Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet
Any Green Dot sign can be FSC chain of custody, including signage designs that are outside the scope of our Declare label. This most commonly happens with engineered woods, metal characters or similar customizations. We stock several FSC woods and any are available, so it’s easy to work within your design pallet.
This product data sheet gives an overview of general wooden architectural signage and decorative elements.
As long as signs are not painted, they are eligible for our EPR program. If they fall within our Declare label, they are also 97% bio based leading to a multiplier similiar to what you see below.
Signs meeting our Declare Red List Approved label are valid for option 1, Material Ingredient Reporting. Additionally, they qualify for Advanced Inventory & Assessment. As demand grows we look forward to adding 3rd party verification.
This product data sheet describes the wide range of woods, processes, colors and styles available within the Declare label.
We can help with any steps needed, from ADA sign mapping and design to fabrication and installation within most metro areas. Please contact us with any questions.
Depending on which petals you are pursuing and your project goals, there are two ways to approach LBC signs. First, a design that falls within the wide ranging Declare – Red List Approved Wood Base ADA, Code and Wayfinding Signs product.
Second, any sign or decorative element can be FSC chain of custody certified. Our FSC Certificate Code is C019842.
For Living Economy calculations, all signs are produced in St. Paul, MN and for Net Positive Waste, 97% or more of product is biodegradable and we offer a take-back recycling program as well.
WELL prioritizes many informational signs in its preconditions and optimizations. These are detailed here. Conveniently, any interior signs designed with the Declare label parameters below can also contribute to Materials Concept optimization. Why choose signage dripping with phthalates when there is a phalate free option right here?
Signs are a small part of project budget, and therefore signage, like ours, is unlikely to be the deciding factor in whether or not you’re going to achieve a given certification level. Based on that why did we go through the trouble of developing sustainable, world class sign products and then the even more painful transparency process?
Because self-flagellation is fun? No. As a long time sign pro, Simon, one of our founders, knew how nasty signs were to the environment. They use plastics that don’t biodegrade and high waste-rate manufacturing steps. Sign plastic, with some exceptions, is practically never recycled. And sign plastic is derived from fossil fuels, primarily natural gas. So the signs you bought 10 years are ago pretty much all in a landfill, taking part in an environmental experiment that will last…we don’t know. That’s why it’s an experiment. 100,000 years? Sure. More? Sure. How long? I guess we’ll find out how long, and other impacts, as the experiment goes forward. Good luck, great-great-great-great-great grandkids! See ya later!
So offering world class, sustainable, signage clearly does good, and Green Dot Sign® was born with the goal of reducing plastic use in signage. Fast forward and, after learning about HPD’s, we embraced the process. While sign people question the value and feasibility of an HPD, this initial process of transparency led to changes in our wood finishing and we stopped using certain products even for projects that didn’t need an HPD.
Fast forward again, to the just released Green Dot Sign® Red List Approved, Declare: GDS-0001, Wood Base ADA, Code and Wayfinding Signs. Our initial HPD was transparent to 1,000 PPM. Declare labels are transparent to 100 PPM. Ten times finer a comb and all woods are FSC. We changed and thoroughly tested new inputs in order to be Red List Approved. But as with the HPD, Declaring helped all our signage be more sustainable. Interestingly, none of these changes have any real impact on the cost of the inputs per sign. We hired consultants to help during this process, but beyond their cost and the cost of the transparency disclosure submission, it basically came down knowing what was in something and choosing a competitor product that was cleaner. There’s essentially no input cost difference. But in the sign world there are no standards to disclose this sort of thing…so the input material buying process for sign companies is opaque unless we push it to be transparent.
I think pushing down chain industries toward better practices is whole point of many LEED credits, right?
So our story starts with a singular goal, but by working to have our signs contribute to LEED credits we ended changing inputs and processes, for the better.
Green building credit frameworks generally weigh products based on dollars spent. This means a project using a $25 radioactive doorknob that poisons a city can still be in a building that achieves a high framework rating.
Plastic signage has a similarly overweight environmental impact per dollar spent; think of it as congealed fossil fuel, spreading phthalates, concentrating heavy metals and lasting forever.
Each piece of vinyl and acrylic used in your building will last longer in a landfill than homo sapiens have existed.
For organizations that value sustainability, there are lots of options. The sign industry is full of creative, hands on, experts who will quickly adjust to the market.
As an organization, you can simply replace as much as possible of the vinyl, acrylic and polycarbonate in your signage with wood, metal and stone. The old is new.
HPD’s and Declare labels, if used correctly, matter because you can be sure your doorknob is not radioactive. Amongst other things!
Or – in the case of signs – maybe you use wood for a large part of a sign, but the wood itself could be part of an old growth Amazonian clear cut operation, the graphics on it are made from natural gas extracted in a warmongering country and the finish on the wood uses lead and releases more VOC’s than a volcano.
It’s 100% possible.
So it looks sustainable. But is it really?
Ask your vendors to prove it’s sustainable, and the most cost effective and trustworthy way to do so is with HPD’s and Declare labels. They’re great systems that help manufacturers improve our products. And if the product isn’t disclosed, there’s no way of knowing if it is sustainable.