Black Flannel brews up energy efficiency

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Chris Kesler and the Black Flannel Brewing Company(link is external) team are committed to starting a business that lives the team’s sustainable values(link is external). The team opened the brewery-distillery-brewpub at The Essex Experience(link is external) in early July 2020. They want to minimize the impact on the planet and commit to sustainability from day one. But economic sustainability is equally important. They want to create a business that can become a fixture of the community.Chief brewer Dan Sartwell watched his former employer, 14th(link is external) Star Brewing, save thousands of dollars each year through efficiency investments(link is external).“Brewing is an energy- and water-intensive process. If we commit to economic and environmental sustainability, we have to look at the energy we are using to make our beer.”The team reached out to Efficiency Vermont to understand how they could meet their twin sustainability goals. Efficiency Vermont brought in the VGS efficiency team(link is external) to look at how Black Flannel could also save on natural gas.Good beer needs a good chillerIn high quality beer making, the wort (the mix that will eventually turn into delicious beer) must be cooled from boiling before it can be fermented. One of the biggest energy users and operating expenses for a brewery is the chiller.  Brewery chillers are cooling units that utilize glycol to extract excess heat from a brewing process and dissipate it in a heat exchanger or refrigeration system. Typically, a chiller runs all day every day to keep the brewing process going. Many brewers use oversized, inefficient chiller systems that are based on rough sizing estimates to provide the cooling power necessary.We referred them to a few Vermont based suppliers of high efficiency chiller systems, and they chose a system designed by Huntington-based Dodge Engineering & Controls (DEI)(link is external). The model uses high-efficiency components and innovative controls to efficiently cool the beer. DEI’s detailed analysis revealed that Black Flannel could be served by a smaller system than they’d originally thought. The smaller chiller can even handle the brewery’s three walk-in coolers. Dick Soule Refrigeration, from Enosburg(link is external), integrated the chiller with the coolers to complete the highly efficient cooling system.Finally, to keep the team informed and accountable, they installed meters. With the meters they will be able to see the electric use and efficiency of the chiller system. This will help them identify maintenance issues quickly and share their findings with others in the brewing industry.All told, the new system is estimated to save Black Flannel $11,243/year in energy costs.Now we’re cooking with gasVGS(link is external) immediately saw an opportunity in the brewpub’s kitchen. They recommended a highly efficient kitchen hood with demand control ventilation(link is external). It only runs when particulates in the air reach a certain level, saving energy while maintaining air quality. VGS and Efficiency Vermont combined their incentives, since the hood will save on bothnatural gas and electricity. Together, Black Flannel offset more than 50% of the upfront cost of the new equipment.Other upgrades included efficient natural gas deep fryers that use 50-70% less fryer oil due to low idling energy. That also means less labor time spent cleaning and re-filling the fryers, and more time cooking tasty food. The fryers joined an efficient oven, broiler, prewash system and dish washers, and natural gas hot water heater to bring the whole kitchen to top-tier efficiency.“Black Flannel was engaged in this process from day one,” said Mike Gifford, Commercial Efficiency Innovation Lead at VGS. “They maximized their savings because they took the time to ask the right questions early and often. Following this model, we look forward to helping other breweries and restaurants do the same.”These efficiency investments will save Black Flannel over $9,600 on natural gas each year.Efficiency from the bottom upBlack Flannel’s business design has efficiency baked in. A distillery requires a lot of the same equipment and process as a brewery, for grain-based alcohols. By basing both out of the same business, Black Flannel only needed one system to create the mashes for the brewery and the distillery. This cuts their energy use for the processes in half.In fact, there’s not much about the equipment and processes the Black Flannel team invested in that isn’t efficient. Variable frequency drives (VFDs)(link is external) on their pumps will allow them to run only as much as needed. Dimmable(link is external) LED lights with motion-sensors(link is external) have been installed throughout the facility. They’ll turn on only when needed and provide welcoming light with LEDs that have a much longer lifespan than other lighting choices.Even the location supports the mission. Peter Edelman owns The Essex Experience. In 2018, he worked with Encore Renewable Energy to make the complex 100% solar powered.(link is external) He’s eager to help his tenants reduce their carbon footprint, including helping Black Flannel weatherize the business before they moved in.“Black Flannel will be one of the most energy efficient brewers and restaurants in the state,” said Pat Haller, Senior Energy Consultant at Efficiency Vermont. “That wouldn’t have happened without their engagement from day one and their willingness to work in collaboration to find innovative solutions at every level of their business.”In all, these improvements will help Black Flannel save almost $24,000 each year on energy costs.Ready for businessDue to the on-going COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, Black Flannel’s opening in July wasn’t exactly what they initially planned. They have more seating outdoors and space for social distancing. Their kitchen is focusing on take-out. They’ve also decided to can more beers than they had originally planned to.But Kesler, Sartwell, and the rest of the team were excited to turn the efficient machines on and put them to their intended use.“There are some really good breweries in Vermont. We plan to be among some of the best,” shares Kesler with a modest chuckle. “But we’re also aiming to create a unique experience for our customers to help them learn more about beer and the process of making it. I’m excited about sharing our passion and our love for brewing and tasting beer with other people.”Sartwell echoes the sentiment. “It’s going to be a really cool place to hang out and have a beer. I can’t wait to sit at the bar with all of our guests and enjoy talking beer with them.”Project Partners:VGS (South Burlington)The Essex Experience (Essex)Dodge Engineering and Controls, Inc (DEI) (Huntington)Dick Soule Refrigeration (Enosburg Falls)Nevtec LTD (Newport)Avonda Air Systems (South Burlington)Duncan Wisniewski Architecture (Burlington)Kittredge Restaurant Equipment (Williston)JA Morrissey, Inc. (Williston)Cummings Electric (South Burlington)PitcoJ&M FluidicsThis story originally appeared as a blog post on is external)last_img read more

Final meet for seniors will be bittersweet for coaches

first_imgFinal meet for seniors will be bittersweet for coachesJules AmeelDaily File PhotoMarch 12, 2009Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintThis NCAA Championship meet will be bittersweet for the Minnesota womenâÄôs swimming and diving team. This meet will feature seniors from coaches Terry Nieszner and Kelly KremerâÄôs first recruiting class. Minnesota hosts the meet at the University Aquatic Center today through Sunday. Kremer said itâÄôs not going to be easy watching the graduating seniors swim in their last meet of the season. âÄúItâÄôs going to fun to see them swim,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôre going to miss the heck out of this group.âÄù Fifteen swimmers will represent Minnesota at the meet, the most in school history. Seniors Stacy Busack, Christine Jennings, Yuen Kobayashi, Meredith McCarthy and Jenny Shaughnessy are making their fourth trip to the meet. Seven swimmers are entering the NCAA championship meet for the first time, four of which are first years. âÄúEvery year has gotten more and more fun,âÄù she said. âÄúRight now we are trying to stay relaxed and rested and ready to go.âÄù In order to get ready, practices are different than during the regular season, Shaughnessy said. Minnesota has a very well balanced team, Kremer said, with Minnesota being represented in every swimming event. Sophomore Jillian Tyler enters the meet with the second-fastest time in the 100 breast stroke and third in the 200 breast stroke. âÄúMy thoughts going into this meet are that we have the best team in recent memory,âÄù Kremer said. âÄúAs coach it gives you a lot of confidence and gives you a lot to be excited about.âÄù The last two years, Minnesota has finished 13th overall. This year, a team goal is to finish in the top ten, something the Gophers know wonâÄôt be easy. âÄúNow with this group of seniors, itâÄôd be nice to see them improve on their 13th place finish,âÄù Kremer said.last_img read more

Gurias earn hard fought win against Mioks

first_imgRugby League Agmark Rabaul Gurias managed to beat the Enga Provincial Government Mioks 20-10 in the last normal round of the Digicel Cup at the Kalabond oval in Kokopo, East New Britain last Sunday. The Gurias, with a near full-strength team and the return of its SP PNG Hunters players Ila Alu and Dilbert Isaac beefed up its forward pack in dominating the hard yards up front along with outstanding second rower Francis Takai who was predominately outstanding for the Gurias up front while hard working winger Elias Stanley was outstanding in the backs. Gurias brushed aside a more determined Enga Mioks outfit with its strong defensive game pattern in the second half with the 2015 premiers stepping up another gear towards the final countdown of cementing their spot in the top six for the Digicel Cup finals playoff. The home team was the first to score in the opening minutes through left winger Elias Stanley who crossed over the line after a well-placed high kick from half back Solomon Pokare to put the Gurias in front with Pokare adding the extras. Gurias came back strong again towards the end of the first half with a try to second rower Francis Takai as he dived over at the far end of the uprights to score another four-pointer. Mioks, however, retaliated through left winger Joel Nemiah after a good ball movement along their backline to score outwide for the Mioks before the half time siren went with the Guria leading 10-4. In the second half, both teams were applying pressure, defensive football as they put up strong attacking raids into each other’s territories with the Gurias looking fired up when Takai managed to make a 40m dash to score and extend Gurias’ lead. Again Gurias repeated the same dosage towards the dying minutes to send in big prop Gene Markham who barged his way to score next to the uprights with a successful conversion attempt. Mioks came back strongly to play catch up football towards the dying minutes of the game but to no avail as the home team managed to snatch victory. Mioks only managed a consolation try in the second half through reserve player Jodah Wesley, with Roger Laka finding the uprights to close the game 20-10.last_img read more