Sierra Nevada Brewing Sustainability
Looking down at the Google Earth image of he Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico California introduces an amazing story. The brewery has one of the largest private solar installations in the country with 10,751 solar panels covering 3.5 football fields and providing 20% of the brewery’s electrical needs. The Sierra Nevada Mills River North Carolina brewery has 2,000 solar panels.
Both breweries also generate electricity using microturbine technology with Chico generating 2 megawatts while Mills River generates on halt megawatt. Sierra Nevada introduces energy efficiency throughout its breweries, recovering heat from boilers, microturbines and brew kettles. Variable sped pumps and engines same energy by as automatically adjusting to demand while the company uses ambient light sensors to reduce lighting to account for natural light and uses motion sensors and timers to turn off lights when not needed.
Reuse, recycling and composting allows Sierra Nevada to divert nearly 100% of its solid waste from landfills. The US Zero Waste Council awarded the Chico Brewery Platinum Zero Waste certification. The Chico Brewery feeds 77 tons of spent grain and hops to local cattle and dairy farms each day to feed cattle. Since 2010, the Chico brewery has converted over 5,000 tons of organic waste from the brewery and restaurant into compost for the Brewery’s hop and barley fields and the restaurant’s garden.
The Chico brewery captures the CO2 generated during fermentation to use in the brewery.
Sierra Nevada uses rail whenever possible to transport products and raw materials. They convert vegetable oil used in the restaurant into biodiesel for use in its delivery trucks.
At its Mills River, NC brewery, Sierra Nevada has up to 530,000 million gallons of cistern space to capture rainwater form the facility to use at the brewery for non-potable uses. Both breweries recover biogas from the waste water treatment process and use it to fire their boilers.
The Sierra Nevada Mills river brewery in 2016 was the first brewery in the US to achieve LEED Platinum Certification.
The Sierra Nevada's groups from the US Green Building Council to the US Environmental Protection Agency have recognized Sierra Nevada with 19 different awards for sustainable, energy and environmental achievement. See the list here: http://www.sierranevada.com/brewery/about-us/sustainability/recognition
Find links to Reviews of Sierra Nevada Beer here: Sierra Nevada