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Brewery ferments energy savings with lighting

Bottling up energy costs: The beer isn't the only thing they're capping at Smuttynose. They've kept power costs low, with LEDs and natural lighting serving as key ingredients.

A year after opening its 14-acre environmentally friendly brewery and pub, New Hampshire’s largest craft beer maker is on track for significant energy savings, with energy efficient lighting a key contributor.

Smuttynose Brewery relocated to its site in Hampton, New Hampshire in May 2014 aiming to showcase green brewing practises. In those 12 months, ‘the heavy investment in energy-conscious design and equipment has met or exceeded management expectations for positive impact on the bottom line,’ the New Hampshire Union Leader reported. 

The company will save $2.3 million in energy costs over the life of the equipment according to Unitil, the utility that helped Smuttynose develop its eco approach.

Smuttynose, whose elixirs include Really Old Brown Dog, Bouncy House IPA, Baltic Porter and others, quips that it is achieving its sustainability goals by deploying ‘spiffy German brewing equipment and all LED lighting.’

The Green Alliance, a New England group that promotes sustainable business, noted that Smuttynose has deployed motion controlled LED lighting throughout the premises, providing light only when it is needed. 

Smuttynose spokesperson J. T. Thompson told the Union Leader that natural lighting has also played an important role. 

‘The orientation of the building is a key component, so we can capture as much natural sunlight as possible,’ he said. ‘There are no spaces where you can stand in this building and not get natural light.’ The  building’s ‘boatload of windows’ not only saves on lighitng costs, but also ‘people are happier when they can look outside,’ he added.

The brewery is also using rooftop solar tubes which act like magnifying glasses to boost sunlight, according to the Union Leader.

Unitil estimates that the energy efficient lighting systems alone will save the company $187,000 over several years.

Other green measures have included capturing and using waste heat, and also capturing methane from wastewater treatment to generate electricity from biogas.

The company’s new location – certified by the federal government as a LEED (Leadership in Environmental Design) building –  is on the site of a 17th century farm, where Smuttynose keeps beehives that help pollinate the hops it grows on the premises.

The brewery takes its name from an eponymous, windswept island off the state coast.

Photo is from the Smuttynose website