Colorado craft beer brewers are setting the bar when it comes to sustainability efforts, according to a Rocky Mountain Institute blog post. The post cites New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins and Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont as particularly good examples of what beer brewers, as well as other energy-intensive industries, can do to reduce their energy consumption.
New Belgium is the first brewery to power 100 percent of its electrical needs from wind power. It has committed to reduce its energy intensity to 10 percent below 2008 levels by 2018 and has invested in equipment to help it meet that goal. Rather than heating the brew kettle to heat water, New Belgium uses a Steinecker Merlin Brew Kettle, which has an internal boiler plate. The kettle cuts the boiling time in half, thus allowing the company to reduce its natural gas consumption. The kettle also reduces the amount of water lost due to evaporation. New Belgium recycles waste heat from the kettle to preheat the incoming product. In 2010, it installed a 200 kW solar PV array and joined the FortZED Smart Meter program, working with the local utility to reduce peak energy demands. To help fund future energy-efficiency projects, the brewery has instituted an internal per kWh tax on any purchased electricity.
Left Hand Brewing Company installed a 4.8 kW solar PV array in 2009, which powers the brewery’s tasting room, offices and retail coolers. Its boiler incorporates a flash steam recovery system that uses captured heat for brewing and cleaning. As a result of this and other energy-efficiency measures, the brewery reduced its per barrel energy consumption by 13 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Photo via Shutterstock.