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Waterloo Brewing Co.

Waterloo Brewing Co. Maintains Customer Promise of High-Quality Beer While Saving Over 290,000 kWh Annually Through Energy Efficiency

Waterloo Brewing Co., the craft brewing division of Brick Brewing Co. Limited, started out as a small craft brewery 30 years ago and has since become Ontario’s largest Canadian-owned brewery. One of the ways it has accomplished this is by implementing innovative, energy efficient upgrades throughout its facility to help reduce operating costs and to stay true to its customer promise of high-quality beer at a great value.
The brewer plans on continuing to invest and expand its Kitchener location with a focus on improving operational efficiencies and energy consumption. To accommodate growth without expanding the current electrical infrastructure, Waterloo Brewing integrated variable controlled drives and automation into its processes and upgraded facility lighting using incentives made possible through the Save on Energy Retrofit Program.
With over 150 motors running the bottling lines and associated processes, Waterloo Brewing made it a priority to understand the related energy costs and to find opportunities to lower energy consumption.
First, Waterloo Brewing integrated variable-frequency drive (VFD) controllers and automation systems to control the speed of its bottling lines. The VFD controllers allow the line to automatically speed up and slow down to accommodate changes in staffing levels or backups in bottle traffic. They also slowly ramp up the motor speed on start-up to avoid abrupt starts to equipment and product, while also eliminating the spike in electricity consumption when each motor starts. Overall, the new VFD controllers reduce energy costs and provide improved control over their processes.
Along with a continued focus on energy efficiency in its bottling lines, Waterloo Brewing also worked hard to improve the efficiency of the cooling system for its beer filtration process. “We used a wireless meter to aggregate data and it showed us that the pumps were running continuously, even on weekends,” said Phil Clayton, Maintenance Manager at the brewery. VFDs were installed to regulate the flow rate of the glycol in the cooling system using Save on Energy incentives. Now, the VFD controllers reduce energy costs by slowing the glycol pumps when less cooling is required by the beer filters and storage tank.
Save on Energy incentives were also used to upgrade facility lighting. “We needed to increase the amount of light in our facility and to upgrade to shatterproof bulbs,” explained Phil Clayton, “so we replaced over 100 existing indoor lighting and high bay lamps with a combination of new LED and T5 lamps in our facility.”
The brewery received over $15,000 in incentives for these projects, which will save approximately over 40 kW of demand and more than 290,000 kWh annually. This translates to more than $21,000 in electricity cost savings each year.
Once the VFD project wraps up, Brick Brewing will continue its plan to achieve further savings by updating its compressed air systems. “We have a budget to manage and finding utility savings is always a tough thing to do,” explained Clayton. “Returns on investment for these projects are typically longer than our capital requirements allow. The Retrofit Program cuts our payback period down, helping to ensure that the right projects become possible for us.”
“Working one-on-one with local businesses, like Waterloo Brewing Company, we are able to identify energy efficiency projects that have immediate financial gains for their business," says John Finch, Supervisor Conservation and Demand Management, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro. "Waterloo Brewing Company not only received an incentive through the Save on Energy Retrofit Program, but they reduced their annual utility bill by 13% which will continue to provide additional financial savings long-term. Through this program we are investing back into our manufacturing community and helping them to keep their businesses competitive.”
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