For many years, light-emitting diodes (LED) were primarily known for their use in alarm clocks, flashlights and automobile taillights, but these bulbs offer more benefits than their small size and versatility. LEDs also are highly energy-efficient, and with no filament to burn out, their life spans far exceed those of traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs — lasting 25,000 to 50,000 hours. As a result, they are playing an integral role in the green energy push and are now used in a variety of ways — including for lighting in outdoor signage.
While many companies are implementing LED lighting in new or replacement outdoor signs, existing signs can easily be retrofitted with the lights, as well. Retrofitting can be particularly cost-effective for chain stores with multiple locations that may not have the budget or need to replace existing signs. It can take only a few days to replace the lighting, and the new LED lights will immediately lower energy use and decrease maintenance needs. Because LED lights are powered by 12 volts instead of 110 volts, they provide significant reductions in carbon footprint, estimated energy savings between 60 and 80 percent, and an average two-year return on investment. As well, the increased “life span” of LED lights minimizes service frequency and maintenance requirements of signs over the long run.
For businesses wanting to reduce energy costs through a fast and easy retrofitting process, LEDs can be an ideal alternative. Harbinger’s sign-retrofitting program helps customers nationwide achieve cost savings and reduce their environmental impact.
One of our national convenience store clients is reducing its carbon footprint and environmental impact is by switching to LED lighting. In 2010, Harbinger was retained to retrofit the signage in more than 1,750 locations nationwide – and to do it within the year.
In addition to researching and developing a LED lighting solution, Harbinger fine-tuned its project management process to ensure support of hundreds of retrofits simultaneously in varying stages. On average, Harbinger completes 230 retrofit installs for this client per month. Through Harbinger’s national network of local installers, the project is rolling out state-by-state.
Each retrofit is custom fit per location. The process begins with an on-site survey of the sign cabinet at the store location. Even though the client often has standard-size cabinets, the particular size must be verified. Back at the manufacturing facility, Harbinger cuts the Q Strips, wire and necessary parts to size, adds the LED lights to the strip and connects the power supply. The fully assembled lighting kits are then packaged and shipped out to the installer with precise installation instructions created by Harbinger. The instructions include both written steps and graphic depictions to ensure the on-site retrofit is implemented correctly and efficiently.
Harbinger has completed more than 75 percent of the installs to date, with each install being on time or ahead of schedule. In addition to staying on schedule, our client is pleased to start reducing its energy costs per sign by up to 80 percent with consistently lit brand identification signs.
One of the most crucial elements of sign installation is not the sign (although that is crucial too) — it’s the permit. Every municipality and county has different signage guidelines and regulations. Therefore, a signage partner must have the experience and processes in place to navigate the complexities of permitting on your behalf.
Best practices include:
- Maintaining a library or database of the various regulations
- Assigning a specific project manager to oversee the entire process from permitting through sign installation
- Verifying regulations to ensure new laws or amendments are considered
- Gathering the application information and submitting appropriate paperwork; if several permits are needed within the same geographic area, applying for them all at once
- Presenting in front of design and/or review committees, if needed
Depending on the type of sign and the locality regulations, sign permits can take as little as one day to as long as six weeks to get processed and approved. A reliable sign partner also will help manage expectations and maintain an accurate project timeline to ensure installation deadlines are met.
Harbinger was featured in the September 2010 issue of Signs of the Times magazine about how the company's green initiatives have helped sales grow threefold.
In our 48-year history, we’ve always worked to stay on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Part of that effort is our emphasis on green initiatives. Our decision to use green products in our signage and implement green-friendly lean manufacturing has touched every aspect of our business, helping Harbinger provide high quality signage and greatly increasing our sales.
Read the full story at Lean and Green.