Blog - A sustainable alternative to illuminated signage

Our society is increasingly demanding sustainable alternatives to existing products. In this blog, we are reflecting on a sustainable alternative to illuminated signage. But what do we mean by sustainability? According to us, a sustainable product is:
  • Energy efficient
  • Using renewable energy (from the sun, wind or water)
  • Made of circular (reusable) materials
  • Environmentally conscious in use

Many brands use illuminated signage to show who they are and where they are located. Therefore, illuminated signs are an important part of your brand identity. With the arrival of LED, this type of signage has become more sustainable, although we can do much better.

Facade signage without an additional light source
How nice would it be if you could install your signage anywhere, without having to worry about cords, wiring and the connection to the power grid? This will soon be possible thanks to the Smart Panel. Together with Parthian Technology and ItoM, we are developing a composite (composed of various synthetic materials) that is luminous by means of electro-luminescence. Electromewhat? In short, it comes down to a material that lights up when an electric current passes through, so you don't need an additional light source. If you combine this material with a PV film to instantly use solar energy, then you have a wireless illuminated sign.

Schematic representation of the Smart Panel
Fig. 1 - A schematic representation of the Smart Panel

Sustainable illuminated signs
OK, that is convenient, but how is this sustainable? First of all, a Smart Panel uses very little electricity and the energy it uses comes from the sun. Apart from the sustainability aspect of that, it will also help you save on your electricity bill. In addition, the composite used is completely reusable. The Smart Panel is also much less susceptible to external influences because it is a closed system.

By providing the system with smart techniques, it can indicate when maintenance is needed. This makes the annual maintenance routine unnecessary, which saves time and fuel. In this way, the Smart Panel is also environmentally conscious in use and, as a bonus, prevents unnecessary maintenance costs.

Smart panel vs. LED signage
The composite we’ve developed for the Smart Panel is lightweight and can be made in any desired thickness. So what are the differences between the Smart Panel and LED signage? Except that it is more durable and does not have to be connected to an external energy source, there is an important difference in appearance. Traditional signage emits light, while with the Smart Panel the material itself lights up. This effect is similar to glow-in-the-dark but without fading out. Especially in areas with a lot of illuminated signs, using the Smart Panel results in a significant reduction in light pollution.

Development of Smart Branding
The Smart Panel is a result of the Smart Branding Project in which RGN brand identity services collaborates with Parthian Technology and ItoM. This project is partly funded with a contribution from the European Fund for Regional Development.

Curious about the developments of the Smart Panel? The demonstration model will be ready by the end of 2018 and we expect to introduce the Smart Panel to the market in 2019. If you want to know more about sustainable forms of branding, please contact Ruud Koetsier.