The Sauk City-based Vintage Brewing Co. has received an energy efficiency excellence award, becoming the only microbrewery in the state to earn the distinction.
On July 3, representatives from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and Focus on Energy, along with staff from Sauk City Utilities and Madigan Refrigeration, joined Vintage Brewing Company partner Trent Kraemer for a brief ceremony outside the Sauk City brew house and restaurant.
Jolene Sheil, Focus on Energy manager, presented Kraemer with the award. She said each year they present about 15 businesses with the honor. People nominate customers who “stand out,” Sheil said. In this case, Jeff Danielson of Franklin Energy and Focus on Energy nominated Vintage Brewing Co.
“We have a lot of breweries and microbreweries in this state, and Vintage is the only one to rise to the top with their projects. It says a lot about what they are doing here” Sheil said.
Vintage received $1,206 for a lighting incentive, $1,600 for a kitchen ventilation control system and $6,902 for a custom refrigeration system.
“Vintage is saving about $15,000 a year with all the different measures they took,” Danielson said.
The refrigeration system utilizes a control system on its rack compressor, Danielson said. By having the control system in place, it ensures the most efficient energy is being used for whatever the demand is. A sensor on a kitchen hood can detect the amount of heat being utilized and reduces the fan speed to save energy.
For Kraemer and the other Vintage partners, the up-front investment in energy efficient practices is worth it.
“We kept going back to the fact that the craft brewing industry are big energy users,” Kraemer said. “Certainly there have been precedent setters before us to try to lesson energy consumption, but it is a big investment, and a lot of businesses still don’t do it because of that.”
Kraemer said who a business selects as its contractor makes a lot of difference.
“When you tell a contractor you want to look into energy savings, they can tell you what things are worth it and what aren’t,” Kraemer said. “We chose Madigan Refrigeration because they are very forward thinking.”
Kraemer said over the life of the building, the energy-saving measures will have paid for themselves over and over.