The Denver-based Declaration Brewing Company is only about three years old so the energy and environmental focus for the business is different from that of other long-established companies, co-founder and chief “hoperating” officer Greg Schlichting said during a lightning talk at the Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference.
Schlichting, who has a PhD in chemical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, said the brewery bought a building so they were able to do a lot from the get-go around sustainability, including energy savings. The building required a lighting upgrade.
“We took a very big LED approach,” he told conference attendees during the brief session.
For Declaration Brewing, lighting wasn’t just about sustainability but safety. If an old bulb breaks over their process equipment, there may be mercury contamination. “You have to dump everything and get a cleaning crew in,” Schlichting said. “It becomes an expensive endeavor.”
The brewery’s biggest energy use is for heating and cooling the water that they use. So they concentrated on ways to take energy from that process and do heat recovery.
“Then on top of that we can look at having efficient heating mechanisms in our water heaters, which increase our process throughput by about six-fold, but also reduced our energy consumption by about 60%,” Schlichting said. They ended up with a payback of about a year on these systems, he added.
Seizing new sustainability opportunities that make fiscal sense is what they try to take into every aspect of business operations, from bulk sourcing to waste elimination and energy consumption. “There are a lot of things out there that are responsible and fiscally sound, and that’s what we should go after,” he said.
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