CHICAGO—The Drake Hotel’s landmark rooftop neon sign will be replaced with environmentally friendly Sloan LED lighting with the help of Olympic Signs of Lombard (Ill.). Licensed by the EPA, Olympic Signs will dispose of the antiquated neon piping that used to adorn the 20-foot “The Drake” sign. Thus, neon’s 70-year run illuminating Lake Shore Drive officially ends.
The new and improved sign will be the first of its kind. Olympic Signs president Robert Whitehead, whose company is known for green energy, has led his team in the production of a new mold, a new source of energy and a new spin on an old goal: reduce, reuse and recycle. The original “The Drake” sign will be refurbished; essentially Whitehead’s team will restore the background metal to its former glory. The neon piping will be recycled per EPA standards and the new lights will reduce the amount of energy the hotel needs to light “The Drake.”
Every food and beverage outlet at The Drake boasts sustainable, locally farmed items on the menu and uses only 100 percent recyclable napkins. The hotel itself reduces water consumption by 250,000 gallons a year by teaming with conscientious clients who have their linens laundered every third day rather than every day. All unused guestroom amenities and half rolls of toilet paper are donated to Bin Donated, a nonprofit social enterprise that helps other nonprofits reduce program costs.