Brewing a better future.
Embedded deep in the DNA of Boulevard Brewing Company is a profound sense of responsibility for protecting the environment and promoting sustainable business practices. We’re constantly looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact, while working to ensure a positive future for our local and global communities. Below you’ll find a few of our recent efforts.
In 2009 alone, Kansas Citians threw away 150 million pounds of perfectly good glass. To the dismay of everyone at Boulevard, this included some 10 million empty Boulevard beer bottles—lost forever, buried in local landfills. Kansas City businesses use nearly 100 million pounds of recycled glass every year (brought in from hundreds of miles away), so why almost no local recycling? Because there was no nearby facility to process the glass. And why no local processor? Because, in classic chicken-and-egg fashion, there was almost no local recycling.
We finally got tired of being part of the problem. So, with the support of local companies and community organizations, the brewery came up with a solution—Ripple Glass. We’re proud to report that in 2011, Ripple Glass recycled enough glass to produce nearly 100 million Boulevard beer bottles. For more information on Ripple and our local glass recycling efforts, click here.
THE STORY OF RIPPLE GLASS
In the fall of 2010, Boulevard began the process of becoming a zero landfill company, and in early 2011, the last dumpster was removed from the main brewing facility. The brewery now recycles most of its waste with local companies, from compost materials to plastics and scrap metal. All broken bottles and other glass waste goes to Ripple Glass, which in turn sends a portion of its final product back to our bottle manufacturer, giving Boulevard bottles a second life as, well, more Boulevard bottles.
Boulevard’s closed boxes are a unique piece of our brand heritage, as well as a key part of our environmental push. Both our 6- and 12-packs are produced using 70% post-consumer recycled paper, and both are 100% recyclable. Our case trays contain 100% post-consumer material, and are also 100% recyclable.
By purchasing corrugated products made from 100% recycled paper in 2012, we have saved approximately:
4,819,500 Gallons of Fresh Water
3,320,100 KWH of Electricity
2,249 Cubic Yards of Landfill Space
The brewery generates wastewater during the brewing, fermentation, and packaging of beer. Fortunately, this wastewater is non-toxic, and contains mostly organic materials such as yeast and—rarely, we hope—spilled beer. The water is treated on-site to control its strength and pH, and to comply with city requirements. We are actively investigating methods of collection, treatment and reuse of the effluent to reduce the load on our water utility’s infrastructure. Thanks to a few employees dedicating time to study facility water flow and consumption, we were able to reduce water usage at the plant by 12 percent in 2011.
Throughout our history, Boulevard has been committed to supporting local and regional businesses. From the Missouri-grown soft red winter wheat in our popular Unfiltered Wheat Beer, to the local farmers who use our spent grain to feed their cattle, Boulevard strives to employ sound, sustainable, common-sense practices—what we believe to be “better business.”
One of the most visible expressions of our commitment is over our heads…literally. The green roof on our brewhouse and packaging building reduces our heating and air conditioning loads (lowering our energy consumption) by increasing the insulation value where it is needed most—on the roof. The surface also absorbs rainwater, thus reducing runoff, while sustaining a variety of plant life. The plants, in turn, reduce the overall thermal footprint of the building, absorb CO2, and produce oxygen, all positively impacting the quality of life in the surrounding area.
Boulevard’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is designed to deliver comfort as efficiently as modern technology allows. Our mixed-use building places a wide range of demands on the HVAC system. This challenge has been successfully met through the implementation of a zone control strategy in the Building Automation System. This system makes heating and cooling adjustments based on real-time requirements in each zone, while leaving unoccupied, non-critical zones relaxed regarding their temperature requirements. The system employs outside air economizers to bring fresh air into the building during temperate periods. Cooling on hot days is accomplished by a high efficiency central chilled water plant that utilizes a non-CFC refrigerant. Low-loss electric heating elements provide heat for the entire system during the winter.
Our brewing and packaging facility was also carefully designed to utilize natural sunlight. This is accomplished through large windows, enormous roof monitors (skylights), and light wells. Secondary light sources are high efficiency compact fluorescents and high output T5 fluorescent tubes. All exterior lighting is controlled via photocells and timers to prevent the waste of energy. In 2011, we added solar panels on the brewhouse roof, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of three homes.
The brewery’s location in the urban core drives our desire to be an integral part of its ongoing renewal. Our geographic position in the heart of the city inspired us to invest in the installation of Kansas City’s fifth electric vehicle charging station. While there are currently only a few cars using it on a regular basis, the brewery is ready for more vehicles to charge while brewery guests enjoy their time at the plant.
And it’s not only the brewery that calls the central city home—a large proportion of our employees live within a three-mile radius of our plant. This, of course, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of vehicle miles associated with commuting activities of our staff.