From EcoGeek.org by 03-12-2009
We’ve heard of data centers that are running on green power, though these are often mostly done through buying energy credits for distant generating facilities. But Woodstock, IL-based Other World Computing is the first to have 100% on-site wind power to run its operations. The 39 meter (128 foot) diameter, 500 kW turbine is expected to generate an estimated 1,250,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. This is more than twice as much electricity as is used by all of OWC’s operations. The facility is grid-tied, and will sell the excess power back to the local utility, as well as being able to utilize grid power as backup during slack wind periods.
Not only is this facility generating more electricity than it needs, the building that houses OWC is also anticipating LEED Platinum certification. A few of the features of the building include energy efficient ground-source heat pump systems for heating and cooling, rooftop fiber-optic light harvesting for lighting, occupancy sensors, water efficient fixtures throughout, and a company-wide recycling program. An interactive map gives more detail about all of the various ways they have optimized the facility to reduce resource use and improve energy efficiency.
Some purists might complain that OWC’s operations are not exclusively wind powered because of the grid connection and its use as a backup system. However, grid distribution of the excess power produced by the turbine, and the occasional reliance on the grid for backup power are far better use of materials and resources than what would be required in order to have on-site storage needed to operate entirely off the grid.