Tech Company Goes Green in Woodstock

If you’ve been a Mac owner for a certain amount of time, you’re probably at least casually familiar with Other World Computing, the Woodstock, Illinois-based online seller of Apple computers, electronics, and accessories. What you may not know, is that OWC is one of the latest Chicagoland tech company to go green.

Other World recently became the first light manufacturing / assembly building in Illinois to be awarded LEED Platinum status. It hired Harris Architects in Palatine to head the project which included installing a geothermal heat pump, using high-tech insulation, and equipping the building with facilities that encourage people to ride their bicycles to work.

The most visible green element is the 194-foot-tall wind turbine. It generates more than double the power the company needs, so the rest gets sold to the local utility company and ends up in homes in McHenry County.

Most interesting to me is that OWC is engaged in sunlight harvesting. I first saw this on a science program in the 1990’s, where a Japanese skyscraper was using an array on the roof to gather sunlight, and then deliver it to cubicles via fiber optic cables. Eight of the last ten offices I worked in didn’t have windows, so this was something that got my attention and something I always hoped would become commonplace. Alas, it has failed to catch on as a “green” element as quickly as vegetative roofs or low-flow toilets. But maybe what One World Computing has done will inspire other companies to provide just a little bit of sun to those who toil in their cubicle farms.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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