Solar Breweries Come to Michigan

© Corner Brewery

"In heaven, there are firetrucks that carry beer, not water."

So proclaims Arbor Brewing's Facebook page. As a TreeHugging beer drinker, I might add that beer in heaven is always brewed with renewable energy. (Heck, everything in heaven is done with renewable energy!)

From Sierra Nevada's off-grid brewery through New Belgium's wind-powered take over of beer aisles across the country, we've covered our fair share of greener beer options in our time.

Still, it's good to see AnnArbor.com reporting on the Arbor Brewing Company's solar install on two of its facilities as part of its Green Breweries program (one in Ann Arbor, one in Ypsilanti). And while the photovoltaic panels may grab headlines, it's good to see that this is part of a more comprehensive, systemic energy efficiency overhaul. Unsurprisingly for a restaurant and brewery, a smarter approach to generating hot water is key to the energy savings being anticipated:

The $95,000 Arbor Brewing Company project included a 2.4 solar photovoltaic array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high efficiency tankless water heater system. They also switched to LED lighting in the facility.
The system is expected to offset gas usage by between 40 percent and 50 percent and electricity usage between 15 percent to 20 percent. Construction was completed Friday at the Ann Arbor location at 114 E. Washington St. with the installation of a DTE net meter that will track the amount of energy being generated.
“What we put on the roof was three portable solar panels that generate electricity, 10 solar thermal panels that heat water for the restaurant and brewery,” he said. “As of now, we’re going to get the majority of hot water for the restaurant and brewery from this.”

Here's to another brewery stepping up for more responsible beer. Check out Arbor Brewing to find out where you can raise your glass.

Or you can take a leaf out of Barack Obama's playbook and brew your own.

Tags: Beer | Corporate Responsibility | Drinks | Energy Efficiency | Michigan | Solar Power | United States