Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers thrive on green efforts

Passionate about the environment and looking for a way to break into the nation’s nascent green industry, Brandon Gador and Ted Durkee developed an original product that seems almost inevitable.

“We hear all the time, ‘You guys are the first to think about that? I can’t believe no one else has thought about that before,'” Durkee said.

In fact, Durkee, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin, and Gador, who graduated from UW last spring with a degree in marketing, had to keep their idea under wraps for months as a protective measure. Only recently have they unveiled Powered Green Energy Seals to the public.


Powered Green Energy Seals are recycled aluminum adhesive decals that once purchased can be placed on the outside of a laptop computer.

The decal signifies the amount of energy consumed by that laptop over its lifetime that has been offset with renewable energy produced by wind turbines.

“There’s a lot of people that were trying to be green and show that they were green,” Gador said. “With renewable energy, there’s no way to really do that. So we saw an opportunity on a small scale for people to express that commitment to a sustainable form of energy.”

To start, Powered Green purchased 1 million kilowatt-hours of energy from a wind energy distributor. Then Gador said the company tested various models of laptop computers to determine how much energy one uses throughout its lifetime.

“We multiply that energy usage, running at 10 hours a day, 365 days a year for seven years. That came to 690 kilowatt-hours,” Gador said — the same amount an average household uses in a month.

In essence, when purchasing an Energy Seal, one invests in 690 kilowatt-hours of wind energy — a contribution that eventually leads to the construction of new wind turbines.

“Every time a new wind turbine is built, less carbon emissions and mercury emissions and sulfur dioxides are produced and released into the atmosphere,” Gador said. “At the same time, you’re reducing our dependence on all these polluting resources.”

So far, the reaction to the product has been positive. At the Wisconsin Trade Show for United States Green Building Council in September, Gador and Durkee introduced Powered Green Energy Seals to others in the field.

“We had just amazing feedback from people within the industry and even people that are selling renewable energy,” Gador said. “We knew right then and there that we’re on to something.”

Last week, Powered Green Energy Seals were launched at six Ancora Coffee shop locations in the Madison area, and the company is in talks with several businesses on State Street in an effort to bring the Energy Seals within the reach of students.

One of the loftier goals Durkee and Gador have for Powered Green is to someday work with UW’s We Conserve initiative and student organizations to offset the energy used by computers at all the UW kiosks and possibly all the computers on campus.

Brian Rust, communications manager at the UW Division of Information Technology, said there are 24 kiosk locations at UW, with a range of two to eight computers at each station. Between all of the info labs throughout campus, he added, there are around 1,000 computers.

“One seal that we sell reduces a thousand pounds of carbon dioxide,” Gador said. “Now multiply that by all of the desktops that run on this campus and everything else and you’re going to see some serious changes.”

Rust said there have been certain measures taken to reduce energy consumption of computer systems on campus.

“(The computers) draw the minimum amount of power that they need in order to function and … power down when they’re not in use,” Rust said.

We Conserve director Faramarz Vakili said though the initiative works to promote the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions on campus, the actual purchase of energy is a state-level decision. As of now, he added, there are efforts to incorporate renewable resources into the university’s energy consumption.

“The electricity that we purchase for the university, almost 97 percent of it is coming from MG&E, (which) has access to renewable sources,” Vakili said. “My understanding is that we pay extra to get 10 percent of all electricity from renewable resources.”

Although their budding company may face challenges in expanding to UW computers, Gador and Durkee remain as enthusiastic about their product as ever. Despite 70-hour workweeks and long nights of no sleep, the duo has never questioned their Powered Green venture.

“I dropped the majority of my classes less than a week after we came up with the idea,” Durkee said. “We’ve never once asked if this is the right thing; we’ve just known. This is it.”

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