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Adobe Installs Windspire Turbines in Downtown San Jose

Jace Shoemaker-Galloway | Tuesday January 19th, 2010 | 8 Comments

Adobe Systems is yet another company that has jumped on the alternative power energy bandwagon.  Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Adobe Systems has installed 20 Windspire vertical axis turbines  atop the parking garage of its LEED certified office complex. 

While the feasibility of placing wind turbines in urban areas was once problematic, new integrated systems have made it possible for wind energy to be used in cities and residential areas.

The Windspires, installed last month, are the first wind turbines to be installed on a downtown San Jose building. The sleek and near-silent turbines, manufactured by Mariah Power, each stand about 30 feet tall, measure four feet in diameter and weigh about 650 pounds.   And the Windspires,  made in the USA, are made from 80 percent recycled materials.

Although Adobe doesn’t have enough room for a significant roof-top solar system, there is plenty of wind. The software company’s three office towers, which stand 16, 17 and 18 stories high, help funnel the wind across the roof of the parking garage, which also serves as an open-air patio, basketball and bocce courtyard for employees.

And because the propeller-free turbines turn more slowly making them more visible than traditional turbines, the manufacturer says birds and bats are less likely to be harmed. In fact, there have been no reports of bird collisions thus far. And because peregrine falcons and other birds are frequent visitors to the headquarters, installing a bird-friendly system was important. 

According to the company website, the 1.2 kW Windspire will produce about 2,000 kilowatt hours annually, in 12 mph average winds. It is anticipated the 20 turbines will produce less than 2 percent of the power used at the headquarters. According to Inhabitat, the San Jose-based company will eventually use the electricity generated from the turbines to power an EV charging station in the garage and the San Jose Semaphore.

While Adobe did not disclose the cost of the project, typical installations of the Windspire costs between $9,000 and $12,000 each, before the 30 percent federal tax credits and local rebates.

Photo image Mariah Power


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  • tomschueneman

    It would be interesting to know if Adobe has plans to actually track bird kills using wildlife biologists trained to monitor this. My brother-in-law is one, and my concern is the mention the facility is a known hangout for peregrine falcones and “other birds.” What is the criteria on which “no bird kills have been reported?” While these kinds of wind towers seem much better than bladed turbines, I think there should be caution in not dismissing this issue too easily – especially if the location is known for attracting birds.

    • Micmeade

      HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT HOW MANY BIRDS A NORMAL BUILDING KILLS??? WOULD YOU RATHER OUR CHILDREN CAN BREATH IN 20 YRS OR SAVE A COUPLE OF BIRDS???

      • Tom

        Do you know how many birds a “normal building” kills? A “couple of birds”? Really?
        Are you sure your shouting at me is based on a real understanding of the issue and my comment? I'd question that if you see this as a choice between saving a “couple of birds” or my children breathing in a couple of years. This either/or thinking is what will block progress toward a sustainable future. The environmental effects of wind turbines (technically not a “building” – normal or otherwise) should be considered, so they can be rolled out as a viable solution.

        • nickaster

          I think Micmeade has a CAPS LOCK problem

  • Dave Shires

    Are they cost effective, though? At only 2% these are really just symbolic. Not that it's a bad thing, but do they at least pay for themselves? I'd like to see these buildings reduce their footprint a lot more than 2%. Is Adobe doing anything for efficiency in them? For their data centers and so on? You can make a much bigger impact that way!

    • Hrishikesh Sathawane

      Its surprising that this article make it sound like this is Adobe’s first green initiative. Adobe is in fact a leader when it comes to sustainability and is active in this area for a long time. It already has ten LEED certified buildings including its downtown SJ buildings. I am sure you will easily find plenty of material detailing Adobe’s green initiatives online. 

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  • Lee

    I wonder if Adobe is emplying any Vanadium Redox Battery systems, etc., for capturing and storing the energy generated during non-business hours??

  • Lee

    I wonder if Adobe is emplying any Vanadium Redox Battery systems, etc., for capturing and storing the energy generated during non-business hours??

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