The Land-Grant Brewing Company's Sun-Grant Series is inspired by the Sun-Grant Association, a group of Land-Grant Universities that research and develop sustainable and environmentally friendly bio-based energy alternatives.
Brewing beer depends directly on nutritious soils, clean waterways, and a healthy climate. Without vibrant ecosystem services, the wheat, malts, and hops that go into our beer wouldn’t be as nutritious or flavorful, and the beer would suffer for it. Mashing, boiling, fermenting, and packaging that liquid gold requires a whole lot of energy, which means more greenhouse gases emitted that add to the effects of climate change, and directly impact the natural environment we depend on so much. It’s a vicious cycle, but we’re cutting our energy consumption to lower our carbon footprint, and that starts with measuring and managing.
In 2018 we took several large steps to address our onsite utility usage and reduce our immediate carbon footprint, including replacing our roof, sealing our building’s envelope, pursuing industrial energy efficiency projects, piloting an energy metering project, and purchasing only renewable energy.
Using resources and tools provided by the Brewers Association, we’ve been able to track our utilities and compare them with other breweries of similar sizes, which has shown us that we can be more efficient by creatively managing our resources and being conscious of our consumption in our brewing process. We aim to cut our energy use per barrel by 69% over the next three years, which will prevent nearly 130,000 lbs/59 tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere.
WHITE ROOF / ROOOF REPLACEMENT
In 2018 we began work to close the envelope on our building and to make efficiency upgrades to our equipment, working with the Franklin County Finance Authority to secure Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing to accelerate this effort. The first step of this process entailed working with GoSustainable Energy, a local energy engineering and consulting agency, to identify which projects would be the most impactful to reducing our carbon footprint.
In the midst of this process, the US Small Business Association changed their guidance so that any recipients of SBA 504 loans are no longer eligible for PACE Financing. An SBA 504 Loan is a common loan designed especially to help small businesses grow, and it is a loan we used to grow our own brewery.
While frustrating, this delay did not prevent us from rehabbing our building’s roof. Since January 2019, we have been working to rehab and replace our ancient roof with a more insulated and more reflective white roof, a sustainable type of roofing that can reflect back up to 90% of light emitted, while also reducing our need for using heating and cooling to regulate temperatures in our production space.
INDUSTRY SPECIFIC ENERGY METER PROJECT
Throughout 2018, we worked with Power Sage, a local energy metering company that pairs energy meters with machine learning to anticipate energy usage spikes and dips, to develop a brewery specific energy meter, in an effort to greatly dig into our energy efficiency goals. One of the challenges of energy efficiency is not having access to real time energy usage information, and though there are many case studies purporting the benefits of energy meters in industrial settings, no such case study exists for the craft beer industry. In partnering with Power Sage, we hoped to develop this case study and determine whether or not we could use energy meters to further reduce our on site greenhouse gas emissions.
Towards the middle of the year, the project was put on hold, as PowerSage entered into a partnership with IGS. After some legal negotiating between the two, the project has been restarted with the full force of IGS’ Innovation Team to further develop the metering project, and expand its scope. We look forward to furthering this project in the hopes that we can develop an easily implementable energy efficiency solution for craft breweries everywhere.
PURCHASING RECS WITH IGS / SOLAR SOURCING WITH IGS
All of the energy that runs our brewery has to come from somewhere, and though all of the energy in Columbus runs through the same powerlines, not all of that energy comes from the same place. In 2018 we had the opportunity to renegotiate our energy contracts and began purchasing only renewable energy to power our brewery through IGS’ renewable energy credit (REC) program. This is a huge win in our path to pursue sustainability, as it essentially means that our brewery is now powered by only renewable clean energy. If you can’t cheers to that, I don’t know what you can cheers to. So, cheers!
FUTURE INDUSTRIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS
Though we were able to press forward with our roofing project, the most significant project from our audit with GoSustainable Energy, it did lead to us having to delay significant industrial energy efficiency projects that would reduce our energy consumption by nearly 25%. Implementing these projects will be a large focus of our efforts in the immediate future.