New Belgium Brewing earns LEED® certifications

A sky view of New Belgium Asheville's campus on Craven Street in the River Arts District.

Asheville Liquid Center, brewery, distribution center honored 

New Belgium Brewing earned LEED® certifications on all three of its Asheville facilities — Liquid Center tasting room (Platinum), Brewery (Gold), and Distribution Center (Silver). A number of innovative features are incorporated into the design of each facility, including: an urban brownfield reclamation, repurposed materials from deconstructed buildings, LED lighting, high-efficiency cooling and distributed heating and cooling, solar hot water and photovoltaics (PV), natural ventilation, stormwater Best Management Practices and brewing process recovery, and HVAC and process heat recovery.

“Healthy buildings are becoming the norm, good for the people who use them, the environment, and our business’ triple bottom line,” said Bethany Beers, New Belgium Building and Energy Engineer. “Our Asheville campus showcases thoughtful and efficient design, and honors the natural resources that we depend upon to make our product.”

LEED®, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design™, is a third-party certification program from the U.S. Green Building Council® that recognizes best-in-class building design, construction and operation strategies.  A project receives a certification level depending upon the number of points achieved: certified, silver, gold or platinum.

LEED® Platinum – Liquid Center
To earn platinum certification, the Liquid Center was designed with sustainability as the paramount goal. Low energy systems such as radiant floors, natural ventilation and LED lighting are featured throughout. The addition of a PV array on the roof makes the building exceptionally efficient. Collectively, the LC has an estimated 60 percent savings in energy costs.
New Belgium revitalized an 18-acre urban brownfield to align with a sustainable in-fill and redevelopment strategy. It deconstructed the former stockyard buildings on the site and reclaimed or repurposed many of those materials throughout the campus. New Belgium partnered with the City of Asheville on three major aspects of the site improvement: a stream restoration; development of a greenway; and development of Green and Complete Street upgrades, benefitting the adjacent neighborhood.

Captured rainwater is collected in underground cisterns at the brewery and above ground cisterns at the Liquid Center. In addition to rainwater recovery, water is also recovered at different points in the brewing process, capturing hot steam and condensing it, allowing collection and reuse of both heat and water.

All of the parking areas and roads drain rainwater runoff into a variety of Stormwater Treatment Areas (bioswales, bio-retention, constructed wetlands, and more) and the campus is a model for Low Impact Development in the region. Pollinator friendly landscaping supports Asheville Bee City designation.

LEED® Gold- Brewery
New Belgium worked with vendors to set aggressive energy, water and brewing performance goals. The brewery is designed to recapture heat and water in many areas of the brewing and packaging process. The saw-tooth roof on the packaging hall allows natural light, as well as space for potential future solar PV. Large windows allow daylighting in office areas and an event space, with lighting controls to reduce the LED lighting usage even further. Locally sourced materials were used throughout the construction, and the finishes in the building were specifically kept to a minimum, chosen for their durability.

LEED® Silver – Distribution Center
Earning a silver level certification, the DC was designed by Finkle + Williams Architecture and is primarily a cold storage warehouse facility that includes office space. From motion-censored LED lighting to locally sourced and recycled building materials, the 141,000 square-foot warehouse uses nearly 27 percent less energy than a traditional building, and is built with the health of both employees and the environment in mind.

During the building process, more than 31 percent of materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the site, while 82 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. The LED lighting uses 20 percent less energy than conventional lighting system and is complemented by skylights which provide diffused natural daylighting throughout the storage space, while protecting beer from direct sunlight. A solar reflectant roof avoids a heat island effect. The comprehensive landscape design naturally captures stormwater from impervious surfaces to avoid waterway pollution and erosion, and the building’s restrooms and kitchen are 46 percent more water-efficient than a typical code-compliant baseline building. More than half of the site is covered in native vegetation and landscaping, providing species habitat and a connection to the outdoors.

“Building with environmental health in mind aligns with our values as a company, so it was an early and quick decision to do the work to certify the buildings,” said Jay Richardson, New Belgium Asheville General Manager. “Healthy work environments with natural lighting and ventilation, and support for active lifestyles keep our coworkers happy and healthy.”
In addition to a full benefit package, the employee-owned, Certified B Corp provides a bicycle to all coworkers at one year of employment, paid sabbaticals at ten and twenty years, annual wellness reimbursement, a free annual bus pass, covered bike parking and showers, as well as primary parking for hybrid and electric vehicles. About 130 people currently work for New Belgium in Asheville and nearly 800 nationwide.