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'Eco-board' makes a statement

Ricoh unveiled a billboard Tuesday that is 100 percent powered by solar and wind energy.
Ricoh unveiled a billboard Tuesday that is 100 percent powered by solar and wind energy.Ricoh European

Marketers will try just about anything to put their brands in front of us and, they hope, in our hands. This can come at large expense of natural resources. For example, think airplanes guzzling fuel as they tow banners for burger joints and insurance companies over your favorite beach this holiday weekend.

Office equipment company Ricoh hopes its new billboard powered by 100 percent solar and wind energy will make us all think about living more sustainably as the company puts its name in front of everyone who's driving a stretch of the M4 motorway between London's Heathrow airport and the city.

The billboard, which was unveiled Tuesday, has 96 solar panels and five individual wind turbines that will produce an average of 12,612 watts per hour per day. However, if there is not enough sun or wind, the sign may not light up, Ricoh notes.

The company also has a solar-powered billboard in New York's Times Square.

Efforts such as this can be seen as a bit gimmicky, but, as Heather Clancy writes on ZD Net, Ricoh "is an imaging company, so one might imagine that maybe Ricoh could help other companies interested in similar messaging approaches."

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John Roach is a contributing writer for Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).