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Bullfrogpowered beer: Raising a glass to Steam Whistle’s green energy commitment

Canadians are witnessing the devastating effects of climate change on the world. The solution lies in shifting the way we think about energy. Because energy – how we create it and how we use it – is at the heart of the issue.

In this three-part series, WWF is profiling three Living Planet @ Work companies that have made the switch to 100% clean, pollution-free energy through green energy provider Bullfrog Power. They share the reasons why they chose green energy and how it has positively impacted their business.

Nothing puts a smile on Cam Heaps’ face like taking a sip of environmentally responsible beer. Cam is one of three co-founders of Steam Whistle Brewing, a Toronto-based brewery known for its premium pilsner sold in distinctive green glass bottles.

Sustainability and green initiatives have always been a cornerstone at Steam Whistle. “We just buy into a philosophy that we don’t really have the right to operate a business and sell a product if we are not doing it in a way that minimizes our impact on the planet,” says Cam.

So when Cam met leaders from Bullfrog Power and learned that his brewery could encourage renewable energy production, he quickly signed on the dotted line. “It is a no-brainer, really,” he says. “You can basically choose low-impact hydro and wind energy sources without having to do any major infrastructure changes at your facility.”

 The Roundhouse in Toronto. ©Steam Whistle Brewing

The Roundhouse in Toronto. ©Steam Whistle Brewing

Steam Whistle Brewing has been supporting green energy since 2007. Looking back, Cam recalls how getting started with Bullfrog was easier than he expected.

Each month, the brewery pays Bullfrog Power a premium based on their average monthly electricity use. This means that for every kilowatt-hour the brewery uses to run its conveyor belts, chill their beer, charge the forklift trucks and more, Bullfrog Power puts the same amount of renewable energy into the grid on their behalf.

While green energy costs more, Cam points out that we’re all paying the health and environmental costs of conventional energy.

He also notes how doing good for the environment has been important to both their employees and their customers. “A lot of people say how they like the beer, but when they learn about how we operate, it’s a done deal,” he says. “We’re not just making great beer, we’re doing it in a responsible fashion.”

As well as choosing green energy, Steam Whistle Brewing has taken many other steps to shrink the company’s carbon footprint. For example, their trademarked green bottles can be reused triple the number of times as the industry’s standard brown bottles.

The brewery also uses water drawn from Lake Ontario to cool their facilities, rather than relying on energy-sucking air conditioning. Its trucks are fuelled by biodiesel, while state-of-the-art equipment conserves as much water and energy as possible.

“With each sip of beer you take, you can taste that,” says Cam. “It’s all connected to our passion and our drive to do green things to a ridiculous level.”

Snapshot: Steam Whistle Brewing

Number of employees: 171 across Canada

Location of head office: Toronto, Ontario

Carbon dioxide equivalents saved per year through Bullfrog Power: 128 tonnes

Bullfrog Power customer since: 2007

Motivation for choosing Bullfrog Power: “We have always wanted to be a company that does the right thing. This seemed like a great way to reduce our footprint and support another independent Canadian entrepreneur who was on the forefront of their industry.” Sybil Taylor, Communications Director

Interested in learning more about the topic of renewable energy in Canada and hearing from more Living Planet @ Work companies who have made the switch to green energy? RSVP to our “Renewable is doable” panel discussion on January 28th (Toronto).