McKinstry leads conversion of old juice factory to cutting-edge vertical farm, using waste heat from the neighboring data center to grow protein in a zero-waste system
SEATTLE and CASHMERE, Wash. – July 06, 2022 –Beta Hatch, a pioneering ingredient manufacturer and the leading insects-as-feed company, has announced the grand opening of its flagship operation in Cashmere, Wash. Designed in collaboration with McKinstry, a national construction and energy services firm, the 50,000-square-foot project is the largest mealworm production facility for animal feed in North America and one of the largest insect production farms of its kind in the world.
To further its mission of industrializing insect farming within a regenerative food system – and scale commercial production to meet demand for thousands of tons of sustainable, traceable and responsibly sourced protein – Beta Hatch partnered with McKinstry to not only conquer the complexity involved in making such a unique system work, but also to ensure the project would meet, if not exceed, the company’s ambitious sustainability goals.
“An endeavor like this requires a really creative and iterative design process, and that’s something McKinstry promised and expertly delivered in the development of this project,” said Virginia Emery, founder and CEO of Beta Hatch. “The core value of insects in our food system is in improving the sustainability of protein and other ingredients. We take great pride in our intentional and consistent effort to build efficiency into the core of everything we do. This new facility’s heat recapture system is a prime example of taking that sustainability and efficiency to the next level.”
At the Cashmere site, 100% of Beta Hatch’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources. The new facility now also achieves unique energy efficiency gains and reuse of old infrastructure in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner.
“This new production facility demonstrates how existing buildings can be reimagined to deliver tangible sustainability and impact, rather than just physical space,” said David Carroll, McKinstry construction project executive. “This was possible thanks to the alchemy of Beta Hatch’s approach to prioritizing sustainable energy and zero-waste practices at its facilities combined with McKinstry’s relentless commitment to eliminating waste from our built environment.”
Funded in part by the Washington State Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund, the production process itself is a zero-waste system, starting with the mealworms feeding on organic byproducts, and ending with the mealworms and their frass being used for feed and fertilizer.
Through proprietary HVAC innovations, excess heat from network equipment at a neighboring data center is captured and used as the main source of heat to control the environment in Beta Hatch’s state-of-the-art grow rooms. The grow rooms take advantage of vertical farming space to create over six acres of insect production surface. This enables a huge yield from a minimal footprint producing at approximately 5000x the acre yield of soy and has reduced Beta Hatch’s electrical footprint by about half – all while creating a sustainable protein source for animal feed at an industrial scale. Moreover, it marks an important evolution toward a future of farming that is designed and equipped to feed a growing global population.
About Beta Hatch
Beta Hatch is industrializing insects as the world’s most sustainable nutrition. Grown at 5000x the acre yield of soy, using less than 2% of the water and a fraction of the GHG emissions of other protein ingredients, Beta Hatch’s insect farming platform is the missing link for a sustainable and circular food supply chain. The entire insect is used as a nutrient-dense animal feed ingredient for fish, poultry, swine, and pet food and can reduce the need for antibiotics in poultry, provide natural, hypoallergic protein for pets and offer a sustainable alternative to seasonal ingredients. Frass is a co-product of mealworm growing which is a valuable soil amendment and fertilizer. Learn more at www.betahatch.com.
McKinstry is a national leader in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings. From new construction and ongoing operations to adaptive reuse and energy retrofits, the company provides a single point of accountability across the entire building lifecycle. McKinstry focuses on people and outcomes to ensure the built environment serves owners, operators and occupants alike. McKinstry is your trusted partner for the life of your building. Learn more atwww.McKinstry.com.