Spaulding Discusses Brewery Vivant’s LEED Pursuit

brewery vivant

For many businesses today, a top priority is developing a sustainable business model — and that doesn’t mean lasting for a third generation. Sustainability for businesses now refers to your carbon footprint, how green you are or how you’re lowering emissions.

Our environment has become a major focus for just about everyone, and in the brewing industry it has been no different. For a lot of brewers they realize the connection between the land and the beer they brew. Therefore, it’s a simple understanding that pursuing sustainability certifications has become a way of life.

For Kris Spaulding, the owner and sustainability director at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, being committed to a sustainable infrastructure was obvious.

BM: Aside from obvious environmental benefits, why did the brewer choose to pursue a LEED certification?

KS: Two main reasons. First, sustainability is a core value of ours so we knew we wanted our project to follow green building guidelines and LEED is a good way to ensure that that happens. [Second] we are located in a city neighborhood that already had a number of LEED certified buildings, so we knew the certification would be a good fit and something our neighbors would be excited about.

BM: What were some of the biggest challenges in achieving the certification?

KS: Juggling our limited budget, historic preservation requirements and making good long-term decisions with LEED in mind was a challenge for sure. As it related to the certification itself, being a manufacturer, we were unable to get any of the 19 energy related credits since we naturally use a lot of energy to make our product. We installed the most energy-efficient equipment we could, tested out numerous scenarios on paper and built in some closed loops within our system and we still achieved zero.

BM: How did you decide which level to shoot for?

KS: Our goal was Gold, but once we realized we wouldn’t get any for energy, we settled for Silver.

BM: What have been some of the biggest benefits to achieving the LEED certification?

KS: Unlike many other certifications, our typical customer has some idea what LEED is and holds us in higher regard because we are certified. It can serve as an entryway for a great discussion around sustainability in general and what that means to our company.

Since we were a new project we can’t compare our current state to a previous one, but we know we made the right decisions for the long-term regarding our equipment, systems, etc., so we know we are saving money now because of that.

BM: What tips would you or do you give to other breweries that may want to achieve the same LEED certification?

KS: I always warn breweries about the energy points [wink]. Outside of that, I tell others that it is a great way to feel secure that you are making good decisions about your building project since the criteria are in place and you ‘simply’ choose what credits you want to pursue based on your specific project and what is important to you. I also always recommend using a qualified and experienced LEED AP to manage the project from that end since they know what the right questions are to ask and when to ask them, so you won’t be scrambling to fix something last minute or undo something that could have been avoided if you were more educated on the minutiae.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Brewery Vivant Turns Warehouse into New Branding Opportunity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *