Embedded deep in our DNA is a profound sense of responsibility for protecting the environment and promoting sustainable business practices. We’re always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact, while working to ensure a positive future for our local and global communities. We're just getting started.
In the fall of 2010, Boulevard began the process of becoming a zero landfill company. In early 2011, the last dumpster was removed from the main brewing facility. The brewery now recycles or composts almost all of its “waste” with a variety of local companies. The fraction that can’t be recycled or composted is incinerated by a local cement manufacturer to generate energy, with the ash used as an ingredient in concrete.
Before Ripple Glass, Kansas Citians threw away 150 million pounds of perfectly good glass each and every year. To our dismay, this included millions of empty Boulevard beer bottles—lost forever, buried in local landfills.
Area businesses use nearly 100 million pounds of recycled glass annually, 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 no local recycling.
We finally got tired of being part of the problem. So, with the support of local companies and community organizations, we came up with a solution—Ripple Glass. Ripple’s state-of-the-art processing facility and innovative metro-wide collection system has given a big lift to glass recycling throughout Kansas City and the entire region. In 2018, 468,000 Kansas Citians used Ripple Glass drop-off sites, and over 150 local businesses participate in the business recycling program. We’re proud to report that Ripple Glass recycled roughly 175 million Boulevard bottles last year alone and, since its founding in 2009, over 1 billion!
Our first 18 kW photovoltaic array was installed in 2011 on the roof of Brewhouse Two, and in 2019, we added a much larger 200 kW system atop our 24,000 square foot Canning Hall. This clean, renewable energy source reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and the electric grid, and speaks to who we are and our calling to serve as environmental stewards. Plus, it allows us to offer a free electric car charging station to employees and guests!
Boulevard’s closed boxes are a unique piece of our brand heritage, and a key part of our environmental push. All of our cartons are produced using 70% post-consumer recycled paper, and all are 100% recyclable. Our case trays contain 100% post-consumer material, and are also 100% recyclable.
By purchasing 1,064 tons of recycled materials last year, we saved approximately:
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, lower 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) systems are designed to deliver comfort as efficiently as modern technology allows. Our mixed-use buildings place a wide range of demands on the HVAC systems. This challenge has been successfully met through the implementation of a zone control strategy in our Building Automation Systems. This technology makes heating and cooling adjustments based on real-time requirements in each zone, while leaving unoccupied, non-critical zones relaxed regarding their temperature settings.
Our brewing and packaging facility was also carefully designed to utilize natural sunlight, accomplished through large windows, large roof monitors (skylights), and light wells. 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, and installed one of Kansas City's first electric vehicle charging stations, allowing guests to charge their vehicles while enjoying their time at the brewery.
The brewery’s location in the urban core drives our desire to be an integral part of its ongoing renewal. Today, most breweries of any size are built on greenfield sites. Our commitment to the city is visibly expressed through our investment of tens of millions of dollars in our facilities, and in our neighborhood.
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.
Image courtesy of Normal Human.