NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Before a lease was even signed for the space that would become East Rock Brewing Company, UI energy engineers were coming up with ideas to help owners Tim and Shaun Wilson secure incentives for energy efficient systems.
Already familiar with the Nicoll Street former factory building, Energy Engineer Glen Eigo had assisted many of the building’s other tenants to outfit their new spaces to be more energy efficient. Eigo provided guidance on energy incentives delivered by United Illuminating (UI) and Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG), both subsidiaries of AVANGRID, to make the energy infrastructure financially feasible.
Eigo approached the Wilson brothers with plans on the installation of high performance interior lighting and a new steam boiler. Securing incentives of $13,338 for them to invest in higher quality efficient fixtures, Eigo also suggested ways they could potentially save $14,800 in annual energy costs.
“Generally with new construction we provide guidelines based on the code for that specific space and how much wattage they can use, then show them ways they can reduce that use,” said Eigo. “We aim for at least 30 percent less energy use than building code to allow for those savings.”
According to Eigo, the property owner had taken advantage of energy incentives with many of the common areas of the old factory building, including the large underground public parking garage and nearby gym. By establishing a relationship with the property owner, Eigo has helped determine energy-efficient systems for many of the empty spaces that are now home to thriving small businesses. His experience with building out similar spaces provided a unique opportunity to assist East Rock Brewing Company throughout the entire process of turning a blank space into their brew house and beer hall.
“The financial assistance and overall support from UI and SCG was paramount to achieving our energy goals. Without the energy rebate, we might have had to install subpar lighting packages that weren’t as well suited to our needs,” said Tim Wilson. “It was important to install energy-efficient lighting, not only to realize savings that can be used toward future growth, but also to conserve energy resources.”
Specialty lighting included waterproof fixtures in the production portion of the brewery. The new energy-efficient lighting also gives staff a well-lit place to work and inspectors a better view of the facility, which Wilson indicated is a challenge for many breweries. Patrons have a clear view of the brewery through a glass partition wall along the back of the beer hall – a unique feature that both engages customers and showcases the quality lighting.
With the opportunity for future expansion in mind, the Wilson brothers added all new electrical and plumbing to handle current production capacity and projected future production. According to Eigo, additional energy fund incentives could help make more holding tanks, bottling lines and refrigeration possible in the foreseeable future.
“It is very rewarding to assist start-up, family-run companies in opening their doors for business in Connecticut,” said Eigo. “We are here as a resource, to answer questions and guide our customers in the right direction toward saving on their operational costs.”
Together, the Wilson brothers have an MBA, a diploma in brewing technology, a master’s degree in engineering management, a doctorate in chemistry and over a decade of experience in brewery management. They combined their business savvy to fill a local void in German-inspired brewing options. According to Wilson, breweries are typically located on the outskirts of town, making this location particularly noteworthy. The East Rock neighborhood boasts over 10,000 residents and easy access to major highways.
About East Rock Brewing Company
East Rock was founded by two brothers – Tim and Shaun Wilson. The two brothers grew up in the greater New Haven area and lived in the city for varying stretches of time as young adults. They developed an affinity for New Haven at an early age, impressed by the city’s rich history, abundance of cultural assets, and delicious food. Having ventured down separate yet complimentary career paths, their passion for family and small business eventually brought them back to New Haven to open East Rock Brewing Company.
About United Illuminating
The United Illuminating Company (UI) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1899, UI operates approximately 3,500 miles of electric distribution lines and 139 miles of transmission lines. It serves approximately 335,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. For more information, visit uinet.com.
About Southern Connecticut Gas
The Southern Connecticut Gas Company (SCG) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1847, SCG operates approximately 2,500 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines, serving approximately 197,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. For more information, visit soconngas.com.
About Energize Connecticut
Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 877.WISE.USE.