Futech adds some sunshine to Brouwland
Solar panel king and home brew king join forces
Beringen – Monday 25 January 2021. Brouwland brought in Futech’s expertise, or more accurately: brought it out, on the roof, to brew a greener future together. Futech installed 750 additional solar panels to the existing 840 panels.
This expansion means Brouwland now has in-house capacity of almost 0.5 Mwp - more than plenty for the European market leader in home brewing equipment to easily meet its electricity needs. In specific terms, this is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of around 150 households!
Sustainable energy as a long-term vision
“We are very enthusiastic about the project we were able to carry out at Brouwland,” explains Futech manager Ismaël Ben-Al-Lal. “Their long-term vision included the decision to invest in solar energy. This will enable Brouwland to minimise its energy costs across the entire service life of the project.” Futech considers the solar project to be more than just the installation of panels. “We got together with Brouwland to think about the interaction between production and consumption, and we looked at the possibility of using smart controls to use the generated energy for electric vehicle charging systems, and possibly battery systems.” In other words, a win-win-win for the planet, Futech and Brouwland.
Brouwland CEO Bart Balis adds: “Our commitment to sustainable energy is a firm value; not only have we had only green electricity flowing through our cables for years, we also stopped using fossil fuels to heat our premises in 2012. That same year, we installed extra insulation in our premises, and we carried out a relighting exercise which reduced the electricity for lighting by 50%, despite doubling the company’s floor space from 2,500 m2 to 5,000 m2. We will also invest in an electric vehicle fleet in the coming years.”
Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir can only praise this initiative: “Ondernemend Vlaanderen will be an important partner if we want to reduce our annual CO2 emissions. By minimising the number of kilometres driven by its employees, meeting its own electricity needs entirely with solar energy, and greening its fleet, Brouwland is doing more than its share. It is proof that successful business and smart investment in a green and healthy future do go hand in hand.”
Sustainability embedded in policies
Brouwland has embedded sustainable enterprise in its policies. Bart Balis explains: “As well as reducing our ecological footprint, we also make every effort to achieve a positive impact on the (working) climate and to ensure an inclusive work environment. This is why Brouwland committed to the Voka Charter for Sustainable Entrepreneurship to embed these actions even more firmly.”
Long before the coronavirus made remote working the norm, Brouwland already had various systems in place to facilitate part-time work and homeworking: the introduction of flexible working hours and a badge system, compatible with laptops and smartphones, allows office staff to organise their working hours autonomously, to suit their circumstances and needs at home and at work. “We have noticed staff are appreciate in how they use this: a third of our employees have purposely opted for a part-time arrangement for a better work-life balance”, says Balis. “What’s more, we have relied on an in-house enclave of 12 Bewel employees for various production tasks for years, and many of our products are packaged and assembled by detainees from Cellmade. Finally, I feel that profit-sharing with employees is also a great example of our vision for sustainable enterprise that is inclusive for all stakeholders.”