To say that Michiganders take beer brewing seriously is an understatement. The state of Michigan has over 185 craft breweries and even has their own song entitled, “The Michigan State Beer Fight Song.” Many cities in the state offer their own version of pub-crawls and craft brewery tours to give tourists a taste of what Read more
To say that Michiganders take beer brewing seriously is an understatement. The state of Michigan has over 185 craft breweries and even has their own song entitled, “The Michigan State Beer Fight Song.”
Many cities in the state offer their own version of pub-crawls and craft brewery tours to give tourists a taste of what this great state has to offer. One city in particular, is so densely packed with microbreweries; it was named Beer City USA for two years in a row by an annual Beer City USA poll. Beer City USA, otherwise know as Grand Rapids, is home to Founders Brewery.
Founded in 1997, Founders Brewery has evolved into one of the most recognized breweries in the U.S. The brewery started out as a package brewery and has grown significantly in the past few years. Currently Founders is in restaurants, bars, and stores in 32 states and 13 export markets of distribution. According to Chief Production Officer Brad Stevenson, Founders has averaged over 70% annual growth in the past six years.
With around 300 members of the Founders team, the brewery is making accommodations for the higher demand of its product. “With our growth, we’ve had to buy a lot of new gear,” Stevenson explained. “Most of the new gear has helped us focus on making more product and adding capacity. We’ve now hit a volume that’s allowed us to look at process improvements and other things we’re interested in, like energy conservation.”
Heat Reclaim Process
According to Stevenson, brewing is a very energy intensive process. “We invest an enormous amount of energy and money into heating the product up, and then we turn right around and invest more energy and money into cooling it back down. Anytime we can take that energy that has already been invested in, and port it off to a secondary use, we want to take advantage of doing that. We’ve done that systematically throughout the brewery. We have heat reclaim on our hot side in our brewing system that’s been phenomenal. This was a drive to put heat reclaim in our fermentation process and take the byproduct of fermentation heat and use it to assist in building heat.”
In order to achieve that goal, Stevenson enlisted the help of Seaman’s Mechanical, also located in Grand Rapids, Mich.. CJ Fox, Design Engineer for Seaman’s explained how Aquatherm piping was suggested for use on this project. “The main reason we chose Aquatherm Blue® piping was for the insulating value. We’re sending 120°F degree water out to the chillers or the air handlers, to preheat the air and we want to try to keep as much heat in the pipe as possible. We also needed something that could be washed down.”
The space is wash-down rated so the pipes need to be easily washed and maintained. Breweries are known for having mold issues and with insulation and other products in the brewing area, there’s always the possibility of mold. “Black piping was out of the question. We were left with using copper pipe, stainless steel pipe or the Aquatherm product. Aquatherm made the most sense to use on this application,” Stevenson added.
Approximately 700-ft of Aquatherm Blue pipe was used in 2-in., 3-in., 4-in., and 6-in., sizes for heat reclaim for the 75,000-sq-ft brewery. According to Brad Strouse, account manager, Seaman’s, Aquatherm pipe was introduced to them by Justin Anes with Columbia Pipe & Supply Co. “We chose this product because of its unique ability to handle the 80-120°F fluid with minimal expansion and contraction. The fusion process was also a significant factor as this ensures structural integrity for an eco-friendly cost.”
Anes provided training on the Aquatherm piping and the team used Aquatherm welding equipment rented from Columbia Pipe & Supply Co. to install the piping.
Strouse explained in further detail the process of the heat recovery system. “We are using rejected heat from water-cooled 100 and 150-ton chillers. The largest cooling load of beer occurs during the initial cool-down period or fermentation period of the beer. This coincides with the highest CO2 emissions as part of the fermentation process, which requires the building HVAC system to supply outdoor/fresh air to reduce the CO2 level. During the heating season, the rejected heat is used to pre-heat the outdoor air creating a very nice balance in transfer of energy.”
“The transfer of energy starts with the initial heating of ingredients using a steam boiler. The heat is absorbed by the beer, and once the beer is transferred to a fermenter tank, the heat is absorbed by the chilled water surrounding the beer, and transfers it to the outdoor air – supplying pre-heated fresh air into the building. This greatly reduces the use of natural gas for heating,” Strouse explained.
According to Strouse, the design surpassed the initial energy calculations and ROI of around four years because of the extremely cold Michigan winters. Six-inch George Fischer COOL-FIT® ABS Plus piping was used for the chilled water mains because it comes pre-insulated and is wash-down rated. Two AAON Roof-top units were also utilized on this project.
The team at Founders takes a lot of pride in keeping their brewery clean. “This was the cleanest brewery we’ve ever set foot in,” Strouse explained. “That is what led us to install Aquatherm piping in this facility. It’s wash-down rated and leak free after you install it.” Strouse added that using Aquatherm over copper provided some material savings, though specific figures weren’t available.
“We wanted to make a good business decision and do the right thing (environmentally),” Stevenson added. “With the heat reclaim process and Aquatherm piping, we were able to do both.”
As Founders continues to grow, Aquatherm will be part of their piping plan. In fact, Aquatherm is again being used in the heat reclaim process, this time to connect to three new 190-ton chillers.
While visiting the ISH Show in Frankfurt, Germany, I was fortunate enough to take some extra time to visit the Aquatherm manufacturing facility in Attendorn, Germany. And, one of the many highlights of the trip included visiting the mechanical room at the Hanse Hotel, which incorporated many of the Aquatherm products on the market today Read more
While visiting the ISH Show in Frankfurt, Germany, I was fortunate enough to take some extra time to visit the Aquatherm manufacturing facility in Attendorn, Germany. And, one of the many highlights of the trip included visiting the mechanical room at the Hanse Hotel, which incorporated many of the Aquatherm products on the market today.
In April 2013 the Hanse Hotel opened for business guests, as well as tourists. Aquatherm founder Gerhard Rosenberg, the building owner of this 99-room hotel, makes his dream come true in his hometown by of course following his lived values: highest quality, sometimes on the cusp of feasibility, always at the state of the art.
The modern building adds a new aspect to Attendorn’s cityscape. Aquatherm systems have been used in all areas. Particularly important for the architectural freedom in the building which is in the shape of an eight, was the incorporation of the Aquatherm Black system heating and cooling grids. The Black’s compact grid construction allows a quick installation in wall, ceiling or floor areas. Depending on the chosen water temperature, it is possible to heat or cool.
The tour consisted of Dave Morell, president, Ridgeline Mechanical Sales, Bozeman, Mont., a group of contractors from the Northwest—all of whom have experience with Aquatherm products—and our Aquatherm tour guide, Philip Menke, International Sales.
The product systems used are Aquatherm Green Pipe for potable water supply; Blue Pipe for HVAC; Lilac Pipe for reclaimed water; Red Pipe for fire sprinkler; Orange Pipe surface heating; and Black Pipe—in beta testing here in the States—for heating and cooling system at the wall and ceiling,” says Menke.
Radiant heat is the key word, and for this purpose grids were included inside the outside walls, which are flushed with comparatively lukewarm water to heat the rooms. The flow temperature is 40°C only. In addition, heating pipes are lying in the floor. A one-meter-wide strip along the outside wall is heated. The ceilings in the hotel in the first line take over the cooling of the hotel. They are equipped with the Aquatherm pipe grids, too. This surface heating and cooling system provides a pleasant room climate without disturbing draught. Cold water in the pipes is emitting the temperature to the ambiance.
The guests profit from the comfortable room climate, and as raisings of dust are thus avoided, this is an ideal solution for allergy-prone guests. Missing radiators do not only save costs and space in connection with the architectural freedom of design, and it also makes it easier to clean the rooms. And another advantage: As the walls are heated directly there is no condensation, which prevents mold formation. Fresh, preheated air is supplied into the room through a small nozzle and outlet over the bathroom.
The 2015 ISH Show in Frankfurt, Germany, by all accounts, did not disappoint. The show was spectacular and grandiose in size and attendance. In fact, official numbers released from the show indicate record numbers in attendance — 198,000 visitors, a new exhibitor record and a significant increase in the level of international guests. ISH Read more
The 2015 ISH Show in Frankfurt, Germany, by all accounts, did not disappoint. The show was spectacular and grandiose in size and attendance. In fact, official numbers released from the show indicate record numbers in attendance — 198,000 visitors, a new exhibitor record and a significant increase in the level of international guests.
ISH is the leading exhibition for sustainable sanitation solutions, innovative bathroom design and energy-efficient heating technologies in combination with renewable energies and environmentally friendly air conditioning, cooling and ventilation technology. This year, it once again brought together the sector’s most important subjects at the same time and place, and covered all horizontal and vertical aspects of future-oriented building solutions with the extensive range of products and services to be seen.
The ISH Water section was characterized by sustainable sanitation solutions for individual user requirements arising from the process of demographic change, as well as by innovative water management and drinking-water hygiene. On the Energy side, the focus was on energy efficiency as the second pillar of the new energy paradigm, i.e., the shift away from nuclear power. Modern heating, air-conditioning, cooling and ventilation technologies have a huge potential for cutting energy consumption and represent an important step on the way to achieving climate targets.
According to ISH, the claim of the being the world’s leading trade fair for the sector was substantiated by a 16% increase in the number of international visitors to 74,100—up from 63.985 in 2013) with the largest national contingents coming from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and China. Significant growth in visitor numbers from the USA, Great Britain and Ireland are also evidence of a noticeable economic recovery in important sanitation, heating and air-conditioning markets. Altogether, there were 618 new exhibitors at ISH 2015: 161 of them from Germany, 89 from Italy and 23 from Spain, which indicates a gradual market recovery.
Yet I had heard that only 4% of total visitors were from the Unites States and finding English-speaking booth attendees proved arduous at times. Look for the Union Jack lapel and you’ve found someone that can speak the language.
If you haven’t been to ISH, there are 11 pavilions—with multiple levels—that are categorized by the bathroom experience; air conditioning, cooling and ventilation; building and energy technology/renewable energies; installation technology; home and building automation. There is plenty to see so if you plan to visit in 2017—the show takes place every other year—be sure to take as much time as you can. I attended three days at the show and wasn’t even able to see much of the show. “Overwhelming,” said Bob Short, Short’s Plumbing & Heating, Livingston, Montana. “It’s big, but in a good way.”
Additional feedback I received from the show was that the booths were large, clean, modern in appearance, and spacious enough to get around. Some of drawbacks were that a lot of the booths, again, did not have an English-speaking contingent. Also, what you see in this European trade show is, well, just that — European. A lot of the products and technology is not “transferable” to the U.S. based upon code compliance, early adoption or some products and/or technology are years down the pipeline for U.S. use.
Personally, the show is incredible, but its size can be daunting; wearing a comfortable pair of shoes is a must because you’ll do you good share of walking. I wish the show was a little easier to navigate but the ISH downloadable app was a plus while trying to find favorites to visit. I was issued free Wi-Fi with a press pass, but even that got a little spotty and non-existent at times.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time—during and after the show—with gracious company hosts Aquatherm and Viega, who both have major manufacturing facilities to the north of Frankfurt, in Attendorn, Germany. I know of several other contractors who were invited by manufacturers to visit the ISH Show and to do some Germany sightseeing. This might be a great way to get an opportunity to go overseas and visit the show.
The feedback from the exhibitors was incredibly positive; you can’t deny the traffic in the booths was high. It should be noted that all visitors weren’t wearing their ISH badges, or perhaps they weren’t even issued one. It’s nice to see names on badges to do a little scouting prior to initial introductions.
Overall, the ISH Show was well worth the trip over the pond. If you can find it in your budget—time-wise and monetarily— I would highly suggest making the trek in 2017.