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Earth Day News: OWC Wind & Solar Energy Production to Exceed 100% of its Nationwide Energy Consumption Needs

OWC Product Philosophy of Maximizing Resources
Successfully Extended to Business Sustainability Initiatives

Woodstock, IL – April 22, 2015 – Other World Computing (OWC), a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today on Earth Day that as part of the company’s sustainability program, it will soon produce enough on-site wind and solar power to cover all energy needs for four facilities in three states (Illinois, Texas and Nevada), becoming completely energy independent due to its adoption of alternative energy sources.

OWC provides customers with products that allow them to maximize the longevity of their technology products and to improve the performance of those products.  Since 2003, OWC has worked to extend this approach to its business operations, with the result that the company currently recycles 97 percent of its solid waste materials; received LEED® Platinum Certification by the Green Building Certification Institute in 2010; and will soon reach its goal of generating more power than it consumes.

Energy Independence
OWC has focused on facility efficiency to reduce energy requirements with technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling systems and on-site renewable energy production for the provision of energy needs.  The company kicked off its alternative, on-site energy generation program with the installation of a Vestas V39-500kW wind turbine in 2009, and quickly became the first manufacturer/distributor in the U.S. to become 100% on-site wind powered.  OWC’s headquarters in Woodstock, Illinois currently generates more power than is consumed at this location, where approximately 176 of OWC’s 215 team members operate from today.  The excess power flows out to the local power grid, providing a renewable source of energy to other energy consumers in McHenry County.

OWC has also adopted solar power as an energy source.  In late 2012 and early 2013, OWC opened two new locations in Texas, and soon installed solar panels on the roof of its downtown Austin location. The highly efficient panels installed now generate approximately one-third of the power consumed by this three-story building, including the majority of power that is consumed by the third floor occupied by OWC.  As in Woodstock, excess power that accrues during low usage periods is put out onto the Austin Energy grid.

OWC’s current solar and wind generation still provides for approximately 88% of its total annual power needs, and OWC stipulates that any remaining power be purchased from available local renewable power providers. The goal is to generate beyond the need of the organization at large.  To achieve this, a new project has already commenced to utilize the roof of the 37,000 square foot Woodstock HQ operation for solar generation.  Following the completion of this project, expected by early summer 2015, OWC will not only generate more power than is used at its four facilities, but will also add excess, clean wind and solar energy to the local power grid, and be able to continue to self-power as OWC continues to expand.

“Everything we do at OWC is about going further,” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO of Other World Computing. “Taking technology further, enabling existing technology to go further with better performance and greater lifetime of productive use, and going further in support of our customers and their technology needs. Using proven technology to see our natural resources go further and reduce consumption and waste benefits the world we all share for today and our children tomorrow.”

The Illinois headquarters also benefits from a geothermal heating and cooling system.  Water is pumped into geo-wells set more than 200 feet into the ground, moving from the building to below ground level and then back, day after day, year after year.  If the water becomes warmer in the summer when passing through the building, it will give up that heat to the earth, 200 feet below the surface, where it is always a range of 47 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The process works in the reverse during cold weather months. See

Starting with an aggressive corrugated box recycling program in 2003, OWC has expanded its solid waste recycling program to include all paper, plastic, and aluminum cans. The total of recorded recycled solid waste in 2005 was 32.5 tons. After moving to its new facility in 2008, OWC’s tally of recycled solid waste from 2008 to 2015 reached an impressive total of 287.3 tons — materials that otherwise would have become part of the solid waste stream.

Non-recyclable materials such as food materials from the staff lunchroom go into a solid waste compactor, after being monitored to extract any recyclable materials. And a composting program for a new onsite employee garden has further reduced food waste, resulting in a compactor box only needing to be removed about every 11 months.

OWC continues to work at bettering its 97 percent solid waste recycling record by only using recyclable plastic and aluminum containers in company vending machines. OWC also takes “green” even further by helping with local fundraising efforts, through donating aluminum cans to a local animal shelter and used printer toner cartridges to local schools. And by using native plants in landscaped areas, OWC helps conserve water.

Green Buildings
As part of its mission to design its new Illinois headquarters to be “green” from the ground up, OWC participated in the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. The result was that the new OWC corporate campus was awarded LEED® Platinum Certification in March 2010 by the Green Building Certification Institute, the highest achievable level. OWC’s headquarters also earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR® rating for building operations that perform in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide.  

About OWC
OWC is the manufacturer and upgrade provider of choice for Apple and PC enthusiasts and has been providing OWC memory upgrades for Apple computers since 1989.  For the last decade, OWC has been building SSD upgrades specifically for Apple computers, winning multiple awards while also earning accolades for OWC External Drives and OWC Optical Drives.  

Company Contact: Bill Herring, 512-412-4009

Agency Contact: Karen Thomas / Eva Yutani, Thomas PR, 631-546-7575 
[email protected]