Monday, December 14, 2009


" B MOR EFCNT" (photo: John Regenbogen)

"SAV NRGY" (photo: John Regenbogen)

Saint Louis electric utility giant AmerenUE is running a multiple billboard campaign supposedly encouraging energy efficiency. Here's a suggestion: turn off the lights!

The lighting for standard billboards, including the ones depicted above, typically use four lamps that generate about 1,600 watts of energy use per sign on average. With an estimated 500,000 billboard structures nationwide, the cumulative energy consumption of the outdoor advertising sector is certainly an eye-popping figure and worthy of analysis.

AmerenUE's environmentally-unfriendly 24/7 billboard campaign (ironically being run during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference) not only is polluting the atmosphere unnecessarily, it is also disturbing the night sky and, if industry practice holds true, will result in thousands of square feet of vinyl wrap eventually tossed into local landfills.
UPDATE: At least AmerenUE apparantly is not using even more energy-intensive digital billboards for its campaign. According to the Central Texas -Balcones Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the carbon output of a single digital billboard is roughly the same as 49 traditional billboards or 13 homes!

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