For commercial, on-premise signs, luminance (brightness) emerged as a key issue in 2005, when the California Energy Commission (CEC) first adopted the Title 24 regulations for electric signs.
Because a major thrust of energy legislation is to upgrade the efficiency of components used in electrical systems, a key challenge for the International Sign Association (ISA) and the sign industry at large is to ensure that energy mandates do not adversely impact the quality of electric-sign products. Consequently, beginning in 2006, ISA and the California Sign Association (CSA) organized relevant stakeholders to work with the CEC in developing the Title 24 standards. These standards currently affect component specifications for electric signs built and used throughout the United States.
As state and federal rules on energy consumption become increasingly strict in the future, however, preserving the performance properties of electric signs becomes an even greater challenge. Because the appearance of internally illuminated signs represents an artful marriage of specific light sources and plastic media, implementing alternative lighting systems poses a far more complex task than merely changing the types of light sources.
Phasing out conventional lighting components for electric signs implies a sea change in sign-manufacturing practices, which would entail complete redesigns of typical lighting configurations. Similar to the process that occurred during initial development of electric cabinet signs, such a transition would require considerable time and effort to complete successfully.
Sign dimming is another issue raised in recent years in connection with demand response systems widely utilized by electric utilities to reduce peak loads on regional power grids. Additionally, certain local jurisdictions recently have adopted regulations that limit allowable levels of nighttime lighting. In certain cases, these requirements have been applied to illuminated signs.
Technical and marketplace barriers also affect the feasibility of dimming for internally illuminated signs. For example, dimmable ballasts for high-output sign lamps are not currently available, nor do manufacturers anticipate availability of such ballasts in the future. As a result, if sign dimming is mandated in particular jurisdictions, sign manufacturers would need to substantially alter established sig