MORE THAN CARING FOR THE EARTH
When most people think of the word “sustainability,” they think of “green” or “environmentally-friendly.” Though these associations are helpful, they don't always tell the whole story.
We view sustainability as the capacity for our business to thrive in future generations through the practices of environmental stewardship, economic robustness and social integrity.
Sustainability is an awareness of how an individual or organization impacts their surroundings over the long-term. It is the idea that if we are aware of how we impact our surroundings, we can act in ways that provide for economic, environmental and social benefits to ourselves (and our children) in the future.
Examples of how we approach sustainability here at Bell's:
- A modular, extensive sedum green roof above our warehouse increases insulation efficiency and extends the life of a waterproofing membrane.
- Our Comstock Brewery roof has a light colored exterior membrane to decrease the amount of heat radiation absorbed and reduces the need for air conditioning.
- A local farmer picks up spent grain and uses it to feed his dairy cows.
- With the Adopt a Highway program, Bell’s employees pick up roughly 50-60 bags of trash along M-96, outside our Comstock Brewery, three times a year.
- A partnership with nearby Avalon Farms provides our employees with an opportunity to participate in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Avalon farms is a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program certified operation located 10 miles away in Climax. The partnership allows us to support a local business and environmentally responsible agriculture while providing fresh produce with minimal food miles (thereby reducing the emissions of greenhouse gas associated with its transport).
- In 2015, bike racks were installed to support employee and visitor bike commuting. An outdoor Fix-It Station with bike repair tools for employees and guests at the brewery will be added in 2016.
- High efficiency lighting includes reflective light tubes located throughout our buildings that provide daylight harvesting which is supplemented by occupancy controls if needed.
- Outside air is used to cool the cold storage warehouse during colder months.
- A kettle stack condenser reclaims 10.6 million BTUs a day.
- A heat exchanger not only cools wort so yeast can thrive to ferment healthy beer, it also pre-heats carbon filtered water that goes into subsequent batches, reclaiming 17 million BTUs a day.
- A 16-ton closed loop geothermal field provides heat for our corporate office building.
- An 85-ton geothermal field that is roughly the size of half a football field controls the temperature for our Comstock Brewery using glycol filled tubes to exchange heat eight feet underground. A 3-acre hop yard is now on top of this field.
- An ammonia based refrigeration system installed in 2014 will save over a million kilowatt-hours per year.
- Energy efficient LED lighting illuminates all exterior areas.
- Heat recycling: A new energy storage system stores 3.3 million BTUs.
- Large (Big Ass) fans reduce the need for air conditioning and heating at our brewery.
- A 400 hp process boiler with 84-percent overall efficiency conserves and recycles energy for steam production used in all process heating, mashing, boiling, keg cleaning and sterilization.
- All cardboard, paper, stretch wrap, green plastic banding, keg caps, wood, electronics, batteries, scrap metal, aluminum and amber glass from the production process are recycled.
- In 2015, Bell’s recycled over 300 tons of materials.
- Our Comstock Brewery landfill diversion rate was at 91% in 2015.
- Sub-meters track water use in the brewhouse, cellar and on both the bottling and kegging lines, reducing water usage.
- A cellar C.I.P. (Clean-in-Place) system has reduced the amount of water to clean tanks by about 65 percent.
- A filler vacuum pump design reduced water that goes to drain from 15 to 2 gallons per minute, saving about 2.5 million gallons of water annually.
- The Bell’s Bio-Energy Building processes more than 100,000 gallons of wastewater daily converting pollutants into renewable energy for use at the brewery. Came online in December, 2014. It received the Engineering Honorable Conceptor (sic) Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies Michigan in 2016.
- Energy is generated with a combined heat and power engine (CHP). By capturing heat from the process of generating electricity we achieve a greater than 80% efficiency.
- Most electricity generation is about 33% efficient. The system generates more renewable electricity and heat then the entire treatment process consumes.
- Excess electricity offsets the brewery’s demand.
- Excess heat is used to heat the water used for cleaning in the brewery.