3 Ravens boosts green credentials with funding

Melbourne’s 3 Ravens has undertaken major sustainability projects to improve its green credentials after funding enabled by its local council.

The Thornbury brewery is thought to be the first to have taken up the Environmental Upgrade Finance in Darebin, with funding provided through the Sustainable Australia Fund.

“Sustainability has always been a value of ours,” said 3 Ravens general manager Nathan Liascos.

“[But] being able to finance it or have the resources to implement it was definitely a barrier for us. As the business has grown we’re in a better position to make these decisions and have the resources to implement them, and this, and the help of Darebin City Council, has enabled us to take advantage of this new finance mechanism.”

Liascos said the council was instrumental in the brewery obtaining the funding.

“We had an environmental engineer to do an energy assessment on our process and facility. Regenerate Engineering and Darebin City Council recommended using this new finance mechanism, and we’re the first new business to use this [in Darebin].

“You pay the repayments through your rates systems, they have competitive rates and it essentially allowed us to structure it to be cash flow positive from day one.”

Councils across Australia have been throwing their support behind breweries in recent years, and 3 Ravens has developed a good working relationship with Darebin.

“We do a lot of work with them, they’re really supportive and proactive and always trying to help small businesses, which is great.

“They have a sustainability department which recommended a few businesses as part of a programme that they had funding for to do an overall energy efficiency assessment and come up with some recommendations.

“We worked out what we can afford, the different cost benefits and ROI. Our mission is to reduce the impact we have on the environment through different initiatives.”

With the funding, 3 Ravens has invested in a 73.5kW solar system and a ‘cool roof’ which the brewery says will cut its CO2 emissions by 106 tonnes annually.

The cool roof is an infrared heat reflective waterproof membrane which reduces the existing roof’s top surface temperature, reducing heat flow into the building and therefore air conditioning requirements.

Not only will these additions cut down on net emissions at the brewery, but it says the projects will also save $21,000 a year on energy costs.

3 Ravens has been undertaking its sustainability projects throughout COVID, which Liascos said has been a double-edged sword.

“It’s been hectic, really hard and tough but heaps of positive things that have come out of it,” he said.

“It’s been emotional, the support for local independent businesses has been positive. We got the online shop up and running which we’ve wanted to do for ages, people trying new beers at home because they haven’t spent money going out and we installed the solar system – there’s been a lot of adaptation and ingenuity.”

But, Liascos said, 3 Ravens won’t stop here.

“Without a doubt, we all need to do our part in doing better and looking after the environment and making a positive impact on climate change.

“This is only the beginning of a suite of exciting and revolutionary sustainability initiatives that we’ll be implementing to drastically improve our carbon footprint and put a strong green stamp on our whole operation. Big news incoming very soon!”

He said he hoped the experience of 3 Ravens and the possibility of funding could encourage other breweries to refocus on sustainability.

“Hopefully it inspires other businesses to take other steps and improve their environmental performance and also reduce costs.

“We don’t have an option, we’re at a critical point, even carbon neutral isn’t good enough anymore.

“We definitely won’t stop at solar,” Liascos said.

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