Going Green: Good for the Planet & The Bottom Line
HOPS ARE THE HEART AND SOUL OF WORTHY BREWING. Located in Bend, Oregon, Worthy brews a full portfolio of craft beers, including its new Strata IPA, Lights Out Stout, Easy Day Kolsch and Kama Citrus IPA. Our brewery was founded on the vision of bringing new hop flavors to the pint glass from new hops emerging from the OSU-Indie Hops Breeding Program. We source many of our hops from Oregon and Indie Hops in the Willamette Valley.
Worthy Brewing believes there is no place like home and has invested in green technologies and practices, accordingly. These include: a 40 kW solar power system, a solar hot water system, dark sky preservation lighting, a green waste compost program, pre-treating brewing effluent, and beekeeping. Worthy also uses only Salmon Safe hops. Our restaurants source the best of local products—from ranches in Oregon and fisheries in Washington to fresh, local produce and Oregon wineries.
Worthy loves keeping it lean, clean and alive. From our reclaimed Cuckoo wood furniture to our compost piles, from our solar panels to our Salmon Safe hops, Worthy’s anthem is “do more with less.”
Reuse and recycle are not merely buzzwords to us. We designed Worthy to do our best to get in sync with the natural cycle of life. We limit our carbon footprint through solar power. We compost as much of our solid waste as possible, sparing the local landfill. We’re working on new ways to capture and recycle nutrient-rich liquid waste leaving our brewing facility.
Sure, it’s an expensive up front cost. And it takes a little more time to separate out our green waste in the kitchen, or set aside our spent grain and hops for our local farmer and ranch friends but, in the end, we believe living green makes sense. We feel good about it. We save money. We set a good example. And we believe the quality of our food and beer is higher.
Here’s a recap of what we’re doing here at Worthy to do more with less.
We’ve installed 117 photovoltaic panels on our roof, one of the largest arrays of such panels in Central Oregon. We use virtually every kilowatt we generate, which is roughly the equivalent of powering up three large homes in Oregon. We will spare the atmosphere about 15 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and save money on electricity.
We feel good about helping a local solar company. And we rejoice here at Worthy whenever Wall Street downgrades a gas or coal fired utility stock because solar stocks are inching upwards. Doing our part to advance green-ity as profitable and workable.
Solar Thermal Waters Panels
Now this is cool. Even if it’s freezing cold outside on a snowy day, we’re still making hot water. Thanks to 56 solar panels above our brewhouse, we don’t have to use “store-bought” natural gas to pre-heat our water. Every drop of hot water we use, whether from a faucet in our restrooms or from our hoses in the brewhouse, was preheated by the sun, even when you can’t see the sun.
Thanks to the magic of glycol, heat exchangers and wonderfully designed hot water tanks, Worthy is able to pre-heat our water to 170F. We’re able to then send the pre-heated water from our “hot tub” to various high-efficiency, “heat it when you need it” tankless water heaters. Thanks to the sun, and the marvels of green engineering, we’re bringing the heat even on a cloudy day. It’s cool to be hot.
High Efficiency Steam Boiler
Want to read all about steam boilers? Didn’t think so. Take a peek at the picture. Doesn’t look all that sexy, but this baby burns, and it does so quietly, efficiently, and with love in its heart.
Our $130,000 Parker Hannifin steam boiler is another marvel of modern engineering. Conventional boilers are 7
5% efficient. This state-of–the-art beauty hums along at 95% efficiency. It’s got this dealy called a “flue gas economizer” which captures the hot air from the vent and uses it to pre-heat the feedwater that loops back into the system. Feedback loops! Sending hot air out into the world just doesn’t make sense.
Bottom line: our boiler uses less gas to fire up, it runs less often, and it save us over $3,000 a year, which means more money for hot wort.
Enough about heat. Let’s chill. And have we got a chiller for you—she’s lean, durable, cagey, and built to go the distance fast and hard on minimal carbs, sort of like an Olympic miler. It’s all about her “variable-frequency drive” brain center. When most electric motors are simply on or off and, when being on means wasting power regardless of load, this hummer only eats when she’s hungry, and she’s only hungry when she needs to get busy.
Our chiller’s so smart she even talks to us. If there’s an usually high load on the walk-in cooler, for example, she’ll send a text message to our master brewer to check the door on the fridge because it’s probably ajar. She keeps us on our toes, but she’s not ready to run the place, yet.
Let There Be Light
Worthy loves natural light. Windows abound, though smartly tinted. Skylights let in just the right amount of candle power. Most of the time we don’t’ have to turn our lights on in the brewhouse. Most of our lights are sensor controlled, motion activated and timed to shut down in the wee hours. This saves money, time and lots of energy.
Making Waste Worthy
Breweries generate tons and tons of solid and semi-solid liquid waste. It would be criminal to dump this valuable waste into a landfill. It’s loaded with nutrients and proteins.
As our production ramps up, so will our waste stream. We’re ready. Right now we’re generating about 400-500 pounds of green waste from our restaurant. We’re producing about 10-12 tons of solid waste from our brewhouse. And thi
s stuff is valuable— spent grain, spent hops and yeast, and the always thick, rich “trub,” the foamy, proteinaceous spinoff from the whirlpool.
All of it—every potato peel, every cup of spent grain and mug of trub—is composted. None of it winds up in a landfill, or in the sewer system. Worthy has worked out arrangements with local ranchers and farmers to put our waste to work, either feeding livestock or creating fertile soil bed for Worthy-bound onions, tomatoes, arugula and all manner of herbs
Our kitchen wunderkinds are pleased as punch that behind our kitchen, Worthy’s rocking more white buckets than the black city issue garbage bins. In the near future, we will be building our own on-site mini-composting center, which will convert a fraction of our green waste into worthy soil for our hop and herb gardens.
Worthy collects and uses all of our kitchen scraps to feed livestock at a nearby ranch. The ranch is a beautiful spread at the edge of the Badlands Wilderness area about 10 miles East of Worthy Brewing.
We have purchased a few select boars and a small harem of sows, which are already producing a hearty stock of piglets. From pigs, we can expand to cattle, lamb, chickens, turkeys and perhaps even a bison or two. Worthy’s goal is to put our protein and nutrient rich spent grain and hop “waste stream” back to work so that it comes back to our restaurant in the form of succulent veggies, fragrant herbs and delicious meats. All with minimal carbon footprint and energy outputs.
Salmon Safe Hops
The lions’s share of the hops Worthy will use are grown here in Oregon. We will source all of our Oregon-grown hops from Oregon’s only hop merchant, Indie Hops, of Hubbard, Oregon. Talk about reducing CO2 emissions, the hopyards at Goschie Farms are just a few miles down the road from Indie Hops’ pellet mill and cooler. Other Oregon hop farmers have to truck their hops up to Yakima to be milled and stored. Indie Hops’ pellet mill is located on the property of Coleman Farms, one of the three Oregon hop farmers from which Indie Hops sources its aromatic gem
Both Goschie Farms and Coleman Farms are Salmon Safe Certified, which means they engineer, maintain and irrigate their yards to minimize run-off into the nearby creeks and brooks, which drain into the Willamette River and eventually pour into the mighty Columbia River and Pacific Ocean where our salmon friends need all the help they can get.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Retain Worthy-ness
When you think about it, if it’s good to begin with. it has to be at least semi-decent the second time around. When we consume something, that thing doesn’t vanish. It doesn’t just go away. It simply changes form. There are even universal laws that dismiss any silly notions that we can consume energy or mass. In nature, there’s no “one and done.”
At Worthy, we’re not saints, we’re not angling for any gold stars, and we certainly don’t have it all figured out. We know we have to do more to use less of our precious Cascade Mountain sourced water. Our ration of gallons of water used to produce one gallon of beer is way below the national standard, but we know we can do better.
Our 501(3)c non-profit, The Worthy Garden Club provides an urban farm that showcases not only vegetables and herbs, but also the primary ingredients of beer: hops and barley, or wheat. We recruit gardeners of all stripes to come play in our gardens, plant a seed or two, trim a few weeds, turn over our compost, water lovingly, and partake in the joys of bringing life to the high desert. We also use the fresh herbs we grow in the food we prepare on-site.
The following is a speech by Roger Worthington delivered to 350 Deschutes Climate Conference, Bend, Oregon, 10/3/2016.
The Italian philosopher Horace once said: “By the right means if you can, but by any means, make money.” Can you do the right thing and run a successful brewery?