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‘Cheers’ to Belgium brewery as it ‘LEEDS’ the pack

New Belgium Brewing has earned a trio of LEED certifications on all three of its Asheville facilities for its liquid centre tasting room (platinum), brewery (gold) and distribution centre (silver).

Several innovative features are incorporated into the design of each facility, including an urban brownfield reclamation, repurposed materials from deconstructed buildings, LED lighting, high-efficiency cooling and distributed heating and cooling, solar hot water and photovoltaics (PV), natural ventilation, storm water best management practices and brewing process recovery and HVAC and process heat recovery, according to a recent press release.

“Healthy buildings are becoming the norm, good for the people who use them, the environment and our business’ triple bottom line,” says Bethany Beers, New Belgium Building and Energy engineer. “Our Asheville campus showcases thoughtful and efficient design, and honors the natural resources that we depend upon to make our product.”

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third-party certification programme from the US Green Building Council that recognises best-in-class building design, construction and operation strategies. A project receives a certification level depending upon the number of points achieved: certified, silver, gold or platinum.

LEED platinum – liquid centre
To earn a platinum certification, the liquid centre was designed with sustainability as the paramount goal. Low-energy systems such as radiant floors, natural ventilation and LED lighting are featured throughout. The addition of a PV array on the roof makes the building exceptionally efficient. Collectively, the LC has an estimated 60% savings in energy costs.

New Belgium revitalised an 18-acre urban brownfield to align with a sustainable in-fill and redevelopment strategy. The company deconstructed the former stockyard buildings on the site and reclaimed or repurposed many of those materials throughout the campus.

Captured rainwater is collected in underground cisterns at the Brewery and above ground cisterns at the liquid centre. In addition to rainwater recovery, water is also recovered at different points in the brewing process, capturing hot steam and condensing it, allowing collection and reuse of both heat and water.

LEED gold – brewery
New Belgium worked with vendors to set aggressive energy, water and brewing performance goals. The brewery is designed to recapture heat and water in many areas of the brewing and packaging process. The sawtooth roof on the packaging hall allows natural light, as well as space for potential future solar PV. Large windows allow daylighting in office areas and an event space, with lighting controls to reduce the LED lighting usage even further. Locally sourced materials were used throughout the construction, and the finishes in the building were specifically kept to a minimum, chosen for their durability.

LEED silver – distribution centre
Earning a silver level certification, the DC was designed primarily as a cold storage warehouse facility that includes office space. From motion-censored LED lighting to locally sourced and recycled building materials, the 141 000-square-foot warehouse uses nearly 27% less energy than a traditional building, and is built with the health of both employees and the environment in mind.

During the building process, more than 31% of materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the site, while 82% of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

The LED lighting uses 20% less energy than conventional lighting system, and is complemented by skylights which provide diffuse natural daylighting throughout the storage space, while protecting beer from direct sunlight. A solar reflectant roof avoids a heat island effect.

The comprehensive landscape design naturally captures stormwater from impervious surfaces to avoid waterway pollution and erosion, and the building’s restrooms and kitchen are 46% more water efficient than a typical code-compliant baseline building. More than half of the site is covered in native vegetation and landscaping, providing species habitat and a connection to the outdoors.


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