January 11, 2010

Adobe HQ installs 20 new wind turbines

The Adobe building & maintenance staff sure keeps busy during company breaks: in the fall they installed more efficient HVAC systems, and over the holiday break they installed 20 Windspire wind turbines at the San José HQ:

Adobe estimates that it can get about 2,500 kWh per year per turbine. Comparatively speaking, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a typical U.S. home consumes ~11,000 kWh per year. So these turbines, in the aggregate, provide enough electricity to power about 5 typical U.S. homes.

Considering that wind has always made opening & closing the doors leading to the patio/basketball court inordinately difficult*, I predict good things. Here’s more info on the effort.
* Wind strength & the attendant humiliation always correlate to the hotness of whoever is walking by. Too bad we can’t harness that.
[Update: Here’s a rather cool time-lapse video of a wind turbine being assembled. [Via]]

Posted by John Nack at 4:21 PM on January 11, 2010


  • Rob — 5:36 PM on January 11, 2010

    Getting to the patio/basketball court has been inordinately difficult? What a hellhole Adobe is!
    [You forgot “Mac-hating”! –J.]

  • David A Rogers — 5:47 PM on January 11, 2010

    Well done Adobe. An elegant solution.

  • BooneJS — 6:21 PM on January 11, 2010

    Congratulations to Adobe for the wind turbine purchase!

  • Martin — 6:31 PM on January 11, 2010

    If you could get Al Gore to come by once a week and make a speech you would double your turbine output! (Yes, I live in the South where some global warming would be greatly appreciated right now.)

  • Jason — 11:09 PM on January 11, 2010

    There is rarely a day in our subdivision that I don’t feel some pretty powerful winds being funneled through the rows of houses. It gets so strong that some posts hanging street signs were knocked down from the strength.
    When that happened is when I thought about getting the subdivision to consider implementing some sort of community-based turbine solution. The discounts when compounded by building say ten per row of houses (there are roughly 50 rows of houses that span almost 30 city blocks) would be significant, and then the drfrayed cost when spread across the thousands of houses would be minimal.
    If you figure ten per row times 50 rows of houses = 500 houses of roughly a thousand in the community, means all our electric bills would be cut in half! The footprint of each would be dramatically reduced on the whole of it. And that’s assuming only the minimal product of 2000 kwh per turbine which I think we would exceed coming right off the Rocky Mountains and in the path of the Flatirons.

  • Mylenium — 1:57 AM on January 12, 2010

    You are over-simplifying. “Green” energy has a considerably varying availability over the day or different seasons. It’s not that you could arbitrarily build those things and hope they really cut your bills in half. Micro-level energy management only makes sense, if it is part of a larger network (“intelligent energy net”) with mixed sources, something which is being discussed and tried a lot in Europe already.

  • heron keller — 5:28 AM on January 12, 2010

    Aprovo todos os projetos que ~de alguma forma são a favor do meio ambiente. parabéns adobe!

  • John Hoffman — 10:31 AM on January 12, 2010

    Wind turbine generators are rarely economic except in especially windy areas where the wind is funneled between two rows of mountains. When you consider the purchase and installation costs, maintenance and repairs, and the cost of disposal at end of life, they rarely break even without Government subsidies. That is particularly so since the greatest demand for power is at mid-day in summer when it is hottest, and the winds blow mostly at dawn and dusk when the temperature is changing. Furthermore, the turbines function well only where the wind is fairly unidirectional. Swirling winds tend to wear out the gears prematurely.
    Finally, the turbines make noise which is often offensive to those in close proximity and the blades kill a lot of birds if placed in an area where birds live.
    That’s not to say that wind turbine generators do not make sense in some situations, but they are not a panacea that can be used widely.

  • Jason — 8:21 PM on January 12, 2010

    WHile I may be over-simplifying for the purposes of demonstrating that it could also be beneficial in large sub-division areas where the subdivision is literally thousands of homes laid out in rows. The placement of the homes creates the equivalent of “tunnels” to direct the flow of any air movement that comes through the area.
    Additionally, I have found that, as with anything, while some tend to over simplify, there are also many who choose to over-complicate.
    Kind of like the Akum’s Razor principle – all things being equal, the simplest explanation is probably the right one, and one would have to make a pretty complicated argument to convince me that investing in natural energy alternatives does not make long term sense – regardless of the time of day of input.
    Here in the States, there are many electric companies that pay you back if you use less energy than your renewable resources per kwh. So, if I am putting power back on the grid while I sleep at night, someone, somewhere is using it. Time of day doesn’t matter as much as you think because the utilities can store quite a bit before any surplus is expunged, and since this is a 24/7 society anymore (think global, act local), the investment in our future only makes sense.

  • Jason — 8:25 PM on January 12, 2010

    As mentioned further up – rows of mountains or rows of houses right off the mountains, wind tunnels exist in more places than you might think…
    As for noise and bird populatio considerations, if the wind (as claimed) is strongest only at very early and very late times, then most would likely be in the muffled silence (or near silence) of their residences. Additionally, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out where birds nest and to not place devices too near those migratory patterns. Again, over-simplification is dangerous, but over-complication is equally dangerous.

  • Kevin — 12:06 PM on March 15, 2010

    Did Adobe or Mariah power do ANY up front assessment to determine how much power these would produce. A small investment in measuring the wind at this location could have determined if this spot was actually good for installation.

  • Chris Cox — 1:04 PM on March 15, 2010

    Many days it’s hard to open the doors on the Adobe patio because of high winds. I don’t think they needed too much measurement (but they did some anyway, and for other locations with the same turbines).

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