OWC first tech manufacturer/distributor in U.S. to become 100% on-site wind powered

Other World Computing (OWC), a leading technology company, announced today that it has become the first technology manufacturer/distributor in the U.S. to become 100% on-site wind powered by switching its daily operations energy needs over to a Vestas V39-500 kW wind turbine. Completely on-site powered, OWC can run its resource conserving LEED Platinum designed facility and internet operations datacenter 100% on this renewable, non-polluting power source.

The new OWC wind turbine is projected to generate an estimated 1,250,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year – more than double the current energy requirements of all OWC operations, including its internet operations datacenter which includes OWC.net and FasterMac.net ISP and webhosting services – and enough energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, to power a typical U.S. suburban subdivision annually. With peak wind conditions, the OWC wind turbine can generate more energy in a single week than what OWC’s operations require for an entire month. Excess energy produced by OWC wind turbine will be sold back to the local power provider, thus making OWC a net supplier of sustainable energy to the McHenry County, IL region in addition to being a provider of award winning technology to over one million Mac, PC, and iPod users around the world.

As part of the overall vision unveiled in 2006 for the new OWC corporate headquarters, the OWC wind turbine installation was designed to produce power at winds speeds as low as nine mph based upon the OWC campus site conditions average wind speed of 10-15 mph. The tower is 131 feet high with the blades extending 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.

The cost to install a wind turbine of OWC’s caliber is typically $1.25 million with a Return On Investment (ROI) of 100% within 10-14 years based upon a 25% front-end investment and current energy costs. The actual ROI recovery period can be reduced significantly as energy costs increase. “I made the decision to 100% self fund this project because of the conservational benefits as well as the future cost of energy,” said Larry O’Connor, CEO, Other World Computing, in the press release. “With the kilowatt hour rate in the Chicago market up 24.3% since 1999, it only makes sense to use technology to lower our usage and costs related to traditional power sources.”

The OWC wind turbine installation is the most recent addition to the energy efficient, resource conserving, and low environmental impact OWC facility. The building, completed in 2008 and currently in the final approval stages for the highest LEED rating of Platinum, features:
• 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
• High-efficiency drinking water filtration system to eliminate need for delivered water
• Company-wide recycling with near zero waste generation
• Facilities for employees to commute to work by bicycle
• Low-impact cleaning products

OWC’s facility, with all of its energy saving technologies, is an ideal match for on-site wind power generation. “Our campus is designed to be vastly more efficient in resource utilization without sacrificing functionality,” said Larry O’Connor Sr., OWC Logistical Manager and building/turbine project coordinator. “As we do not use natural gas or any external fuel type for our heating needs, with the wind turbine now online, OWC has become an overall net producer of energy.”

For complete details and a pictorial presentation on OWC’s wind turbine project, as well as a virtual tour of its LEED inspired corporate campus, visit: www.macsales.com/windpower

Source: Other World Computing (OWC)

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats, OWC!


  1. Their prices will go up for a while – or their profit margin will suffer – and all the anti-green loons will cheer. Then they will get the beast paid off … and prices will drop … and the loons will cite history, rather than the current status. Until they can no longer ignore it.
    Good going OWC. It sounds like it was a huge project to undertake in a faltering economy. I’m sure it will be a benefit sooner than most people think.

  2. does this have anything to do with apple, or did MDN get too many letters from whiney loons that think the gas they exhale every 3 seconds is killing us all (even though its going to get colder for the next 20 years)?
    either way, congrats to OWC for gaining energy independence, and reducing the pollutants (CO2 is not a pollutant) that are put out by burning fossil fuels.

  3. Great news from a great Mac-oriented company. I’ve been buying computer stuff from them for years and recommending them to my clients — great prices and customer service!

  4. There is no other retailer, other than Apple itself, that is more focused on supporting Mac users. In some ways, they are superior to Apple as a retailer, because they create their own products through their OWC and NewerTech brands, to fill in the niche gaps left by Apple. They even partnered with Axiotron to create a Mac tablet out of a modified MacBook. Their product descriptions are 100% focused on Mac users. Interestingly, the one thing they are NOT is an Apple reseller. I’ve never had a problem with an order, and their sales and tech support staff have been very helpful on several occasions.

    And they must be doing pretty well, right along with Apple, to be able to fund such a project in the current economy.

  5. What MSN? No ignorant comments about man made global warming being a myth or at the least inconclusive because some scientists somewhere for whatever reason doesn’t agree with 99% of the world’s scientists?
    The evidence, should you care to review it, is incontrovertible and is being added to and further supported by new evidence every single day. The atomic signature of naturally occurring CO2 is different to man-made (fossil fuel burning) CO2 and is a simple matter to distinguish. That is how scientists can determine the human component. Whilst the natural levels have remained fairly constant, the made-made stuff has been rapidly rising over the past century. Rise of one leads to rise of other greenhouse gasses such as methane and natural CO2 as permafrost melts. Plants are growing in Antarctica for the first time in recorded history. The pacific island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati, amongst many others, are rapidly being inundated as sea levels rise.
    There are so many benefits to human society and the environment in moving to clean energy sources, even taking greenhouse gasses out of the discussion, that it is craziness not to move to clean energy. We also eliminate other environmentally accumulative toxins which are released and find its way into our food chain, and particulate emissions, which cause a whole host of serious and life threatening respiratory illness in humans, are also eliminated.
    And before someone bangs on about how clean nuclear power is, it is important to realise that it actually generates as much and often more CO2 than burning coal, because refining the uranium ore is hugely energy intensive. Plus you’re left with intractable waste which is deadly for tens of thousands of years and must be stored somewhere ‘safe and secure’. Something virtually impossible to guarantee.

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