Ireland’s first viable, zero carbon emission illuminated billboard was unveiled last week in Dublin.
Incurring zero energy costs, the lighting for the display billboard is wholly powered by solar energy and operates independently of the grid. The ground-breaking project, the first of its kind in the country, is the brainchild of Micromedia, an ad agency that specialises in the promotion of music, culture and the arts.
Installation was no mean feat. It took nine months of planning followed by a two day build to install four solar roof panels, which had to be perfectly angled at 15 degrees south to maximise solar gains. Due to the (precarious) structure of the roof, the panels then had to be held in place with bespoke ballast boxes specially designed for flat roofs. They are further supported by bespoke wind breakers for added stability.
Micromedia founder, Dave Smith says that while he anticipates that this unique ad space will be taken by a brand keen to promote their sustainability credentials, the aim of the installation was not to generate revenue but rather “to demonstrate that despite the obvious infrastructural challenges, there are new ways for outdoor advertising to become even more sustainable. This requires thinking outside the box and clearly, a significant investment. But I believe it’s incumbent on our industry to make this commitment and get serious about finding more sustainable methods of advertising that not only reduce environmental impact, but can also complement and enhance cityscapes.”
Having successfully installed the first, Smith (photo attached) hopes that this model will pave the way for many more sustainably focused billboards nationwide.
- The solar storage batteries are lithium phosphate, allowing for 90% depth of discharge, which is significantly higher than more ‘traditional’ Lithium batteries.
- Micromedia worked with Solar AdTek to create site specific, ultra efficient lighting using three different optical lenses (top, middle and bottom), positioned over the LED lights. This ultra-low energy lighting maximises the throw of light evenly over the entire billboard.
- The return on the investment involved in producing and installing the entire solar lighting system is estimated at three years.
“This new solar powered site involved considerable resources and a big commitment from all involved,” said Smith. Allaying any concerns around the potential brightness or glare from an illuminated digital ad, Smith says that their high-tech light sensor technology is a way to constantly control the luminosity, turning it up or down depending on weather or time of day and in line with the strict by-laws of a city.