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“Shine On” Saint John -- Iconic Sign Receiving a Facelift


Over the next two weeks, the iconic Saint John sign on Fort Howe is getting a facelift and an LED lighting retrofit.

The lighting system on the sign, installed in 1999 to celebrate the new millennium, had surpassed its rated life and required immediate replacement.

Through the City’s Municipal Energy Efficiency Program (MEEP), the City’s Energy Manager, Samir Yammine, conducted an audit of the lighting system. The existing lights were a combination of T12 fluorescent lights with over eight different size tubes and ballasts. They are considered unreliable, inefficient, with a short life expectancy, difficult to find replacement parts and difficult to maintain.

Mr. Yammine developed criteria for a new system that included: reducing total operating cost, energy efficiency, using the latest technology, minimum maintenance and affordability.

“We’re using LED technology,” said Mr. Yammine. “There have been significant improvements in terms of performance, cost and it’s proven to be a strong alternative for many applications such as street lights, interior lights and especially signage.”

The new LED lighting system will provide the following benefits:
•    60,000-90,000 hours rated life compared to 15,000 hours for the fluorescent lights
•    Better illumination
•    High system efficacy
•    Reliability
•    Minimum maintenance and less light failure

The cost to run the sign before the retrofit was $9,000 per year. It is expected the new system will cost the City $1,000 per year in electrical costs. Saint John Energy paid to have the sign installed in 1999 and the City was responsible for ongoing maintenance including the cost of the energy.

Common Council approved the cost of the $34,214 retrofit. Funds have been allocated through the 2014 Energy Management capital budget.
The work is expected to take two weeks and will include: sanding and painting each letter; supplying and installing new LED lights; and, supplying and installing new Lexan sign faces.