The Impact of Neon Signs on Your Electricity Usage: A Comparison with Other Light Sources

How much electricity does neon lighting require? With the rising energy costs, this question is becoming increasingly relevant.

Illuminated logos and letters are usually the most important elements of branding identity and interior design concepts. It is not possible to simply switch off the lights to save electricity. For all that, illuminated advertising serves a crucial purpose that cannot be measured based on economic cost-benefit analysis.

It is nonetheless sensible to have an overview of the power consumption of LED-based products and neon tubes. We will make use of concrete examples to help find the root of the issue and compare our findings to ordinary household appliances.

Consumption of power for LED Neon

LED neon advertising is described as energy efficient. Most of the electrical energy is used directly to create light, which means that in addition to power consumption, heat production is quite minimal, in contrast to traditional light bulbs.

LED neon Flex is available in a voltage of 12-24 volts with a service life exceeding 50 years. LED-based products usually require only one transformer (power supply units).

The process of calculating the power consumption of a LED neon sign is not difficult, and you don’t require an academic degree in maths or engineering. You just need the following parameters: the power measured in watts (W) and the length of all LED tubes that are used in meters (m) as well as the time of operation in hours (h).

It is sensible to estimate the energy consumption per hour to be capable of extrapolating to longer periods later. The power consumption average for LED neon is around 9 Watts per square meter (W/m). A logo or lettering that is 5m long will consume 45 watts an hour. 9W/mx5mx1h = 45 W/h, which is 0.045 Kilowatt Hours.

Then you can calculate the power consumption for the months and years. This is in addition to how long the LED neon light stays on during the night. Let’s say that the hypothetical LED logo illuminates for eight hours per day.

Example 1: LED Neon “Ick bin een Berliner Original”

Adidas Flagship Store Berlin

Let’s illustrate this mathematical calculation by demonstrating it with a concrete instance such as this LED neon pre-mounted on Dibond plates, which we created for an upcoming Berlin Adidas flagship store that will open in 2020.

The illuminated sign measures 200x50cm in total. The LED neon tubes measure 6m in length.

Let’s now assume that the neon sign is in use for ten hours seven days per week.

This LED neon consumes an average of around 168 kW per year in energy. The more precise you can calculate the cost and the demand, the more straightforward it is.

Glass Neon’s power consumption

The energy usage of “classic” neon tubes, i.e. neon products made up of bent glass tubes is a bit more difficult to estimate than LED neon. The total length of the tubes is not the only factor. It is also important to look at the thickness of the tubes (between 8 to 18mm), the capacity of the transformer model, the number of transformers required, and the number and kind of systems (individual elements of the neon). The issue of how much power is used by neon tubes is difficult to answer.

Example 2. Glass Neon Credit Card

N26 Office Berlin

Let’s look at another example of neon in Classic Blue which has been adorning the Berlin office of N26 since 2021.

For the operation of the neon (which measures approximately. 100x 65cm, and is composed of seven glass components.

At this point, we spare us the list of the complete solution path because, for a realistic estimation beyond the quantity and length of the connecting cables connecting the systems, it must also be taken into consideration in addition that there is a kind of “voltage curve” using glass neon. The voltage settles at 60 percent of its maximum power after a while because neon transformers self-regulate. In this case, we arrive at the energy content to be around 0.29 kWh. Assuming that the neon is on for 8 hours every weekday, it would result in an annual average of 603 kWh.

The result is not generalizable. The exact power consumption depends heavily on the size and style of the particular neon sign.

Neon’s power consumption in comparison

Which devices consume the most electricity?

Below, we’ll take look at some common household appliances that can help you understand energy demands.

All figures are estimations. The actual power consumption will be contingent on the model’s size and efficiency in energy use as well as the frequency at which you wash the laundry. Washing laundry three times each week will be more effective than one wash cycle.

  • Laptop: For an averagely equipped notebook, it is possible to estimate an annual average of 15 to 22 kWh.
  • Dishwasher: An approximate 60cm long dishwasher (multi-person household) is estimated to use 70 to 80 kWh per year.
  • Refrigerator: A fridge of medium size in the highest energy efficiency class can consume as much as the equivalent of 125 kWh per year.
  • Washing machine The majority of commercially sold washing machines use 200 kWh per year.
  • Television: A flatscreen model with a 55-inch screen diagonal uses approximately 225 kWh of power each year.

With 129.6kWh The LED neon above is at the middle of the range. If you now consider that the majority of household appliances mentioned here are only used sporadically and a neon sign is typically in use for longer periods it is a sign of an energy-efficient product.

Bonus question: Do dim (LED) neons use less power?

The simple answer is yes. The simple answer is yes. But beware: there are dimming or control systems into which an illuminated sign can be integrated, which require electricity for operation. You should be aware of this before installing. But, aside from that, the power consumption of dimmed (LED) neons is lower.

We provide dimming using the remote control and a controller for our LED neon products. It is possible to select this option in the LED Neon Configurator.

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Glass neons can be dimmed manually. dimming by hand can be achieved by turning a rotary on the power supply. It is also possible to select the dimmable transformer in the Neoconfiguration.

With this insight into the power consumption of neon and LED neon sign, we hope that we have brought some light into the darkness!

More information about our products is on our Neon product page and our Product Catalog. If you have questions regarding a product, please get in touch with our team.

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