How a local brewery is going green: Part 1
At Palatin Remodeling, Inc. we’ve been trying to focus a bit more on sustainability and this gave us the inspiration to see how other businesses are pursuing corporate sustainability. I spoke with Melissa Dombo, the Creative Projects Manager at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, about how the brewery is taking steps to be more sustainable.
With a corporate office, main brewery and five brewery restaurants all located within San Diego and two additional brewery restaurants up the coast (Orange County and Los Angeles), Karl Strauss has the potential to make environmentally responsible decisions that have a big impact on the ecology of our beautiful city as well as on other businesses. The corporate office has implemented many energy efficient designs and products because being green is important to the company but (spoiler alert) they aren’t completely altruistic. It turns out Karl Strauss can save a lot of money by being sustainable, but more on that later. What many patrons might notice is green are the growler refills, which lets anyone make a one-time purchase of a glass growler and bring it back for a refill as many times as they like, reducing the production of new materials. However, there’s a lot more than meets the eye about Karl Strauss that’s environmentally sustainable.
When I first went into the corporate office (which just happens to be very near Palatin Remodeling, Inc.’s San Diego location) I was struck by the very natural looking design of the front reception area. Neutral browns and tans on the walls and a very simple spread of their bottled beer selection and a few beer related publications on a high table. Bottle caps were hand glued around the border of the front desk (a process Melissa says took three days) in a display that showcases their beer and reuses old caps. A canvas photo on a wall is framed with a black paint border (non-VOC paint, of course) saving wood.
Because this corporate office is a new location for Karl Strauss some creative design had to take place to make it feel like home. The building’s previous occupants didn’t care for the carpets so in places it was pretty worn. Rather than tearing it out and sending it to a landfill Karl Strauss had it professionally deep cleaned and took out only the worst parts. Covering a particularly unsightly portion of carpet is a large swath of fake turf, which is home to a vintage bicycle (a case of Full Suit in the basket, naturally). The Creative Room is completely devoid of carpet because it was unusable, so all that remains is bare concrete, and other areas with too-worn carpet have green carpet tiles arranged for employee mini-golf breaks. Keeping the original flooring saves landfill space and prevents new materials from being used.
For the most part, the Karl Strauss corporate office uses energy efficient lighting, some places utilizing the most pure source of energy: the sun. The largest room in the building and the room that houses the most employees uses solar light in the form of solar tubes. When I was in the room no other lights were on, save for small desk lamps and light from computer screens, which were almost entirely confined to the individual cubicle, and it was as brightly lit as any office building I’d been in. Three sides of the building generously uses glass instead of windowless walls, letting San Diego sunshine flow right in. Melissa didn’t have to explain why that was a good idea, but the fact that she did shows how the company values the work experience their employees have. An office towards the front was turned into an eating and ping pong area because the original dining area is in the center of the building with all artificial lights, and being able to eat in front of a floor to ceiling window is a far better experience than artificial lights, no matter how energy efficient they are (all of the light bulbs they change out are energy efficient). There are also floor to ceiling windows in the Creative Room, where employees can go to clear their heads or hold small meetings. The conference rooms also have motion detectors that turn off the lights when they’re empty to save on electricity costs.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2, and more on how Karl Strauss Brewery is embracing corporate sustainability. Photos courtesy of Rich Soublet Photography.