Times Square is about to receive New York City’s first green-powered electronic billboard. Tokyo-based Ricoh Company, Ltd. will install a 47 by 126 foot sign on the Reuters Building (3 Times Square, at the northwestern corner of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue) that will draw power from 45 solar panels and 4 wind turbines. In what should be an interesting twist, if the photovoltaics do not receive sufficient sunlight or winds are not strong enough to drive the turbines, the sign will simply not illuminate. According to Ricoh, the installation should account for a reduction of 18 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The firm has a similar billboard operating in Osaka, Japan. Ricoh’s American affiliate is headquartered in West Caldwell, New Jersey and supplies office automation equipment and electronics. The company calls itself a “Total Green Office Solution” provider; earlier this year, Corporate Knights, Inc. of Canada listed Ricoh on its “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World” for the fourth consecutive time.
The Reuters Building was completed back in 2001 and is currently pursuing a LEED-EB rating. Designed by Fox & Fowle (now FXFOWLE), the 32-story, 855,000-square-foot tower was part of the redevelopment efforts on the southern end of Times Square during the late 90s. Fox & Fowle also designed 4 Times Square- the Conde-Nast Building- for the Durst Organization, which is generally considered the country’s first green high-rise, though it too predates the LEED system. Nevertheless, 3 Times Square also includes a number of green design features ranging from a low-e curtain wall to various recycled-content structural materials. Reuters began its LEED-EB application to USGBC last October.