How ISA Helped the Sign Industry Avoid Energy Star Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated its Energy Star program in 1992. While its provisions were voluntary, not law, they were often copied by municipalities and then made law. In 2004, the EPA looked into the illuminated sign industry, and it hired a consulting group to produce an 11-page "scoping" report that recommended standards.

Unfortunately, the consulting group viewed signs as commodities, like toasters or refrigerators, so that standards could be established for standardized products. Fortunately, ISA's then director of government relations requested and received a copy of the scoping report, and he was able to explain to the Energy Star team leader that most electric signs are custom-built, so setting standards for signs wasn't practical.

Energy Star then correctly determined that setting standards for electric signs wasn't appropriate. A more complete story was published in the April 2005 issue of Signs of the Times magazine.