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LED lighting comes to the Chicago skyline

The iconic sign for the Drake Hotel in Chicago is changing to energy efficient LEDs from its neon lights.

The hotel's 20 foot display is one of the most recognizable outside commercial lighting displays in the city. Soon, the shining landmark will recycle the old neon lights that had been in use for nearly 70 years to make way for the LEDs. LED lighting systems offer superior color rendering and offer high lumens per watt of energy. The Drake will be able to save on their energy costs and maintain their position as a historic sight on the shores of Lake Michigan.

A study by the Lighting Research Center found that LEDs could use 20 to 60 percent less power than neon lights at the same light output in signage applications. The Drake's sign used pink light to illuminate the Chicago skyline, and the LRC's research suggests a comparable drop in energy consumption based upon the color similarities.

As with any commercial lighting system, the business owners want to cut costs. In the case of the Drake Hotel, they also want to make sure that their sign remains a quintessential piece of Chicago. LEDs have the best color quality of any lighting option, so they can expect an even brighter position on Lakeshore Drive.

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