat out for it was telling the principle about how efficient they were at servicing their work. I don't have a bucket truck or crane, they have 2 of each. I have talent and skill.

Maybe signworks is trying to recoup the $ they got scammed out of by scamming customers LOL


GOOD things happen for a reason......

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Definitely when it comes to power consumption, neon lights take up more than 30% power than the LEDs which consume only far less power. When I contacted a leading signage providers for a custom sign board ,they gave me a detailed leaflet telling the advantages of the emerging LED(Light Emitting Diode) technology. The LEDs may not be always as bright as the neon lights, but they are definitely energy savers and are here to stay for a long time. I appreciate the attempts of the Drake hotel.

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The numbers I listed at the beginning aren't really debatable when it comes to this project, those are the numbers that are/have been measured.

I'm not sure what's on Pride Signs "marketing" brochure or what they claim to get end users to retrofit or buy "new" to replace Neon as it would relate to this particular project but these are the numbers. We run/display the tests here on The Sign Syndicate for all of the electrical industry to see on our Neon / LED "Border Security" Light test Comparison . Please tell Pride Signs to feel free and chime in if they have something that contradicts what I layed out in the 1st post, there are plenty of electrical engineers here on this site that would find it interesting as well

Border Security

http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/tutorials/article/36-border-security-year-3-4/

Red Neon to Red LED are the numbers.

Not only is it just 22% in savings using LED over Neon in cost of operation, pay an upfront cost of 70%+ more to use LEDs over Neon but you also have to look at the bigger cost savings that supersedes the project as a whole. Red Neon does not degrade in light overtime where as the Red LED border tube/Modules will which will require re-retrofits over time depending on the vendor MFG used. That usable light can last anywhere from 3-8 years before replacement is needed where as Neon is easily 20+ years depending on the processing.

LEDs are here to stay, their not going anywhere but their not the answer or replacement to everything and for everything. Every light sources has their advantages and dis-advantages. You may save for in something somewhere, but it will be paid out in other ways somewhere else. This Industry has seen many major sign program failures in it's time and that can be said with just about every light source, all light sources have to be used in the right application, and at the right place....otherwise the client pays the price.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Definitely when it comes to power consumption, neon lights take up more than 30% power than the LEDs which consume only far less power.

Incorrect in most cases. Where is your source of information besides an LED mfg brochure?

Like LEDs, neon can be driven at a variety of power levels. It is easily dimmed with inexpensive, off-the-shelf products down to brightness levels of the competing LED product. At that point the lumens delivered vs. power consumption is very comparable. Often tilting in the favor of neon/cold-cathode. A variety of vendors even make lower-output power supplies that more closely match LED output per-foot of modules or tubing. Like LED's, the lumen-maintenance and lifespan go up dramatically at lower driving levels.

Red LED's do beat neon for power consumption vs. lumens delivered. No debate there. What you do give up (as Erik mentioned) is the near 100-percent lumen maintenance of clear red neon. Clear red neon is the only light source available to the general public with a lumen-maintenance profile approaching 100 percent. So neon is less efficient in clear-red and but it does bring some other characteristics to the table that are not matched. Red neon can be stuffed into a channel letter in Houston where the interior temp soars to 150 each day and not sustain lumen-loss or shortened life. Replacing/changing a light source is a very energy-intensive endeavor in itself. And costly. This needs to be factored into the ROI equation in addition to initial watt-draw vs. lumens.

When you get beyond red, the question becomes much more nuanced. My general consensus after looking at years of the continual LED/Neon tests here (for colors other than red) is that it's pretty much a wash with regards to lumen-maintenance and power consumption. For outline-lighting, neon and cold-cathode seem to retain a strong edge - especially when cost is considered. But in other applications too.

I think one of the big revelations about Erik's testing here is that EVERYTHING degrades in output over time. LED's and neon - even red LED's. And eventually all of them need to be replaced when they are no longer delivering competitive outputs. The one exception here is clear red neon. It's less efficient than red LED. But it costs much less and it lasts much longer. Almost certainly has lower recycling costs and lower embodied energy. Where that fits into ROI depends heavily on the specific application.

I sell and install LED products as well as neon. Honestly I've had a very hard time selling LED border tubing. I've only managed to do it when either an uninformed customer demanded it, or it was an application where LED's were the better choice for physical reasons (splash lighting around kick-boards of restaurant booths). White LED modules? Use them all the time. Not because of energy consumption though. It's sometimes easier, and quicker than engineering a neon installation. But the quality of light is almost never as good as neon-cold-cathode. So my operation mode has really evolved to "use neon and cold cathode when the application supports it, use LED's for the rest". Has worked great for me.

Edited by megavolt512

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