It’s All About Energy Efficiency…

When going green meets efficiency, good things can happen in beer making. Most notably, cost savings.

Better milled grains leads to a higher percentage of efficiency in a brew house, which in turn means a better, and faster, brewed beer.

That means less time using electricity, less water usage and less man-hours. All these lead to less money going out from the start, which translates into savings.

Coachella Valley Brewing in Thousand Palms, California, has seen those savings quickly by using a new system called HEBS (High Efficiency Brewing System) that has yielded 95 percent efficiency in the 40-barrel brew house in the first year of production.

“It certainly has saved 4 percent in hop usage, and about 10 percent in grain (6,000 lbs. a month) so we are talking about 80,000 pounds in a year,” said brewmaster Chris Anderson. “That’s quite a bit of money.

“Operational costs, like having the lights on and keeping the gas running for your boiler, all those types of things. It’s harder to quantify but if your equipment is running for less time, you are saving money there.”

Although “going green” is a buzzword passed around a lot now by breweries, the practice is as old as time. “All brewers, regardless of if they are conscious of it or not, tend to be resources oriented and try to reuse something as much as possible,” said Ninkasi Brewing’s Jamie Floyd.

Ninkasi is creating their latest two brewhouses to be a rated building by the government’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Steam boilers that use 40 percent less energy per BTU output, using reclaimed water from cooling system to become the next batch of hot water and multiple uses of cleanser before being properly disposed is just a few of the many advances in the new brewhouses for the 100,000 barrel company.

“It’s a big step to be able to do that on site for us,” Floyd said.

Using HEBS was what Anderson said he had planned all along as he went from being a talented homebrewer into the professional circles.

“I wanted to use it because of the return on the investment and to keep down the cost in the long term,” he said. “It can pay us back in the long run.

“It was a part of our business plan and a part of our philosophy. … Luckily my partners agreed to go with it because it’s been such a labor saver.”

And saved labor means saved money. In the end, green can save some green.


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