Hotel Chain Saves $4.4 M Annually with Fresh LED Signage


We all know there's money in energy efficiency, but sometimes, it's hard to justify the upfront costs to receive the benefits over time.  When crunching the numbers, it helps to recall the Energy Pie Chart that Steven Chu posted to his Facebook recently — lighting accounts for 26% of energy use in commercial buildings!  Which is why Holiday Inn will save ~$4.4 million annually as they swap out their neon and fluorescent signage for super efficient LED signage. 

When you break down the numbers, Holiday Inn will save $3 million on annual maintenance and $1.4 million on energy savings.  Plus, they'll get a badly needed new look to go along with their $1 billion global relaunch of ~3,200 updated hotels. 

Specifically, the energy-efficient signage uses GE's Tetra LED lighting system, which includes Tetra Power White and Tetra MAX for channel letters, and Tetra PowerGrid for box signs.  Tetra┬« Power White delivers up to 66 lumens of brilliant white light per module, and Tetra PowerGrid is a high-brightness, modular system that lasts up to four times longer than T12HO fluorescents.  All three lighting systems last up to 50,000 hours, and they contain no lead, mercury, or glass.

If you're a business and you have signage and you're reading this, you should probably be thinking about the money you have growing on that glowing metal tree in front of your building.  Harvest that with some LEDs and start spending good money on other things. 

[+] Holiday Inn to Save $4 Million Annually by BusinessWire.

  • silly

    That is the savings for the ENTIRE brand. That does not equate to much, if anything, to the owners. How do I know?? My in-laws own a Holiday Inn. While the refreshed look will certainly help bring it up market, the initial cost v. the payoff means that it will pay off right around the time HI requires another refreshing.

    While I applaud you looking at the big picture, the microeconomics of this green solution doesn’t pay out.

    • Preston

      Hotel owners are always complaining about getting squeezed with brand requirements, whether it’s the heavenly bed, the flat screens, or otherwise. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough information provided in this case to assess the impact or relative benefits/expenses between the various parties involved to even discuss it. Suffice it to say, the green aspect — the energy cost savings — is what we’re looking at.

      • dude

        Regardless of whether you care to dismiss the fallacy of the initial cost v. savings and/or green aspect, getting pinched for any capital outlay in this economy is bad.

        FWIW, the hotel I’m discussing was 10x National Torch Bearer award winner, so brand requirements is not the issue. The issue is with the lack of credible energy savings for individual franchises and wild swag guessing on aggregate savings.

        • Preston

          Unfortunately, we have no information on the initial costs and there are roughly 270 different sign configurations. We just know the estimated savings.

          Bigger picture, my experience is anecdotal, but I don’t know anyone that would spend a dime on Holiday Inn. Seriously. This revamp, I believe, is desperately needed. The signage swap needed to happen regardless of the LEDs, but your in-laws are going next gen with the LEDs. The sign looks good, too.

        • High Voltage

          Below is a snipit from a previous topic on costs as they regard to electric signs. Keep in mind, GE is a good LED product but also the most expensive (there are a lot more less expensive candidates). This should not be a program based on LED only but CCFL as well, this should also be based on climate (where in the world and what temps). This is nothing more than a Propaganda marketing scheme based on saving that a client will never see.

          Below is for a typical 15 letter electric sign, now this is a very small sign probably 18″-24″, magnify this for the larger signs.


          Let’s look at our 15 channel letter project of a light source that would have the same footage as CCFL or “neon” (so the LED only vendor can comprehend and follow along) having approx 6′ for material (lamps) for each letter

          GE Power White Sign (210 watts)
          GE Power White LED’s are $27 a foot @ two modules per foot. It will cost approximately $75 a year to light that 15 letter sign up. The footage will be 90′ of LED’s that’s 180 Power White Modules costing a customer $2,430.00 in LED’s and probably four power sources at a $80 a pop = $320.00. I’m not going to factor in all the small special connectors needed. For the first day this sign is lit you are paying $2,750 in LED and PS costs above the other material cost for the sign.

          CCFL (Neon) 13mm lamps (345 watts)
          Elite Lamp Technologies CCFL lamps are priced on average $35.00 each for 6 linear foot lamps. It will cost approximately $113.00 a year to light this 15 letter sign up. The total footage of glass is 90 linear feet costing the customer $525.00. You have two choices here you can choose two magnetic transformers @ $90.00 each or make each letter a dedicated electronic transformer for each letter. For this “energy savings” sake I will make it with electronic transformers. 15 electronic transformers $30.00 each = $450.00 I will go so far as to add some more cost for GTO & Electrode caps, partial supply maybe $113.00 for good silicone products.

          Let’s look at the total cost above the channel letter fabrication

          GE Power White =$2,750.00
          Elite CCFL (Neon) = $1,088.00

          The cost difference is $1,662.00 more you will pay going LED for your light source over a CCFL system.
          The cost saving in annual power consumption in the 15 letter sign is $38 a year using LED’s over CCFL

          You would have to have your channel letter sign with GE Power Whites for at least 45 years just to break even with the cost it took to make a CCFL illuminated channel letter set.

          *Source The Great White Hope Project ( )

  • High Voltage

    I have a big problem with this marketing scheme put on by GE.

    I run, the only dedicated electric sign industry community website composed of electric sign makers and component manufacturers.

    None of us know where these crazy figures are coming out where Holiday Inn Hotels are going to save money. According to my figures (and I do this for a living) vs. up front costs, it’s going to take 41 years just to break even on the return investment of retrofitting these signs from neon or making new signs. By then Holiday Inn will have probably re-branded 8 more times. The 50,000 hour claim for GE’s modules will have expired over four times over(being generous), so look to retrofit over four more times.

    If a holiday Inn franchisee is reading this and would like to know what they will be paying versus savings, please feel free to contact me. I would like to start a project for all to see and study for themselves. Many of us who are in the electric trade would love to assist in this. Please email me [email protected]

    There are a bunch of electric sign shops such as myself over at the website who would be very interested to hear from GE and where they got their facts. We have GE Members at our site and have not heard from them.

    I have already posted my figures plugging it what it will cost to use GE’s modules, I’ve asked them to prove me wrong. So far it’s crickets out there.

    Erik Gastelum

  • Portland Real Estate

    Thats awesome. I wonder how many other little changes can add up to so much in savings when it comes to big chains. In most cases it pays more to go green in the long run, for your pocketbook as well as the environment.


  • Real Estate System

    i think If you’re a business and you have signage and you’re reading this, you should probably be thinking about the money you have growing on that glowing metal tree in front of your building.

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