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LED billboards 'should be restricted to 6 hours of illumination a day' to save energy

The call was made in the Seanad today by Senator Lynn Boylan.

LED BILLBOARDS SHOULD be restricted to just six hours of illumination a day to save energy, the Seanad was told today.

The suggestion was made by Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan, who called for the Government to restrict the hours of LED advertisement billboards to reduce energy demand during peak hours.

“The Government should follow the example of Germany and reduce the hours that advertisement billboards are lit to help reduce energy demand,” Boylan said.

Digital signage in shop windows and neon letters, as well as analogue and other digital advertising, must be switched off between 10pm and 6am in Germany, according to new rules which came in on 1 September. The move came after Spain brought in a rule that digital signage displays and lighting must be turned off after 10pm also.

Both measures are in response to the call in Europe to reduce energy usage, given the energy crisis and high prices for gas and electricity. Here in Ireland, the government has been running a ‘reduce your use’ nationwide campaign, but has not introduced rules on digital signage. 

“Surely given Ireland’s risk of blackouts and the State’s agreement to reduce demand by 15%, billboards should, at a minimum be switched off during the peak hours of 5-9pm and 7-9am?” said Boylan.

Boylan said that large LED Billboards use vast amounts of energy. “Over a year the typical screen would use the equivalent electricity of nine Irish households, with some having the capacity to reach the equivalent of 33 homes,” she said.

“Across Dublin and other urban centres we are seeing more and more LED advertisement screens appearing, adding more and more pressure to an already constrained energy system.”

Her call came as residents in Rathmines spoke out about a large LED digital sign which was placed on the gable end of a property on the Lower Rathmines Road. The light from the sign is so strong that one resident told The Journal that she had to move to the back of her house to sleep.

Green Party councillor Carolyn Moore has been pursuing the complaints, and raised concerns about the energy usage of these billboards. 

“This LED panel with that level of brightness, I would definitely be looking into and questioning whether that’s a good use of energy at this moment in time,” she said.

Work is currently ongoing on the next Dublin city development plan and Cllr Moore said that the Green Party had put in a motion around limiting the use of digital and LED displays.

Dublin City Council’s traffic department is also understood to be looking into concerns about whether the sign could be a potential distraction for motorists. 

After The Journal reported on the issue, a representative of the company which installed the LED billboard in Rathmines said it would be lowering the brightness tonight. 

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