Signs and signage are such a part of our everyday lives that we sometimes don’t notice them — when in fact the purpose of signs IS to be noticed. Signs provide us with direction, information, and in some cases, safety. ‘BRIDGE OUT’ really is a sign you probably should pay attention to!

With so many signs in so many places, their manufacture has an environmental impact. That impact is being reduced by companies such as Modulex through new eco-friendly products it is bringing to the marketplace, and which environmentally aware building developers are paying attention to.

Headquartered in Denmark but with 30 sales and management offices globally including Toronto, Modulex is a leading provider of architectural wayfinding signage and design solutions for the built environment. It offers comprehensive project management, from planning and design to installation, which it has done at The Keeley, a 13-storey condo recently completed on Keele Street in Downsview, developed by TAS and Fiera Properties, where Modulex is providing both interior and exterior signage solutions.

Looking northwest to the rendering of The Keeley, designed by Teeple Architects

At The Keeley, Modulex is using signage material called ‘Etronit’ which is made from wood sawdust waste generated as a by-product of the logging industry in Finland, and which is comprised of approximately 20% recycled paper fibres. Due to its composition and production, Etronit has a much cleaner life cycle than other materials, with a carbon footprint 53% lower than acrylics.

Additionally, Etronit is a material meant for high-end architectural signage with endless graphic and design possibilities and a durability of at least 10 years. While it cannot be recycled at the end of its life, is it suitable for waste-to-energy (incineration with energy recovery), therefore reducing waste sent to landfills.

Examples of Etronit signage products, image courtesy of Modulex

While certainly different weather-wise, Toronto has many similarities to Miami in the boom of many luxury condominium residences and Modulex’s Toronto office noticed its Miami operations were having great success in introducing Etronit signage products to local developers there and decided to bring it to the Canadian market, where Toronto’s first Etronit installation will be at The Keeley.

“The Keeley provides various sustainability features and is focused on conserving energy,” says Brian Madan, President, Modulex Canada. “We introduced Etronit as an eco-friendly sustainable signage material that is comparable to acrylic but with a considerably less carbon footprint. It was well received and the client decided to take this route as a green alternative to acrylic.”

Modulex provided both interior and exterior signage solutions at The Keeley. Etronit products mainly for all residential floors consisting of primary room signs, suite identifications and amenity identification. As the building industry becomes more aware and is adhering to new standards to meet ambitious environmental goals throughout the development of new buildings, signage is a natural extension of that green focus, especially if it is aesthetically pleasing like Etronit. Eco-friendly products have come a long way both in appearance and quality.

“We are seeing it more and more in every market with our eco-friendly products increasing in demand,” says Madan. “Our products have such versatility and we are able to adapt from something simple for the back of the house to the high-end aesthetic in the visitor or customer-facing areas of a project. Etronit combines this high-end aesthetics with a lower ecological impact, this is the reason it has found a sweet spot with developers and architects. The lack of signage materials in the market which combine design, quality, and sustainability was the main reason we developed Etronit. We now offer four materials as eco-friendly alternatives to other not-so-eco-friendly signage materials and those four materials represent about 20% of our product sales at our Danish factory.”

Examples of Etronit signage products, image courtesy of Modulex

It is all part of Modulex’s continued actions to achieve its own internal environmental goals while assisting clients to achieve theirs. “Modulex turned to eco-friendly products to lower the impact of our product range and provide our clients with more sustainable signage solutions, ultimately aiming to accelerate the green transition within the architectural signage industry,” says Madan. “We have a long-standing focus on sustainability and have been working to lower our environmental impact for more than to decades.”

There is no escaping the fact that signs are everywhere and always will be. As Modulex and its Etronit product is now demonstrating in the GTA, there is no reason a presence as ubiquitous as signage can’t also be environmentally responsible as well.

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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

Related Companies:  Ferris + Associates Inc., Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Modulex Group, Norris Fire Consulting Inc, RDS, SKYGRiD, TAS