Breweries Go Green: LEED Certification.

As climate change continues to be an urgent problem, green initiatives have infiltrated many industries, including the beer industry. Despite its sparse implementation, brewery owners are now recognizing the importance of achieving Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification. While many breweries prioritize sustainability, only a handful of them have had the foresight to back this priority with official certification. Read the article to learn how brewers can become certified and join the handful of the most sustainable breweries.

With demand for craft beer on the rise, craft breweries have been popping up in all corners of the United States. Not only do consumers love the taste of the craft beer, but many are attracted to the idea of sustainability-focused brewers which is occurring more and more in this space. Although many breweries prioritize sustainability, less than a dozen have achieved the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification. To understand what this certification is and how it can help breweries prioritize sustainability in a tangible way, here is a guide.

What is LEED Certification?

LEED certification is a process by which a building is awarded points earned through innovations in the building of said building. The US Green Building Council hands out points based on four areas: energy, water, materials, and indoor environment quality. The premises with the highest total points count will then receive the LEED certification. Through this point system, it helps to incentivize new building designs that lean more toward sustainability.

Is it Environmentally Friendly?

Without question, LEED certification is an environmentally friendly methodology. During the whole process, US Green Building Council encourages maximum energy efficiency, as well as the use of renewable energy sources and sustainable materials.

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How Can LEED Certification Help Breweries Prioritize Sustainability?

Given that breweries tend to use large amounts of energy, water, and materials, LEED certification can be key when it comes to making sure all bases are covered during the sustainability process. Here are some of the ways that LEED certification can help:

  1. Encouraging renewable energy sources: Due to the reliance on energy, breweries that are looking to prioritize sustainability can do so by introducing renewable energy sources. Implementing a solar or wind system can drastically reduce the amount of energy needed from the grid, reducing overall emissions.
  2. Reducing water use: Water is one of the most important resources for a brewery as it is used for the brewing process itself. With LEED certification, breweries can become incentivized for using efficient plumbing fixtures, creating an environment that retains and collects water, and using captured rainfall for irrigation.
  3. Choosing sustainable materials: For new building projects, the material selection choice can help the brewery score LEED certification points. Material choices, along with the recycling of already existing materials can favorably help the brewery's score.
  4. Supporting indoor environment quality: LEED certification is all about taking into consideration indoor environment quality, which is key for every brewery, no matter the size. Factors such as adding natural day light into the workspace, installing an optimized ventilation system, and making sure there is enough air quality control are all important measures that can be taken when trying to reach LEED certification.

Advantages of LEED Certification for Breweries

Getting a LEED certification for a brewery can be beneficial for many reasons:

  • Economical Benefits: Although its costs can vary, LEED certification can actually be cost-efficient over the long-term when looking at the total cost of ownership. Not only does it incentivize the use of renewable energy sources, but through potential cost-saving measures such as water retention and use of green materials, a brewery can save some money.
  • Marketing Opportunities: LEED certification is a great way to gain some attention in the press and online with consumers who look for these kinds of sustainability efforts. Not only will it bring more customers/visitors, but it also builds trust.
  • Insurance Discounts: With the large impact breweries can have on their local environment, getting LEED certification can prove to insurance companies that the brewery is doing its part and is making conscientious efforts towards sustainability. As a result, they may be able to get discounts.
  • Tax Benefits: Depending on the state in which the brewery operates, tax benefits may be available through having LEED certification.
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Examples of Breweries with LEED Certification

Although less than a dozen breweries have achieved this certification thus far, there are some examples of breweries that have. Here are some of the breweries that have achieved LEED certification:

  • New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado achieved the highest level of certification—LEED Platinum. This large craft brewery has achieved its certification due to innovative measures such as
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