Stone Brewing Co. Deploys Intelligent LEDs in New Addition, Saving 86% in Annual Energy Costs Over T8 Fluorescent Alternatives


Customer: Stone Brewing Co.
Location: Escondido, CA
Facility Size: 69,000 ft2
Operational Schedule: 24 x 7
Environment: Brewery — Bottling and Kegging
Installation: New Addition
Savings: 86% lighting
Temperature: Ambient
Alternative Considered: T8
Partner: Zephyr Engineering

Unparalleled Energy Savings Make Substantial Contribution to the Company’s LEED Silver Certification

Recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies for seven years in a row, Stone Brewing Co. is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States, with a 16-year growth rate of 40+%. Widely known for its bold, flavorful, and largely hop-centric beers, Stone Brewing Co. (Stone) has been brewing award-winning beers in North County San Diego, CA, since 1996. Other widely recognized Stone locations include Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Escondido, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Liberty Station, Stone Company Stores, Stone Distributing, Stone Farms and Stone Catering, to name but a few of its many successful and interrelated businesses.

Deeply committed to the sustainability of its business operations, Stone has consistently invested in environmentally friendly solutions to everyday operational challenges — from rooftop solar panels, which produce 30% of the power needs for its brewery and adjacent restaurant, to the brewery’s 30,000-gallons-per-day water reclamation system. It is a philosophy of doing business that touches all aspects of its decision-making processes for infrastructure investments, including the high bay lighting for its new 69,000-sq. ft. bottling and kegging addition to its flagship brewery in Escondido, CA.

Competitive Evaluation Leads to Intelligent LEDs

Facing the opportunity to create, from the ground-up, an ultra-efficient facility for its bottling and kegging operations, Stone pulled out all the stops when it came to investigating lighting for an expansion. While the initial designs specified T8 fluorescent lighting, experience at other Stone facilities convinced the management team that the annual energy and maintenance costs associated with these systems placed a significant burden on their sustainability agenda.

Following an extensive evaluation of more energy-efficient alternatives, including basic LEDs, LEDs with add-on sensors, and intelligent LEDs with integrated controls, Stone decided to deploy the Intelligent LED Lighting System from Digital Lumens.

The decision enabled the team to:

  • Save 86% of the annual energy costs associated with the T8 fluorescent luminaires specified in the initial design.
  • Save 79% of the annual energy costs associated with basic LED alternatives.
  • Expect to secure a 1.77-year project payback while avoiding all the re-lamping, re-ballasting, and mercury disposal costs associated with HIF alternatives.
  • Significantly contribute to the LEED Silver goal for the new addition.
  • Gain the light quality and illumination levels necessary to support 24 x 7 bottling and kegging operations year-round.

“As we evaluated the various LED alternatives, we were not only surprised by the range of energy savings attributable to the various solutions, but also by the differing levels of quality, integration, and control,” said Joshua Lichtman, Associate Project Manager for Stone Brewing Co. “It didn’t take us long to zero-in on the Digital Lumens system, as it’s our vision of what lighting in a ‘smart’ building should be — highly controllable, with occupancy and daylight sensors that automatically deliver light when and where it is needed, based on parameters we’ve set and control. Both from energy usage and quality perspective, it has completely changed our view of what is possible with lighting.”

Windows and Skylights Translate Into Significant Additional Savings

The new brewery addition features 36 skylights, one of which reaches across a spectacular 18-foot by 18-foot ceiling span. Further complemented by lots of exterior windows, the amount of natural light entering the facility during daylight hours presents a rich source of lighting-related energy savings for Stone. In fact, on sunny days, up to 100% of the facility’s lighting is now provided by its windows and skylights and the intelligent LEDs are dimmed completely.

The Intelligent Lighting System accomplishes this by continuously assessing the amount of naturally available light from windows and skylights and smoothly adjusting output to meet targeted light levels. This requires:

  • Integrated daylight harvesting sensors built into every lighting luminaire. Since the amount of natural light changes the farther a luminaire is placed away from a light source, integrated luminaire -level sensing optimizes light levels without over-lighting or under-lighting any given space.
  • Instantaneous dimming, between 0% and 100%, to enable lighting to automatically adjust to rapidly changing light levels due to fluctuating weather conditions, such as clouds or rain, while smoothly maintaining target light levels.
  • Daylight harvesting sensors that operate in conjunction with occupancy sensors, eliminating the need to choose between two key sources of significant energy savings. Integration also eliminates the wiring, configuration, and multi-party support associated with independently installed add-on sensors.

“The unique value proposition of the Digital Lumens system is its integration and intelligence, which are the lynchpins of a comprehensive system that can be easily installed, managed and fine-tuned to optimize lighting delivery and energy savings,” said Matt Jones, President of Zephyr Engineering, the lighting design firm that recommended the system to Stone. “The result is better, more informed decision-making on how to deploy lighting resources, with the ability to easily alter settings to meet changing facility needs.”

Intelligence Drives Energy Savings

With the Intelligent Lighting System, the management team at Stone is able to gather metered data on how the system is performing, from kWh used to occupancy patterns and daylight harvesting savings. Accessed through the system’s integrated LightRules lighting management software, such actionable intelligence provides Stone with the ability to:

  • Gain a better understanding of how small changes to lighting behaviors, such as shortening timeout settings to reflect actual usage patterns, impact energy savings.
  • Create and save different lighting profiles, such as “cleaning,” “brewery tours” or “production shift,” to align lighting delivery with specific operational needs or changing business circumstances.
  • Automatically activate a lighting profile depending on the time of day or week. Scheduled settings are being used at Stone to change lighting behaviors during scheduled brewery tours, for example or middle-of-the-night cleaning shifts.
  • Easily fine-tune settings over time as managers learn more about how lighting is being used within the brewery and personnel become accustomed to lighting that dims or turns off when not in use.
  • Accomplish all of the above, and much more, without ever having to touch a lighting luminaire or deploy a scissor lift.


“The Digital Lumens system is proof positive that what’s good for the environment can be good for business as well,” continued Jones. “It’s the only solution we’ve seen that brings together all the components of efficiency into a single, comprehensive package that can be easily managed to maximize lighting delivery while generating enormous energy savings.”