You know how LED lights came along and ultimately overtook incandescent lights, making the traditional bulbs irrelevant?
The story of glass media blasting versus sandblasting isn’t all that different.
For years, sandblasting was the go-to method for restoring various surfaces. But more recently, other forms of media blasting – like glass media blasting, soda blasting and hydro blasting – came along and knocked sandblasting off its perch.
With that, the industry-standard was changed, and sandblasting was made obsolete.
Much like LEDs presented customers with a far superior experience than standard incandescent lights, glass media blasting is not only safer than sandblasting, but also more effective and environmentally sound.
Sandblasting is the process of propelling a stream of abrasive silica sand against a surface under high pressure. The stream's forcefulness peppers the glass to etch or clean the target surface.
In some cases, the term sandblasting is used as a catch-all for all forms of media blasting. However, media blasting professionals tend to discourage this use, since it ignores the significant differences between sandblasting and other abrasive blasting media - which we’ll talk more about in the sections below.
The abrasive material used in sandblasting, namely sand, contains crystalline silica. Inhaling crystalline silica which can result in dangerous respiratory diseases like silicosis, a fibrosis of the lungs.
This condition, also known as dust lung, can be caused by the sand debris breaking down into even smaller particles, which get inhaled.
Because of this, responsible media blasting companies have turned away from sandblasting in favour of safer, cleaner methods, like crushed glass media blasting.
What is Crushed Glass Media Blasting?
Crushed glass media blasting is used by many to restore walls, fences, or to strip paint/rust from a car, and bring commercial properties back to life. It's an excellent, efficient tool for ridding buildings of old paint, grease, graffiti, and rust!
The process involves compressed air that propels a combination of crushed glass and water against an object's surface. Dust is eliminated by the water while the surface is stripped by the glass.
Here’s why this blasting method is faster, gentler, safer, cleaner, and more sustainable than sandblasting!
1. A Time-Efficient Restoration Method
When your beautiful property has become inundated with rust or graffiti, it becomes about a thousand-times less appealing to customers. It's a situation that must be handled pronto!
Crushed glass media blasting will answer this need for quick and practical work, as it cuts through rust, paint, and oil like a hot knife through butter. Blasting an entire building can be completed in what seems, relatively, like the blink of an eye!
2. Removing the Nasty Chemicals from the Equation
If you hired someone to sandblast or strip a surface with chemicals, you’d likely have to shut the area down for a day for safety and potentially lose out on revenue. With crushed glass media blasting, harmful chemicals aren’t a factor, so you can get back to business as usual as quickly as possible!
The environmentally friendly nature of this method also makes it safe to use around plants, water and wildlife, so you won’t have to worry about the Ministry getting on your case.
3. Sustainable and Economic
Crushed glass media blasting is sustainable through and through. The crushed glass used in media blasting is made from recycled bottles, giving these materials a second useful life - plus, it can be collected and used over and over again without letting anything go to waste!
4. Provides a Finish that Speaks for Itself
Let’s face it. Sustainability, safety, and convenience don't amount to much if the finished product doesn't look all that appealing! As a business owner, you know it's not good enough to just remove graffiti or rust—you need something that truly makes your building stand out.
The good news is, when you hire someone to crush glass media blast your property, you'll be blown away by the professional finish!
5. Keeps The Underlying Surface Safe from Damage
Don't be fooled by crushed glass media blasting's take-no-prisoners approach with dirt, grime and graffiti. When it comes to the underlying surfaces, the process is utterly harmless. Crushed glass media blasting does just enough to bring back the original appearance of wood, concrete, fibreglass, and stainless-steel surfaces.
You won’t have to worry about any further blemishes caused by the blasting. It strictly fixes without creating any additional issues!
Out with the Old and In with the New
When it comes time to restore your property's surfaces, you don’t have to think twice about the method of choice. Crushed glass media blasting gives you so much more than sandblasting! Reach out to us online or call us at 1-877-884-9950 to book your media blasting call today!
If you’re part of the decision-making process for a retail store, we have a vital message:
Stop sleeping on your signage!
Signs can play a critical role in your overall success with brand recognition, identity, and revenue. If you’ve put in the work that goes into creating a profitable business model, but you’ve neglected your retail signage, you aren’t giving your store every chance to succeed!
To be precise, there are three distinct ways signs can help to skyrocket your sales in the retail space:
Bring in new customers.
Generate more sales.
Help customers find their way around a store.
Let’s take a closer examination of why designing your signs with a strategic approach is critical to your overall success!
1. Signs Bring in New Customers
Did you know that 50% of potential customers will drive by and not find a business because the signage was either small or unclear?
That statistic alone is reason enough to pay specific attention to the design of your signs!
You could miss out on starting a lifelong relationship with a customer just because your retail signage didn’t stand out or send the right message. If you assess the lifetime value of a customer, that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars per person over a sustained period.
Then, multiply that by how many other customers aren’t visiting your store because of a poorly conceived sign…the missed opportunities missed will keep you up at night.
But let’s not strictly focus on the negative here. People who never would have known about your store otherwise can be directed there via effective retail signage!
Also, signs have a way to reinforce brand awareness even if they’re well established. There’s research citing that 35% to 46% of first-time customers learn about a well-known business because they saw a commercial sign in passing!
2. Signs Generate More Sales
Look at your signage as the first layer in your sales and marketing strategy.
When you get more people coming into your store, with appealing products and top-notch customer service, sales will increase exponentially.
It’s the natural flow of things. You can’t sell your products or services to keep those profit margins soaring if nobody’s visiting you!
Your messaging design gets people into the door, so they can be given a chance to fall in love with your retail business. In proving this point, sales increased from 2.5% to 7.1% when stores installed signage to sides of buildings that were previously without such messaging!
It’s a direct correlation and proves why store owners and leaders need to put significant amounts of energy into the design and written communications on signs.
There’s further research delving deep into how much a store’s signage impacts overall sales. There was a study from the University of San Diego on behalf of the California Electric Sign Association and the International Sign Association. Those involved ascertained that there was a 4.75% boost in annual sales for businesses that added one sign.
Now, imagine you’re earning $1,000,000 in overall revenue per year. One commercial sign could help generate $47,500 more in sales. From there, imagine if you add two or three new signs and the impact it could have!
3. Signs Help Customers Find their Way
Not only do signs help people arrive at your store, but they’re also integral to helping your customers once they’re on the premises.
Useful signage throughout your establishment can help people find departments and products they wouldn’t see without it.
Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer and think about all the times you’ve been at a store and given up finding a product because it was too confusing. Designing clear wayfinding signs mitigates that issue, ensuring a seamless shopping experience!
This kind of sign-related strategy can encourage customers to purchase items they weren’t initially planning to buy. There have been studies stating the around 50% of impulse purchases stem from wayfinding signs pointing customers to one location throughout a store.
Beyond that, you should contemplate the entirety of the customer experience at your store. It doesn’t begin and end with the products or services you’re selling!
As such, wayfinding signs are ideal when directing customers to amenities like parking, entrances, checkout, and customer service areas. Such measures alleviate much of the stress that can be prevalent while shopping, especially in a busy store (as yours will be with all your new signs!)
Taking This Blog Seriously is a Positive Sign
We understand that with all the moving parts that go into running your retail store, some aspects of your strategy can fall by the wayside.
However, some strategies are far too integral to your success to be overlooked – such as ensuring you have effective signage. There’s an exponential chance for growth and success when leveraging the value of well-designed signs.
Smart, well-designed signage can do many good things at once.
Truly great signage can send the right message while at the same time reinforcing your brand and giving your clients or customers a better experience.
But here’s the thing…a sign can’t do much of anything if it’s not nailing its most basic function: communication. Readability should be priority number one!
All your graphics and signage, from pole and pylon signs to awnings and window graphics, must be clear and readable. That all comes down to key features like font size, colour, choice of type, sign placement, and lighting conditions.
Don’t leave all the work to architects and brand experts – work with an experienced sign fabricator and installer who knows the fundamentals of creating an effective commercial sign!
2. Minimize Clutter
Successful signage strikes a balance between quality and quantity.
Sure, you want to give yourself the best chance to get your message out there – and that means strategically placing different signs in different locations. You’ll want a tall, permanent pole-mounted sign to catch the attention of drivers, of course. You might also place smaller, temporary lawn signs to draw attention to sales and draw in foot traffic.
Trouble is, temporary lawn signs, posters and other promotional material can easily become distractions. When you have too many signs, you run the risk of “watering down” and reducing the impact of your main signage.
This is exactly the reason why most major franchisors lay down the law with their franchisees, placing strict guidelines on the use of small, temporary promotional signage!
In other words, you shouldn’t clutter up every inch of your real estate with signage. Focus your attention on creating high-quality permanent signage and go easy on the temporary ones!
3. Make Signage Part of Your Management Practices
“If you want design excellence, you need to reward it.”
Successful retail and restaurant brands take sign design and deployment seriously! The higher-ups at Buffalo Wild Wings see the value in giving each location the right look and “feel” and treat it as integral from the ground up.
To that end, staff at the company are held accountable for signage and rewarded for a job well done.
Successful retailers are built on community outreach, and one of the best ways to foster customer loyalty is to match your signage to the character and scale of the neighbourhood.
In other words, it pays to fit in!
No one likes it when a business rolls into town and sticks out like a sore thumb. On the other hand, storefronts that make the effort to belong to (or even enhance) the area earn customer goodwill from day one.
The success of this approach to signage is clear in places like Uptown Waterloo and Downtown St. Jacob’s, where successful business use a variety of electric signs, awnings, window graphics, wall murals and other displays in harmony with the historical character.
This is why it always pays to work with a local sign contractor who knows the community (and any applicable sign regulations) inside and out.
5. Use Quality Materials
We get it: retailing is a cost-sensitive business. Sometimes, it feels like a race to the bottom.
Many franchisors and developers have a reputation for putting cost-savings over quality whenever they can be found. Unfortunately, that often includes the quality of their commercial signage.
But leading companies know the value in effective signage – and understand that investing in quality materials will yield a higher return on their investment in the long run. They also establish relationships with qualified sign fabricators who take a role in the development process.
Get the Most Out of Your Sign Investment
Remember: your commercial signage is the first impression most people get of your business.
An effective, clear, and well-designed sign is one of the best investments you can make in getting people through the door.
We’re here to help you get the most value out of all your commercial lighting and signage. Call Sign LITE for fabrication and installation of illuminated and non-illuminated signs for your Southwestern Ontario business. Our certified technicians are also standing by to repair and service your existing on-site signage quickly and effectively.
Admit it: you did a double-take when you opened your hydro bill last month.
These days, who doesn’t? For many Ontario businesses, utilities are consistently near the top of operating expenses.
That’s why it’s become increasingly important to lower your energy consumption in all areas ‒ including your signage.
Should You Retrofit Your Sign With LED Lighting?
The good news is, the sign industry has stepped up to meet your energy reduction demands.
Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and strip lights can drastically reduce what you spend on your indoor and outdoor commercial signage. And thanks to LED sign retrofits, you don’t have to invest in a whole new sign box or cabinet to do it.
Still, when your goal is to cut costs, you’ve really got to consider whether investing in any kind of sign upgrade ‒ even a basic retrofit ‒ is really worth the money.
Sign LITE has completed commercial sign retrofits and installations across Ontario.
Truth be told, without knowing about your business, we can’t say for certain whether an LED retrofit is right for you.
We can only share what we’ve seen firsthand in our experience as sign installation and service technicians.
Sign LITE has been servicing business owners across Southwestern Ontario for the last 40 years – since before LED signage was really even an option. We basically had front-row seats to watch LED lighting technology evolve!
Today, we routinely help businesses achieve savings of hundreds, even thousands of dollars in annual energy costs through LED lighting and sign retrofits.
Here is why, by the numbers, LED sign retrofit is well worth the investment.
1. LED Signs Operate at 80% Efficiency
All forms of lighting (including fluorescent tubes, LEDs and neon) turn some of their energy into heat instead of light. However, LED lamps are engineered to minimize energy waste as much as possible.
A sign box or cabinet retrofitted with LED lights will convert at least 80% of its energy into light, generating the same amount of light at less than 50% of the operating cost of traditional fluorescent tube lights.
At a cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of 20.8 cents (the on-peak rate for small businesses as of January 2020), the difference between fluorescent and LED lights is around 236.52 watts, meaning you could save $49 a year for every light you retrofit.
Sign LITE services outdoor and indoor commercial signage, like this brilliant sign at a food court in Ontario.
3. LED Lights Have a Lifespan of Over 25,000 Hours
Of all the light sources available for commercial signage, LED signs last longer and deliver the best long-term performance by a mile. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours, with low-end LEDs offering up to 25,000 hours and the top-rated bulbs lasting 200,000 or more. This impressive lifespan means you’ll go far longer between fixture and lamp replacements than with fluorescents!
Newer fluorescent tubes have a much longer lifespan than their predecessors, but even the high-performance products tend to need replacement after 15,000 hours’ use. Fluorescent lights also lose efficiency with age, requiring more current is required to achieve the same lighting output.
Although LEDs do lose efficiency as current and heat output increase, the drop is relatively low compared to fluorescents, so you can hold off on replacing LEDs for longer.
5. An LED Sign Retrofit Can Be Complete in Just a Few Hours
Don’t believe it? Check out this video of a technician installing an LED sign kit in under an hour. Better yet, you’ll see how it compares to a fluorescent sign installation!
Many existing fluorescent sign cabinets use T12 lamps, which lends itself to a fast, one-to-one LED retrofit. Signs comprised of individual channel letters can also be populated with LEDs. No two signs are exactly alike, but there’s always a solution ‒ and often, it can be said and done in an afternoon.
Another job well done. Canada's most trusted brands trust Sign LITE for sign service and installation!
Learn More About LED Sign Retrofits
Reducing operating costs requires some tough business decisions, but this is one decision that won’t keep you up at night! Switching to LED sign lights is easy, and it can save you hundreds or even thousands in sign repairs and maintenance costs.
Sign LITE has a modern fleet of vehicles and equipment ready to service your commercial sign in Southwestern Ontario. Our certified technicians are capable and qualified to retrofit your signage quickly and effectively.
Illuminated signs are fixtures of our modern city landscapes. It’s hard to imagine life without them! But few among us really stop to think about what it costs to keep those beacons alight 365 days a year.
Granted, sign lighting usually isn’t the biggest drain on your monthly expenses. Thanks to solid-state lighting, the overall energy footprint of electric signs is fairly insignificant.
Still, every illuminated sign you install at your locations does add to your overhead. We can help you keep those costs as low as possible ‒ without compromising on the beauty and effectiveness of your signage.
Here are several ways to reduce what you spend on operating your electric signs!
Call a sign lighting professional for help fine-tuning signs at your location. Not only could it reduce your hydro bill, but it’ll ensure your sign gets noticed for the right reasons!
2. Get an Energy-Saving LED Retrofit
The promise of brighter, more efficient LEDs has encouraged their use in all sorts of outdoor lighting applications, including parking lot lighting and backlit signs.
In fact, sign manufacturers have been leaders in championing the adoption of LEDs! By the time LED lamps became widely available in the mid-2000s, we’d already been using solid-state lighting for over a decade.
Today, LED lighting is often the single most energy-efficient options available for commercial signage by far. LED bulbs last 25 longer and use 75% less energy than fluorescent bulbs.
Not ready to replace your signage outright? We can retrofit your single or double-sided sign cabinets on-site. Call us to get an LED sign retrofit quotation!
3. Install Illuminated Sign Controls
Chances are, you’ve got some type of automated control system for your exterior lighting already, like an on/off timer based on the time of day. But what about your illuminated signage?
You wouldn’t wait until something goes catastrophically wrong to get your car serviced, would you? Don’t let it happen to your illuminated signage either! Preventative maintenance is crucial.
Treat your signage as an investment, The more you keep up with scheduled service, the longer your sign is likely to last ‒ and the less likely it is incur unexpected repair costs. Proactive maintenance could save you a lot of money over the course of its lifetime.
As an added bonus, Sign LITE provides our customers with our innovative Night Watch program at no extra cost! This involves a regular, after dark inspection of your location and a next day report of any locations that need attention. It’s the easiest way to identify quick repairs before unnecessary (and often costly) problems develop!
This is one of the simplest and fastest ways to cut your costs down a notch, Obviously, a sign that’s covered in dirt, grime and cobwebs doesn’t shine nearly as bright as it should!
By some estimates, cleaning up your outdoor lighting (including illuminated signage) van make them 20-30% brighter at no additional cost whatsoever.
Always follow the steps outlined in your sign’s maintenance manual when it comes to cleaning. Be careful, as the surface could suffer damage from certain cleaning chemicals. When in doubt, just contact a sign lighting service professional!
Your sign is the first impression of your business. A well-functioning, energy-efficient sign is money in the bank! To learn more about keeping your sign at its best, contact the service professionals at Sign LITE today.
On the other hand...there are times where it makes more sense to retire an old sign that’s showing its age.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re torn between sign repair and replacement. And if you’re still undecided, you can always reach out to a certified technician for a qualified opinion on your specific case!
There’s no denying it: clients and customers tend to judge a book by its cover. Your primary signage is one of the first things people notice about your business. When a sign falls into neglect, people might assume you’re going through hard times or worse, that you’ve gone out of business. A few dents and scratches may not make a difference, but a long-dead lightbulb or rust definitely will!
Having your sign serviced should do the trick, but if the signage is too far gone, it is well worth investing in a replacement. Your business depends on it!
Your Sign vs. Your Image
Of course your signage should reflect your current colours, logo and message. Minor changes to your brand might not necessitate a new sign, so long as it’s still recognizable. But when you’re already debating between repair and replacement, a change of branding is a big point in favour of the latter!
Concerned about an old, electric sign affecting your hydro bill? You could start saving yourself a lot of money on utilities by having it retrofitted. There are numerous retrofit options available for various kinds of electric signs, and it’ll likely cost less than having the whole thing replaced outright.
Some types of electric signage are just too outdated to service or repair efficiently, especially if the necessary parts are no longer available. A decades-old sign could very well cost more to repair than it would to replace. However, there may be retrofit options available that will bring it up to speed with modern technology while preserving the vintage look.
As times change, so do sign bylaws. If you know there are some more restrictive rules coming down the line, you might consider foregoing your annual service and replacing your signage to align with the new bylaws now. The opposite might also be true: maybe a change in bylaws has unlocked the opportunity to upgrade to bigger signage.
Need Sign Service or Replacement?
Whether you’re looking to have a sign repaired or have your heart set on replacement, it’s always worth speaking to a certified technician for a qualified opinion! We’ve been helping Southwestern Ontario businesses with illuminated and non-illuminated signs for over 40 years. Get in touch to learn more about our sign repair, retrofit and new sign manufacturing services.
Follow the steps outlined in your sign’s maintenance manual to clean off any dirt, grime, insects, cobwebs or other contaminants. Don’t assume that any old cleaner will do ‒ the material could react badly and suffer damage from certain cleaning chemicals. When in doubt, you can always call a signage professional.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it, and it’s much easier done in the fall than in winter!
2. Replace Burned Out Bulbs
Swap out your dim or flickering bulbs before the temperature falls! As winter gets closer and the days get longer, you’ll need your electric sign to shine as bright as can be.
Mounting a ladder to replace burnt-out lamps requires a great deal of care and caution at any time of year. Doing it in the winter, when surfaces are slippery and the cold nips your fingers, only adds to the risk of injuries and broken bulbs.
3. Repaint, Reseal and Refresh
Notice a few spots where the paint has chipped or the colour has faded? The nasty weather only accelerate this kind of deterioration, adding to the expense of touching up your sign next spring.
Now’s the best time to deal with any chips, cracks or faded areas and apply a new coat of weatherproof seal to protect your signage from snow and ice.
By the way...have you noticed condensation building up inside your electric sign? Has it taken on water during the last few rainfalls? Then it’s definitely time to look at having the sign resealed, too.
Once winter comes, any moisture inside the sign will freeze, expand and unfreeze as the temperature swings.
4. Protect Your Electric Sign from Power Surges
Between fallen branches, heavy wind and road accidents, the odds of power lines arcing this winter is high. This increases the risk of a nearby power surge, which can take out your sign’s electrical components in an instant.
Make sure your signage is properly grounded and equipped with surge protection.
5. Inspect the Structure from Top to Bottom
If recent history has taught us anything, it’s to never underestimate winter’s wrath.
We’ve been through a series of particularly nasty storms the past few winters in Ontario that have ripped trees from their roots and snapped huge branches like twigs. You don’t want your sign getting caught in that kind of weather if it’s in poor condition to begin with. Remember: you could be in a lot of hot water if your sign breaks loose in heavy winds and damages someone’s property.
Before the ground is covered with snow, have your signage inspected from top to bottom by a sign service professional. This will include checking for broken or loose fittings, replacing rusty chains and wires, and ensuring the sign is fully secured to its structure.
Have Your Sign Serviced This Fall
Your outdoor signs are a major business investment. Not only does it project your image out into the world, but it carries a hefty price, too! Having your sign serviced today can save you a lot of work next spring.
Sign LITE has a modern fleet of vehicles and qualified technicians standing by to service your on-site signage. Call us or contact us online to book your fall service appointment today.!
The sign for your business is one of the most important elements of your property.
Your sign is the first impression, the introduction to your company. A clean and pristine sign gives the impression of a quality business with quality products.
Not only does it help build your brand awareness but it actually is passively marketing for you. Based on a FedEx survey, 8 out of 10 people went into a new store purely based on the fact that they like the signage.
If your sign isn’t what it used to be, it’s time to change that! Learn how to make your electrical sign look brand new!
1. Make it Safe
Safety is the number one most important thing when dealing with electric signs.
Make sure the area is secure, away from any pedestrians, with a roped off area. Ensure there is enough space to get the job done safely for you and everyone else.
2. Preparing the Sign
It’s now time to get our hands dirty!
Remove the components necessary to ensure everything is accessible. This would include:
Hardware and brackets
Exterior frames and panels
By doing this step, you give complete access to the nooks and crannies of the sign that you normally couldn’t get at. This guarantees the most thorough clean.
During the dismantling process, it’s important to take the time to inspect the components of the sign. If any are in disrepair, now’s the time to fix them or replace them.
Not only will this extra step save you time but it will also save money. You can catch any problems before they become hazardous or beyond repair. It is recommended that you check:
These components in particular are offenders of wearing down over time from the elements.
3. Cleaning the Sign
Let’s make that sign sparkle!
Often times, dirt and grim is not just on the surface, it’s also inside the sign giving it a cloudy appearance. So, scrub the interior and exterior of the sign for the best results.
When cleaning any sign, it is recommended that you use a soft cloth and gently wash with lukewarm water using an up and down motion. For drying, to prevent water spotting, use a soft microfiber cloth.
You should never use paper towels, brushes or squeegees, these products may cause scratching to the sign’s surface.
One of the most common signs of an aging sign is the quality of the paint. One way of maintaining the paint of your sign is through the use of wax.
It not only will slow down the weathering process but it will also slow down the general aging of paint. We recommend you use one of the following approved waxes: Johnson Paste Wax, Turtle Wax, or Meguiar Glaze.
4. Installation of New Lights
One of the best parts of a new electrical sign is the brand new set of lights that are installed with it. It completely transforms the look and feel of the sign when all the lights are completely uniform.
If you want to make your sign look brand new again, changing the lights can take your sign to the next level.
It also ensures that there is no flickering or outages anytime soon, so you won’t have to worry for a while. It may even be beneficial to drive by your property at night to check out how the lights are doing.
5. Finishing Touches
Your sign has undergone a major makeover, so it’s about time we show that off!
Reassemble your brand new sign and make sure all the brackets, frames, and hardware are nicely secure. Loose bolts or damages frames from severe weather is one of the most common issues with signs!
Now take a step back to admire.
6. Bonus Tip: Graffiti Removal
It is recommended for the best results to treat any graffiti that occurs within the first 24 hours.
You want to use the least harsh product possible for the sign to prevent damage. Begin with a mild and nonabrasive solvent and if that does not remove the product, move up the line to harsher products.
The following products, ordered from least intense to most, are suggested for removing graffiti:
Any product that goes on the sign should be tested on a small area that won’t affect the overall picture. Once you know the product will remove the graffiti, work from the top down using a soft cloth.
Sign maintenance can be a very daunting but important task for your business. We’d love to make this job as easy as possible for you! Get in touch with us today for a free quote and learn how we can make this a seamless process. We want you to have the perfect sign!
Fifteen years ago, you might not have thought twice about keeping the lights on 24/7.
Today, lighting doesn’t come as cheap.
For many facilities, lighting can account for a whopping 40% of the total energy costs. That adds up quickly to the tune of thousands of dollars a month...and the price of energy in Ontario continues to rise.
What can you do about it?
Well, the most effective way to knock down your lighting costs would be to replace your existing fluorescent or metal halide lights with brand-new, ultra-efficient LED replacement fixtures. But we know that’s not something you can do on a whim. It requires planning and approval from your directors – not to mention the capital outlay.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to squeeze some efficiency out of your existing exterior fixtures and luminaries. Some of these strategies are easier and more cost-effective than others…but all can help to save energy, reduce your lighting costs and make your existing lights more efficient today.
Give Your Exterior Lights a Good Clean
Outdoor wall packs and pole lights are exposed to traffic, dust, bird droppings, insects and all manner of nasty weather. Cobwebs build up in the fixtures, and the luminaires themselves pick up a layer of dirt over time.
In other words, exterior lights get dirty.
There are two problems with this. First, dirt can reduce the efficiency of LEDs and various gas lamps by impeding the heat transfer process. Second, dirt can cut down the light’s output – the dirtier the lamp, the less illumination it can provide.
Sure, the rain does help to wash some of it this dirt away, but you can’t count on Mother Nature to keep your exterior lights in peak condition. It pays to have them cleaned. Cleaning your exterior lamps, light bulbs and light fixtures regularly will enhance their light output and help to ensure they’re performing as efficiently as possible.
If you’re not sure how to go about cleaning your exterior lights safely (different manufacturers will recommend different cleaning methods and products), you can always call a professional!
Install Lighting Controls
You know to switch off the lights before you leave the room. It’s just common sense.
Motion sensors to switch off lights in empty rooms
Photosensors to detect the current level of natural light in the room and dim the lights accordingly
Timers to switch the lights on/off or reduce lighting levels at pre-set times, such as after closing time
But what if you can’t change your existing infrastructure? Adding a hardwired control system to your existing outdoor lights can be expensive. Depending on your facility, it might even be impossible.
In that case, it’s possible you could still benefit from a wireless lighting control system. Instead of hardwiring each of your lights to controllers and sensors, a wireless system can relay commands between these devices wirelessly.
Eliminate Unnecessary Spill Light
Have you ever had a neighbour install ultra-bright lights that floods the whole neighbourhood?
Even if you haven’t dealt with it personally, you’ve probably heard from someone who has. Light pollution is a common nuisance in urban areas and commercial/industrial facilities are a common culprit. That’s why most municipalities have bylaws on the issue, particularly when it comes to parking lot lighting.
What you might not realize is that creating light pollution also costs you. Think about it. Every dollar you spend producing light you don’t need – whether it’s illuminating empty space or spilling onto a neighbour’s property – is money wasted.
If your outdoor wall lights or parking lot lighting strays beyond areas that need to be lit, consider retrofitting the fixtures with shielding. Shielding is generally classified by the ‘cutoff’ level, which refers to the amount of light that will shine above a 90-degree angle from the fixture. A semi-cut-off fixture will allow no more than 5% of the rated light output to spill, while a full cut-off fixture will eliminate it entirely.
Find Your Ideal Retrofit Solution
You might not be ready to upgrade your current lighting infrastructure today – but you shouldn’t wait forever. It’s no secret that upgrading to energy-efficient sources like LEDs is the most powerful way to reduce your company’s lighting expenses. Today’s LED technology can provide you impeccable colour rendition, very high efficiency and incredible longevity – and require less maintenance than fluorescent or high-pressure sodium lamps.
Looking to restore your wood, brick, concrete, stone, glass or metal surface?
Media blasting is an excellent choice to restore surfaces that have been damaged due to rust, calcium deposits, fungus and mildew, graffiti, or fire and smoke. It’s a great way to strip paint or rust from car parts in no time at all. Media blasting uses pressurized air to blast tiny pieces of material (media) out of a nozzle at a target surface.
Choosing the right blasting media for your restoration project is an extremely important decision since the wrong medium can severely damage the surface you’re working on. The rule of thumb for media blasting is to use the gentlest abrasive possible with the lowest pressure necessary to get the job done delivering a smooth even finish on your target material.
When choosing your blasting media consider its:
Particle size, and
When in doubt, it’s best to start with a gentle blasting media and work your way up to something more powerful. Pumice, corn cob grit, or walnut shells are cheap, environment-friendly, one-time use mediums. Any of these natural media are effective at cleaning fragile material.
Corn cob grit is the softest of the naturally occurring abrasives making it an ideal choice for cleaning and burnishing applications. Commonly used for jewelry, cutlery, engine parts, fiberglass and the removal of graffiti or debris from wood, brick or stone.
Aluminum Oxide is composed from small grains that have a block-like shape with hard angular edges. These long-lasting, sharp, cutting edges are very efficient at penetrating work pieces such as metals, glass, ceramic, marble, granite or other stone surfaces. It is a good media for fast etching and profiling jobs.
Aluminum Oxide is also a great material for stripping rust off from metals with minimal dust atmosphere. But because it can leave a coarse finish, it is not the best choice for work on automobiles and other vehicles.
Glass or Plastic Beads
One of the most versatile blast media available are glass beads. These small spheres of uniform size and hardness can remove substances from any base surface delivering a soft, smooth satin type finish with minimal stress. It is well suited for stainless steel applications.
Glass beads can also be reused for up to 100 more blasting applications making them a very cost-effective choice.
Safe, clean and eco-friendly, bead blast is the most effective choice to remove fungus, and stubborn calcium and mineral deposits from swimming pool tiles. It also does a great job of removing old paint from automobiles.
Acrylic, polyester, melamine or urea plastic beads are also a great alternative for automotive media blasting, each offering varying degrees of hardness and aggression.
A real workhorse, silicon carbide can tackle almost any rough sandblasting job successfully within a shorter blast time. It is the hardest abrasive blasting media available.
This very hard and sharp material is a good choice for difficult cleaning applications and is considerably cheaper than other blasting media. Silicon carbide is great for fast cutting applications and deep etching on stone, glass and other hard surfaces.
Steel Grit or Steel Shot
If you are looking for a special finish, the angular shape of steel grit makes it perfect for removing rust and paint from steel surfaces. Steel grit is commonly used in airless applications since the rounded steel shots produce limited dust.
Steel abrasive is a cost-effective media blasting alternative used on a variety of surfaces to effectively remove contaminants, texture a surface for proper adherence of a final coating, or in peening (hardening) applications.
Call in the Experts!
The media blasting experts at SignLite have been serving the Waterloo area for over 40 years.
For a free quote on your restoration project, get in touch with us today!