Neon Sign Goes Green with LED Lighting

Recently, the electric utility completed replacing the sign's old neon illumination with LED lights that consume nearly 90 percent less energy, last longer, and require less maintenance.

Visible to drivers along Interstate 88, the old signage previously used 2,618-watt neon lights, but now generate the same brightness using 323-watt LEDs. Because LEDs also last longer than neon lights and need to be replaced less frequently, ComEd expects to save another 20 percent in annual maintenance costs.

According to Val Jensen, ComEd vice president of Marketing & Environmental Programs, the benefits of energy-efficient lighting are too significant, for ComEd, the saying 'Go Green, Save Green' is not just an advertising slogan. They hope their example spurs all customers -- business and residential -- to explore the many ways they can become leaner and greener.

The shift away from neon is part of a major nationwide trend, and LED-lit signs have quickly become the industry standard for roadside advertisements and storefront displays. Now, there is seeing a huge increase in LED use. All of the large outlets are moving towards or have already converted to LEDs, such as McDonalds, Best Buy, and Bank of America. Because LEDs function at a lower voltage, they are also considered safer, and in cold weather, they illuminate with a more consistent brightness than outdoor neon lights that may falter due to the cold or low temperatures.

The change to LEDs is also part of ComEd's environmental initiatives that support Exelon 2020, a comprehensive strategy announced earlier this year by Exelon, ComEd's parent company. The goal of Exelon 2020 is to reduce, offset or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emitted by its family of companies and customers. This includes ComEd's efforts to reduce its energy consumption by 25 percent by 2012. ComEd has been conducting energy audits at more than 50 of its locations across Northern Illinois. These audits have already prompted retrofitting some locations with energy-efficient overhead lighting, installing occupancy sensors, and improving HVAC systems. ComEd has installed LEDs on the south- and east-facing signs atop 2 Lincoln Centre, a 10-story building at 22nd Street and Butterfield Road in Oakbrook Terrace.

About ComEd
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.

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