New Belgium Brewing

Project Profile


Radiant Floor Heating, Solar Hot Water

Monday, May 2, was a big day for the folks at New Belgium Brewing. Four years following their  announcement  that they had chosen Asheville, NC for their east coast home, they opened the doors of their tasting room  to the public. Given that the chosen 18 acre site  for the new Asheville Brewery  previously had been occupied by a stockyard, auction house, and auto salvage company, this transformation from Brownfield to Brewery was no small feat. However, New Belgium didn’t do it alone, and they are the first to credit the  many community partners that they engaged with to manifest their strategy for a sustainable, urban in-fill development while ” paying homage to the history and incorporating a continued sense of place and collective memory into its new use.”

That New Belgium would be so conscious of their impact on the Asheville community, as well as the environment, should come as no surprise, given that they are a 100% employee- owned certified B Corporation. B Corps are companies that “use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems,” or simply “use business as a force for good.”  Sustainability has been at the forefront of their operations in Fort Collins since 2007, with  the creation of their Sustainability Management System  through which they keep tabs on water, waste, and emissions. The very decision to expand to the east coast  was guided by the consideration of transportation-related energy savings. With a bicycle as their logo, they are well aware of the impact of vehicle use; distributing to their growing markets from Asheville will significantly reduce their shipping impacts, while creating a vibrant “rideable, walkable  community” with the  new brewery’s revitalized greenway along the bank of the French Broad River.

With the intention of earning LEED certification, ecological restoration, stormwater management and bio-retention,  material reclamation, and daylighting are just a few of the  sustainability initiatives embraced at New Belgium’s Asheville brewery, along with energy efficiency and solar. That’s where Sundance Power comes in!  We worked with Century Contractors, the mechanical team engaged by Adolfson & Peterson Construction, on three separate systems; a radiant floor heating system in the tasting room, and two solar hot water systems.

The blog Build-a-Brewery: Cold Beer, Warm Feet tells the story of the 4,000 feet of PEX tubing that our crews installed in the concrete floors of the Liquid Center. Laid out in carefully calculated looping pathways to ensure even heat distribution, this network of tubing is part of a hydronic radiant floor heating system. Come late fall and cooler temperatures, hot water will be pumped and circulated through this tubing, and the floor will essentially become one large radiator, warming the surface of objects in the space as well as the air itself. This even heat provides great comfort, but radiant floor heating is a highly efficient way to heat a building as well. Most people feel comfortable at room temperatures 3 to 5 degrees cooler than in rooms heated by forced air systems, resulting in less fuel use. It’s also quiet and clean as there’s no forced air blowing dust, dander and other unknowns about.

Like  the radiant floor system that is  largely invisible, embedded  in the floor of the tasting room, the solar hot water system that preheats water for the building’s hot water demand is also likely to go unnoticed by visitors. The two flat-plate solar collectors are mounted on the roof, where the sun’s light can be converted to heat. The heated fluid is pumped to a 119 gallon solar storage tank, located  in the mechanical room. Likewise, the system that serves the main brewing building, with seven solar thermal collectors and an additional 200 gallon hot water tank, is also not very evident.  However, these systems will collectively offset a considerable amount of fossil fuels long into the future, saving money as well as reducing emissions.

Sundance is proud to be one of the partners engaged  in bringing New Belgium’s brewery to fruition in Asheville. We applaud their efforts to create a vibrant business that enhances the community, and we appreciate the opportunity to bring cleaner, more sustainable systems to their operations. Cheers to doing good!

* Aerial  photography credit to Emily Trimnal of AshevilleBlog, with Thanks!

Project Client

Photo Gallery