In the next few weeks, Japanese copy and photo manufacturer Ricoh will launch a Times Square spectacular powered by wind at 42nd and 7th Ave. The sign, using wind turbine technology developed by WePOWER, will be powered by 16 wind turbines and 64 solar panels, saving 18 tons of carbon per year and about $12,000 to $15,000 a month in electricity.
Ricoh isn't the only advertiser to seek an eco-solution in outdoor's most iconic locale. On New Year's Eve, Coca-Cola Co. launched its new digital billboard at 47th and Broadway powered by wind, offsetting the release of 1,866 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.
WePOWER, which calls its eco-outdoor ad solution, "windvertising," expects to work directly with advertisers on about 25 custom applications of its technology this year, expanding its footprint in 2010. The company is also in discussions with outdoor media companies about applying its technology in other locations.
In addition to the sign itself, windvertising could also be applied to the turbine's air foil blades to reflect an image, creating a moving image.
"I always tell people to think of Windvertising as a flipbook that you played with as a child," said Marvin Winkler, CEO of WePOWER.
According to Winkler, if the nation's 500,000 billboards were to adopt Windvertising, the billboards, spinning at 10 mph would generate 16.8 billion kWh of electricity. They could power approximately 1.5 million homes and would reduce about 5.3 million tons of CO2 being emitted into the air.