15 hours ago
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Collect Your Neon While You May
Top picture: 21 different options for the Times Square New Years ball lit by LED lights. (Photo captured from the New York Times web site. Photo by Ian Hardy.)
Bottom Picture: Neon sign captured at 8:15 on 9-1-08 along Bardstown Road.
I love the glow of neon and I can't remember a time when I didn't. The vivid glow of neon in the wanning evening light is magical. But it is a living fossil that feeds on a steady diet of fossil carbon. It takes tons of carbon to keep neon going night after night, year after year. I doubt there will be many more years left in the neon history books. Go capture images of them while you can. And if you don't mind sharing those images I would love to have you send them to me.
The future of commercial lighting is the LED. At mere fractions of the energy cost of neon you can create signs that flash ever changing patterns of light. Entire buildings could be covered in LED lights for the same cost of one large neon sign.
But even though I want to see our global energy budget reduced I will still miss neon.