Midwest tech firm now wind driven

Summary:Other World Computing (OWC) is in McHenry County, Illinois, and now their power comes from the wind. OWC claims the title of "first 100 percent on-site wind powered technology manufacturer/distributor in the U.

Other World Computing (OWC) is in McHenry County, Illinois, and now their power comes from the wind. OWC claims the title of "first 100 percent on-site wind powered technology manufacturer/distributor in the U.S." It's using Vestas-made wind turbines for all its daily electricity needs.

The new OWC Wind Turbine will generate an estimated 1,200,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year – more than double the 500,000 kWh per year of energy the OWC building operations require. Under Illinois law OWC can sell that unused electricity back to the local electric company.

OWC says its wind turbine installation was designed to produce power at wind speed as low as 9 mph. The OWC campus averages wind speed of 10-15 mph. The wind turbine sits atop a tower 131 feet high. The blades extend the turbine’s total height to 194 feet. The blade housing can rotate 360 degrees so it can turn facing into winds up to 150 mph. During extreme winds, the blades automatically go “flat” with the narrowest point into the wind and in essence, shut the turbine down until it senses safe operational wind speeds. Whenever there isn’t adequate wind power generation, the local utility company will remain as the backup power source for OWC. Additionally, in the event of a combined wind and utility company power blackout, OWC has two additional on-site backup power systems so it can continue serving its customers without interruption.

OWC HQ's OTHER GREEN INITIATIVES

• Geo-thermal ground-coupled heat pump system

• Fiber optic rooftop light-harvesting technology

• High insulation value glass windows and exterior sunshade technology for reduced cooling costs

• High insulation value materials throughout the building for reduced energy use

• “Smart” sensors to detect and adjust energy in unused rooms

• Permeable Paver system for environmentally friendly run-off water handling

• Bio Swales landscaping for water conservation

• Use of native plants and prairie grasses for water conservation

• Sloan Waterless Urinals and dual-mode toilets for water conservation

• Sloan high-efficiency hand driers in washrooms for energy/paper savings and a drinking water filtration system to eliminate need for delivered water

• Company-wide recycling with near-zero waste generation

• Low-impact cleaning products

On their website OWC bills itself as 100% wind-powered. It is primarily an Apple and Mac service and sales company that supplie numerous iPod and iPhone add-ons. They're based in Woodstock, Illinois, northwest of the Chicago conurbation.

Vestas, which made the wind turbine, is a century-old Danish company which claims 20% of the world wind turbine market.

Topics: Telcos

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