Sustainability & Digital Signage – Everything You Need to Know

25 July, 2022
Sustainability & Digital Signage – Everything You Need to Know

There is something awe-inspiring about the digital signage’s capability to convert energy into lit up pixels, in turn producing dynamic and colourful images. You may think that this costs the Earth to achieve, but there are actually many ways in which digital signage is – and is becoming further still – more sustainable than traditional forms of signage. Green initiatives are thankfully becoming the MO of more and more companies, as we look to reduce our ecological footprint and preserve our wonderful planet for future generations. As such, here are the key aspects of sustainability to consider when looking into digital signage for your company.

Digital signage’s waste reduction
Thanks to the ability to upgrade a digital sign’s software, its messaging can be easily changed without having to replace the whole sign itself. This is not the case with traditional print signage, which would either have to be thrown out or repurposed if its information was outdated or no longer useful. The former is an obvious waste, especially considering the ink, adhesives, solvents, and other non-biodegradable chemicals that are needed to print traditional signs. The latter is more eco-friendly, but again requires using unsustainable materials to reprint the sign for its new purpose. Furthermore, it is often not in a company’s interest to go through the effort of repurposing signs, so the more likely outcome is that they will end up in a landfill.

Digital signage bypasses these issues entirely, with its display changing with whatever requirements of the moment. Not only can content be updated, but stacked: digital signs can display multiple messages over the course of a few seconds or minutes. Not only does it condense the resources required, but its changeable nature saves on waste, too.

Saves trees, water, and reduces CO2
Adding to the above, the resources to produce print signage has a significant environmental cost. Between 2001 to 2019, a total of 386 million hectares of forest were lost globally, and 42% of this went towards paper production (including static signage like posters and flyers).

Further, 200,000 sheets of paper requires 17 trees and 26,281 litres of water to produce, and this process generates 264 kilograms of air pollution (due to resource collection, manufacturing, transport, etc.). Digital signage by contrast, due to its longevity, costs a fraction of these resources.

Easy to recycle
Digital signs consist of what we call ‘cradle-to-cradle’ components, meaning they can be moved and reused elsewhere even if another part of the sign has broken down. This makes them easy to recycle, as aluminium, copper, gold, polycarbonate plastic, and other materials can be directly taken and reused from most displays when they’re retired.

Because of the tech required to run digital signs, there is more of an incentive to recycle components than traditional signs, which tend to end up in a landfill. This is the case even in the short-term, for instance when a simple misprint results in signs being thrown away. For digital signage, it is easy to find those looking to trade parts or to reuse materials from the signs, ensuring that the easiest place for them to end up is in another digital sign, and not a landfill.

Although we are used to electronics lasting relatively briefly, digital signs can actually last over a decade, with a typical lifespan of 100,000 hours. This equates to ten years’ use if the sign is turned on 24/7, which need not be the case for the majority of digital signs (for instance, retail signs need only be on during retail hours).

Furthermore, advances in technology mean that digital signage can be built to withstand a country’s specific challenges in regards to weather, with internal heat and dust regulation as well as waterproofing, the latter of which is especially important for our UK clients!

At Merson Group, the journey does not end with the sign’s installation, either. We ensure our signs are working continuously so that you are guaranteed a long-lasting sign with minimal waste in comparison to traditional print signage.

Commitment to energy efficiency
Many digital signs now use LED lights as a greener alternative to LCD, due to their efficiency and longer lifespan. Compared to twenty years ago, screens are now 90% more efficient; this is part because many screens have light detection which causes them to lower their brightness in darker weather or environments. Alternatively, brightness can often be adjusted manually; lowering the screen brightness by 30% is unlikely to impede the sign’s visual impact, all-the-while saving energy in the process. Energy dashboards can also act upon real-time energy use data to adjust accordingly, much like a battery saver mode on a laptop.

At Merson Group, we have already had great success in helping companies reduce their ecological footprint, save money, and promote their brand by providing solutions through bespoke digital signage.
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