When planning a green upgrade or retrofit to something with historic value, care must be taken to ensure that the iconic nature of the original product is maintained. Coca-Cola recently undertook such an adventure when it upgraded its historic neon sign in San Francisco to a more environmentally friendly LED display.

The original plans for the project, which began two years ago, called for a completely redesigned sign. Coca-Cola is committed to advancing its corporate sustainability policy and the company knew that the sign needed to be upgraded. However, the current sign has been a fixture in downtown San Francisco for decades. After a meeting with a local historical preservation society, Coca-Cola knew that maintaining the historic integrity of the sign was also of importance.

Ultimately, an LED product that has a similar look to neon lighting was found. While the new LED lighting allows the sign to maintain the look and feel of the historical sign, it also comes with a significant energy reduction. The new sign is nearly 80 percent more efficient than the original.

In addition to being a more environmentally friendly sign, Coca-Cola has also committed to continually purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset the sign’s annual energy usage. So now Coca-Cola has a new sign greeting Bay Bridge drivers that has maintained its historic look and feel, is 80 percent more energy efficient, and is carbon neutral.

The timing of the new LED sign just happened to coincide with another Coca-Cola sustainability measure — the release of its new PlantBottle in the San Francisco area. About 30 percent of the material used in the new PlantBottle is from sugar production byproducts. Oh and did I mention that these PlantBottles are being delivered by a fleet of hybrid delivery trucks? A greener bottle, a greener delivery truck, and a greener yet historic-feeling sign — Coca-Cola’s sustainability measures in the Bay Area are admirable.

Before and after photos of the sign are below.

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