How Dalmunach Distillery became one of the most energy efficient in Scotland

Dalmunach Distillery. Picture: submittedDalmunach Distillery. Picture: submitted
Dalmunach Distillery. Picture: submitted
At the Dalmunach Distillery near Aberlour, Moray, the process of distilling whisky, for blends including Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s, produces barely any waste.

All electricity for the distillery comes from renewable hydro and wind sources in Scotland.

An evaporation plant converts liquid residues to a carbon neutral livestock feed.

The Best of VIBES winner will be chosen by public vote. To read about all ten shortlisted companies and place your vote, visit the VIBES website here.

Solid residue – known as draff - is either sold to local farmers as a feed or used as a renewable fuel in a local pot ale syrup plant.

“All remaining effluents are treated on-site, with 98 per cent of all the water we borrow from the environment returned to the River Spey,” explains Ronald Daalmans, environmental sustainability manager for distillery owner, Chivas Brothers, part of wine and spirits group Pernod Ricard.

“Dalmunach is our most energy efficient distillery, using only 5.3kWh per litre of alcohol, 38 per cent less than the industry average for sites of a similar size. Distillery water consumption is also 15 per cent below the industry average.”

Chivas Brothers is working in partnership with UK universities including the University of Aberdeen to further improve the circularity of its processes.

The company is one of ten businesses short-listed for the ‘Best of VIBES – the Scottish Environment Business Awards’ – as part of the Awards’ 20th anniversary celebrations.

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Chivas Brothers (Allied Distillers) was a 2002 VIBES winner for its work on resource recovery and waste segregation at its Dumbarton bottling plant.

The company has also been a VIBES sponsor since 2003.

Since they were established in 1999 the VIBES Awards have recognised more than 150 businesses in Scotland that are taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment, typically making significant financial savings in the process.

Another Best of VIBES contender is CMS Window Systems, which employs 290 staff between its manufacturing headquarters in Cumbernauld and factories in Kirkcaldy and East Kilbride.

It designs, manufactures and installs PVCu and aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling – non-structural glass façades for the external walls of buildings.

By developing dedicated recycling centres alongside its manufacturing plants, CMS has sent zero waste to landfill for the last two years.

“We are committed to providing the highest quality, energy efficient products with all waste, including all extracted window and door material, passing through our dedicated recycling facilities,” explains CMS’ marketing manager Sarah Wilson.

“Waste plate glass is sent directly back to construction materials group Saint-Gobain and remade into new double glazed units, which become part of the new windows we manufacture. It’s a great example of circular ‘closed loop’ manufacturing – where products are reused rather than treated as waste.”

CMS has been a VIBES winner twice in 2009 and 2015, and has also been a winner in the European Union’s prestigious European Business Awards for the Environment, which are held every two years.

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