If there is any one single place on Earth that represents energy waste, it is New York CIty’s Times Square. This iconic hub of activity in the Big Apple is known for its blazing neon and video intensive advertising boards, lit up all hours of the day and night in what is truly a massive energy waste orgy. Ricoh, a maker of digital office equipment and advanced document management solutions and services, is one of those taking up energy sucking space here, at least choosing to have what it calls the Square’s first 100 percent solar powered billboard.
Ricoh said its Eco Board, located at 3 Times Square at the corner of 7th Avenue and 42nd Street, is “powered solely by 62 solar panels and 24 thin-film PV solar modules, and illuminated by 16 LED floodlights.” In what might be an interesting twist to all of the other lit up noise going on in the Square, the company has also reportedly committed to allowing the sign “to go dark due to lack of sunlight” because of a desire “not to use conventional electricity from the grid to light the Eco Board.”
Now while many might find this to be a very solid case of greenwashing, we do have to admit the idea Ricoh has here is interesting. Imagine what Times Square might be like if all of its glowing boards were lit up by renewable energy. It would be a huge reduction in the carbon footprint of New York City to be sure, and on nights which follow days that solar lighting was too poor to provide energy, one might actually be able to walk around and not feel blinded.
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