Buildings

Published on May 26th, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill

22

Intel Moves To Top HQ With Renewable Energy

May 26th, 2015 by  

One of the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturers, Intel is used to being on the top. Now, the American company is swapping things around, by making a bold move on top of their own headquarters in Santa Clara, with the installation of one of the world’s largest arrays of micro-wind turbines.

Intel has installed 58 micro-turbines atop the roof of their headquarters in Santa Clara, California, in what is a two-fold project aiming at providing renewable energy for the building, as well as acting as a proof of concept project, “in which Intel hopes to collect data that will help the company better understand green power and identify ways to continue evolving its sustainability programs.”

Intel-1

Renewable energy is by no means a new stepping stone for Intel, who has a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability. Earlier this year, the US EPA’s Green Power Partnership recognized Intel for the seventh year in a row as the largest voluntary purchaser of green power in the US, purchasing enough renewable energy certificates to meet 100% of its US electricity use for the year, which amounts to approximately 3.1 billion kWh.

More than that, however, Intel is also backing renewable energy projects, partnering with third parties to complete 21 separate solar installations across 12 Intel campuses, generating more than 12 million kWh per year of clean solar energy.

Maybe most importantly is the LEED Certifications that Intel can boast of, accruing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for more than 40 new and existing buildings across nine countries.

Intel’s new micro-turbine project, therefore, is just another in a long line of such projects that Intel hopes will keep them at the front line of sustainable manufacturing and business.

Intel-2

“Based on average local wind speed, we expect the micro-turbines to generate power about 65% of the time, most likely during the often-breezy afternoon hours,” said Marty Sedler, the Director of Global Utilities & Infrastructure for Intel Corporation. “The micro-turbines are JLM Energy “Zefr” model, a small and efficient unit that offers ease of application, making them very versatile.”

Image Credit: via Intel


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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.



  • Jacob

    Hopefully Intel shares the data with the public.

    After all, they export computer chips not wind-anything.

  • Dag Johansen

    Intel HQ is right along the take-off path from San Jose International airport so everyone will get to see them adding PV & wind turbines. The used to have a big “Intel Inside” logo right on the HQ building.

    • Jacob

      They have also removed the hilarious UBS rock star ad from YouTube.

      Why the hell would you delete hilarious history for?

  • Marion Meads

    I think those mini-turbines are just for PR, not really a significant source of power. But they could install solar on the roof and the windows and that would be really make a dent on the power consumption of the building.

    Would be nice to know the data that they will collecting, and I hope it will be available for viewing online by the public as a showcase. Some buildings can be designed so that they increase the windspeed for the mini-turbines.

    • GCO

      Well, every little bit helps, but I agree that this seems like a PR move.

      Those turbines peak at ~210W, basically the same as a single PV module… with winds of 30+ MPH. Output drops quickly below that, so while they indeed may be spinning “65% of the time” (from the article), I doubt they’ll be producing much overall. Certainly a lot less than regular PV, as you correctly point out.

      Specs here: http://www.jlmenergyinc.com/zefr

    • Larmion

      They are already one of the biggest backers of RE in the corporate world:

      http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/gallery/sap-renewable-clean-energy-goal-intel-microsoft-kohls-walmart

      http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm#intel

      They are at 100% RE use already. Now they added a little bit of fluffy PR to show it to everyone who visits.

    • Omega Centauri

      I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt, the article hints that they want to gather data from this microfarm. Maybe it is a proxy for larger windfarms. They must be aware that microturbines are not cost effective, but may be a cheap way to gain experience/data.

    • Dag Johansen

      Yeah, small wind is pretty useless inefficient. But it will generate some.

    • Jacob

      God I hope a politician does not make solar PV mandatory on windows! That would be hell.

      Let the market decide where the solar panels go.

      • Offgridman

        Catch up with the technology, the thin films or treated glass used for PV generation for windows have no different appearance than regular tinting. So the noticeable affect is just the same, reduced glare or heat influx, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two just by looking at them.
        So where is the ‘hell’ of that?
        There is no suggestion of any regulations requiring these, but a lot of new and renovated buildings with the solar exposure are going to start using them to compensate for on site energy needs.
        They could even be in buildings that you go in right now, and you wouldn’t even realize that they are being utilized.
        What’s the big deal?

        • Jacob

          I think in France they have recently mandated that solar panels be put on the roof of new buildings.

          Like nobody wants a tennis court or helipad on the roof.

          I suppose you do not mind letting government ban perfectly safe products.

          • Offgridman

            And once again you have not kept up with technology and are working with inaccurate information. It is only in a couple of cities that they are requesting rooftop systems to be installed because the population density is so high there’s no other place to economically install them. France will be in the process of building out their solar and other renewable sources over the next 20-40 years in order to facilitate the shut down of the uneconomic nuclear reactors. On top of buildings close to where the power demand is, and during construction to greatly reduce the installation costs makes a lot of sense for many reasons.
            If these buildings also want to have helipads (which are no where near as common as you seem to think) or tennis courts, there are solar panels strong enough to be incorporated in them, for a dual purpose roof. Or in the case of the tennis courts they can be mounted on elevated racks to provide shade, as it gets very hot in many of the cities during the summer and not many people are going to want to be playing during the the peak solar generation time.
            It just seems that your own paranoia about government intervention is making you come up with straw man arguments from incomplete understanding of modern technology. You seem to have forgotten that the continued use of fossil fuels for energy will make our world uninhabitable if we don’t get switched to these newer sources of energy. In some cases it may be government regulation encouraging it, but in most cases the costs of renewable energy have gotten so low that the only government intervention is going to be permits allowing it to happen.
            The world is continuing to change and in this case it is beneficial for a lot more people than just those getting the power from the renewable sources. You might as well get used to it, because you can’t stop it, the sheer economics of less expensive electricity and a degree of independence from the utility monopoly is making this a band wagon that everyone will want to join sooner or later.

          • Larmion

            Regardless of the merits of PV, I’m with Jacob on this one. Regulation should be technology neutral as much as possible, especially in a field that’s changing as quickly as RE.

            By all means set targets for new buildings, but why on earth should that be met through PV? Why not let the developer install solar hot water or a heat pump instead? Or let him invest in an offsite wind farm? Or why not let him forego RE alltogether and instead build to a much higher energy efficiency standard than required.

            All offer similar carbon savings to PV and can be easier and more profitable in many cases.

          • Offgridman

            So why not PV plus all those other options you mention? Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but doesn’t France also have policies towards LEED certification on new and renovated buildings?
            The only reason that I responded to him in the first place is because he expressed a concern that the use of solar PV windows would become a government requirement. Have you seen any sort of regulation towards this? They are going to be used in situations where it is economical to do so, and as he does not seem to understand the places where they are used he won’t be able to tell the difference from them with the normal tinting used on any type of large glass covered building.

          • Larmion

            But again: why single out PV in particular? PV is but one of many ways to reduce a building’s environmental impact, and not always the cheapest or most effective. You ask why not enforce some PV on top of another measure. I’ll counter by asking: why not more investment in said ‘other measure’ and no PV?

            The French regulations are a rather mild dry run for EU regulations that will come into effect around 2020. Those will require all new buildings to be ‘near zero energy buildings’, which means either extremely energy efficient (passive) or reasonably efficient with some self-generation (PV, solar thermal, heat pump, biomass stove,…).

            There are no plans for mandatory BIPV anywhere in the world afaik. Jacob’s initial post was clearly hypothetical: ‘I hope that X won’t happen’.

            Again, I’m very much in favor of goals that reduce environmental impact. But they should be simple and technology neutral. Set an objective and let individuals decide how they can best achieve that within their own preferences and abilities. Think PV is ugly? Don’t want to get rid of that huge tree shading your roof? Fine by me, there are plenty of alternatives.

          • Jacob

            Absolutely offsite offset. Leave rooftop tennis alone.

          • Jacob

            Requesting? Or making it mandatory.

            Hopefully I am allowed to have off site PV to offset the electricity use of the building.

            Leave rooftop tennis alone!

          • Obama

            Stop playing tennis and get back to work!!!

          • Offgridman

            “Leave rooftop tennis alone!”
            Well of course, that is definitely the most important requirement in seeing that we don’t destroy the balance of our atmosphere or cause the planet to become uninhabitable..
            As for your PV by my opinion you are allowed to put it anyplace you want, and you are sure not to have any conflicts at all with anyone else if it ends up someplace where the sun doesn’t shine.
            So just whatever, I give up, and admit that it is my fault for trying to have a conversation with such paranoid fantasies.
            Have a great day.

    • jeffhre

      I knew someone would say that, and I expected it to be in the first few comments. Joshua enumerated a list of things they do, and the latest one has to be followed up with – yeah, that’s nothing but ——-> publicity, PR, greenwashing —- by someone, LOL.

    • Silver

      ”Some buildings can be designed so that they increase the windspeed for the mini-turbines.” – Does anyone have useful information to learn more on this? I would love to do this on a new commercial building project i am soon initiating. Thanks in advance.

  • Ross

    Now that’s something you don’t see every day.

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