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Aquarium's iconic blue wave is "going green"

Published July 28, 2010

For almost 30 years, the neon wave on the south side of the National Aquarium’s main building has been an iconic element of the Inner Harbor’s skyline, and a landmark sign in Baltimore. But now, our blue wave is "going green"! About a year ago, our capital planning and facilities teams began exploring what to do with the nearly 30-year-old neon wave because it had developed some very expensive maintenance issues. When it comes to evaluating building improvements and new projects, energy consumption and sustainability become very important parts of the design making process.  The team was already replacing many of the fluorescent and incandescent lights inside the buildings with light emitting diodes, or LEDs, to help the Aquarium reduce its energy consumption. The neon wave is being replaced with the same technology, so in addition to resolving maintenance concerns, the LEDs will use 70% less energy than the neon it is replacing. With assistance from Ashton Design – one of the country’s premier graphics and signage designers – and the Aquarium’s electrical engineer, Kovacs Whitney, an LED product manufactured by General Electric was selected to replace the aging neon. Baltimore-based signage company Triangle Sign & Service is installing the new LED wave.  Triangle has manufactured and installed all of the signage and graphics in such well-known places as Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Fenway Park. And in their eyes, LED signs are the “wave” of the future. Since the wave is such a signature part of our building and brand, it’s important to us that we keep this recognizable part of Baltimore’s nighttime skyline. The replacement wave will be the same size and shape, and will have the same visual effect. If anything, the new wave will boast a more vibrant blue than the original! The neon lit up Baltimore's skyline for the last time Tuesday night. Earlier this morning, just after sunrise when the sign turns off, contractors began taking down the neon, which is made up of 41 pieces totaling 350 linear feet. The iconic wave will return to Baltimore’s skyline in approximately three weeks for all to enjoy. Aquarium leaders work diligently and creatively to pursue green practices that enable us to live the mission that guides our organization: to provide transforming experiences that inspire people to enjoy, respect and protect the aquatic world. This is one of the Aquarium’s many initiatives to reduce our energy consumption and make the best of the planet’s resources. Click here to learn more about the Aquarium’s green business efforts.
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