# Do neon signs use a lot of electricity?

How much electricity do neon products actually consume? This question is becoming increasingly important in times of rising energy prices.

Illuminated logos and lettering are often a central component of brand identity or interior design concepts and cannot be rationalized away so easily – simply switching them off to save electricity is therefore not an option in most cases. After all, illuminated advertising fulfills an essential function that cannot be clearly measured on the basis of a cost-benefit calculation.

Nevertheless, it makes sense to get an overview of the power consumption of neon tubes and LED products. Therefore, we want to get to the bottom of this question here using some concrete examples and then contextualize the findings by comparing them to the average energy consumption of common household appliances.

## Power consumption of LED Neon

LED neon advertising can be categorized as very energy-efficient. Most of the electrical energy is directly used for light generation, so in addition to the power consumption, the heat generation is relatively low, unlike, for example, conventional light bulbs.

LED neon flex has a voltage of 12 or 24 volts and a service life of more than 50,000 hours. LED-based products usually require only one transformer (power supply unit).

Fortunately, to calculate the power consumption of a LED neon sign is not very complicated, so you do not need a degree in mathematics or engineering. You just need the following parameters: the power in watts (W), the total length of the LED tubes used in meters (m), and the operating time in hours (h).

First of all, it makes sense to calculate the energy consumption per hour, in order to be able to extrapolate to larger periods of time afterwards. LED neon has an average power consumption of about 9 watts per meter (W/m).
A logo or lettering with a total tube length of 5 meters thus consumes 45 watts per hour: 9W/m x 5m x 1h = 45 W/h or 0.045 kWh (kilowatt hours).

If you now want to extrapolate the power consumption to the month or the year, it is relevant for how long the LED neon sign is turned on during the day. Let's assume that the hypothetical illuminated logo is in operation for eight hours per day:

45 Wh x 8h = 360 watts per day (or 0,36 kW)

0,36 kW x 30 days = 10,8 kW per month

10,8 kW x 12 months = 129,6 kW per year

## Example 1: LED Neon "Ick bin een Berliner Original"

### Adidas Flagship Store Berlin

Let's illustrate this theoretical calculation with a concrete example, namely this LED neon pre-mounted on a dibond plate, which we produced for a Berlin Adidas flagship store in 2020.

The illuminated sign has a total size of 200 x 50 cm, the total length of the LED neon tubes is 6m.

9 W/m x 6m x 1h = 54 W/h = 0,054 kWh

Let's now assume that the neon sign is in use for ten hours on six days per week:

0.054 kW x 10h x 6 days = 3.24 kW per week

3.24 kW x 52 weeks = 168.48 kW per year

Accordingly, the average energy consumption of this LED neon is about 168 kW per year. The more precisely you know the respective parameters, the more precisely the demand and thus also the costs can be calculated.

## Power consumption of Glass Neon

The energy consumption of "classic" neon tubes, i.e. neon products consisting of bent glass tubes, is unfortunately less easy to calculate than for LED neon. In addition to the total length of the glass tubes used, the power consumption depends on a number of other factors: the colour; the tube diameter (we work with thicknesses between 8 and 18 mm); the power of the specific transformer model and the number of transformers required; and the number of systems (individual glass elements that make up the neon). Therefore, the question of how much power neon tubes consume is not so easy to answer.

## Example 2: Glass Neon "Credit card"

### N26 Office Berlin

Nevertheless, let's look at another example: this neon in the colour Classic Blue, which has adorned the Berlin office of N26 since 2021.

Two of our standard transformers with a maximum output of 8kV/30mA are required to operate the neon, which measures approx. 100 x 63 cm and consists of seven glass systems.

At this point we spare ourselves the listing of the complete solution path, because for a realistic estimation, besides the number and length of the connecting cables between the systems, it must also be taken into account, among other things, that there is a kind of "voltage curve" with glass neon. Neon transformers are self-regulating and the voltage therefore settles after some time at about 60% of the maximum power during operation. Thus, for this example, we arrive at an energy content of about 0.29 kWh. If we assume that the neon is switched on for eight hours on five weekdays, this results in an average annual consumption of around 603 kWh.

It should be noted that this result can by no means be generalised. The exact power consumption depends very much on the size and design of the specific neon sign.

## Neon power consumption in comparison

### Which devices consume the least electricity?

In order to put the calculated figures into a more understandable context, we will take a look at the energy requirements of some common household appliances below.

It should be noted that all figures are approximate averages. The actual power consumption depends on the size and energy efficiency of the respective model and, of course, the frequency of use – washing laundry three times a week logically consumes more energy than just one weekly wash cycle.

- Laptop: For an averagely equipped notebook, you can assume an approximate annual consumption of 15 to 22 kWh.
- Dishwasher: An approximately 60 cm wide dishwasher (multi-person household) consumes an estimated 70 to 80 kWh per year.
- Refrigerator: A medium-sized fridge in the best energy efficiency class can be expected to consume up to 125 kWh per year.
- Washing machine: Most commercially available models require about 200 kWh of electricity per year.
- Television: A flatscreen model with a 55-inch screen diagonal consumes around 225 kWh of electricity per year.

The LED neon sign examined above is well in the middle range with 129.6 kWh. If you now consider that most of the household appliances mentioned here are only used sporadically, while a neon sign is usually in operation for longer periods, you can definitely speak of an energy-efficient product.

## Bonus question: Do dimmed (LED) neons use less power?

Short answer: Yes. Basically, you can start from the assumption that a dimmed illuminated sign has lower energy consumption, so the following applies: less brightness = less electricity. But beware: there are dimming or control systems into which the illuminated sign can be integrated that require electricity for operation themselves. You should be aware of this before commissioning. However, apart from this, the power consumption of dimmed (LED) neons is lower.

We offer dimming with a controller and remote control for our LED neon products. This can be selected in the LED Neon Configurator.

For glass neon, manual dimming is possible by rotary switch on the power supply. The dimmable transformer can also be selected in the Neon Configurator.

With this insight into the topic of power consumption of neon and LED neon, we hope we have brought some light into the darkness!

More information about our products can be found on our Neon product page and in our product catalogue. If you have specific questions about a product, please contact our team.