Gonzalez Byass – Beronia Rioja, world’s first winery to be awarded the sustainable leed v4 bd+c:nc


Beronia, leading Rioja winery, has become the first winery in the world to achieve the sustainable construction certification LEED V4 BD+C:NC (Leader in Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design) and LEED Gold.  These certifications, granted by the “US Green Building Council”, it recognizes and differentiates those buildings that are sustainably constructed and have a low environmental impact.

Environmental design, use of a revolutionary system for harnessing geothermal energy to air-condition the facilities and achieve lower energy consumption, together with state-of-the-art technological innovations, make Beronia’s new winery one of the most efficient and sustainable wineries in the world.


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Beronia, founded in 1973, is part of González Byass since 1982. During In the last 15 years the winery has grown to a point that its production capacity cannot keep pace with its increase in sales volume and distribution requirements.

We studied different options:

  • Enlarge the building:. This option was discarded for esthetic reasons and for efficiency reasons.
  • Build a new winery removing the old one: This option was not desirable as it was very unsustainable and not cost effective.
  • Build a new winery to absorb the extra capacity:. This option was acceptable, so we have both wineries in use.

The new Beronia winery has been built for the ageing of its signature, reservas and gran reserva wines. From its conception sustainability was key and a consulting team including civil and industrial engineers, architects, ecologists, hydrogeologists, experts in internal environmental quality and physicists, among others, participated in this construction project which represents a completely holistic approach winery design.

Every aspect of the projects affects the future of the wines produced here; from the machinery, fermentation tanks and barrels to the layout and location of the building, its materials and the systems that make it up converge towards the same point.  The building exemplifies the sustainable philosophy that has always been an integral part of Beronia since its inception.

Construction has been supported by ADER, Agencia de Desarrollo Económico de La Rioja, with a grant of 18,8%.


  • Integrated into the landscape of Rioja

The main part of the winery is built into the ground, taking advantage of the natural terracing that exists between the estate’s upper and lower vineyard.  This design reduces impact on the landscape thanks to the green roof and garden which surrounds it. Covered with typical, native plants from the area, it requires little maintenance and hardly consumes any water. This unique arrangement allows for the recovery of rainwater for irrigation and is resilient.  In addition, this design compensates for the presence of the building whilst generating energy savings. All day-to-day activity uses gravity and the natural thermal inertia that the earth provides.

  • Four renewable energy sources

The use of a space where the latest geothermal structural thermos activation system realizes the benefit of the natural underground temperate to maintain stable thermal conditions for the barrel and bottle ageing areas throughout the year.  The spacious and comfortable public areas use the same system to avoid incurring higher energy consumption.

In addition to this renewable energy source enhanced by the cellars’ 130 meter-depth, solar and aerothermal energy is also provided by photovoltaic panels from the Beronia solar park.

Detail on each energy:

  • Solar Thermal Panels: 6 which are used to heat sanitary/hygienic water and 20 panels which preheat the sterilization water in the bottling line and barrel cleaning. They pre-heat approximately 4.000 litres in total.
  • Photovoltaic Park: It is installed in the old winery, total power is 220Kw, it has 34 modules with 72 cells each. It supplies us with approximately 20% of all the energy used by both wineries. Installation was granted by Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la energía (IDEA) with a subsidy of 35,36%.
  • Geothermia (image below): The water pipes go down to 130m. During winter they extract the heat from the earth, increasing the water temperature, and use it to heat the building through the pipe system integrated in the concrete walls of the building. During summer, it cools it by extracting the heat from the building and giving it back to the earth. It is important to have a permanent temperature throughout the year and this system helps us as well as can help future resilience for temperature changes. At this moment, we do not have data as to how much we have saved with the installation as this was installed within construction but it has consumed 40.000 KWH in January to August period
  • Aerothermia: this system extracts energy from the air, which is used for the cooling / heating of the winery in the social areas. The system reinforces the geotermia and has used 13.000 KWH in the same period.


We are testing “Cleanwood”, a barrel cleaning high precision technology. It is a maintenance system designed to speed up and help perfect barrel regeneration processes.  It is based on a  high frequency waves system, which uses a determined pattern of frequencies and intensities, eliminating the microorganisms of the barrel, and regenerating it in 4 minutes. This system helps to increase the preservation of the barrels for a longer period of time.

For now, we know we are increasing the barrel age at least 2 years, although we are still analyzing results on the use of this technology.

Use of light

The efficient use of light provides spaces that are pleasant thanks to the temperature being controlled and the natural light that comes into the space where fermentation takes place, an area that is usually dark.  All of this is the result of the building’s half-moon shape, its south-easterly orientation and its curtain wall façade that will be protected from direct sunlight by the canopy on the main roof and other protective arrangements designed to reduce the amount of direct sunlight. The barrel hall, being dug into the ground and having no exterior facades, will also enjoy a constant temperature throughout the year, which will translate into significant energy savings.

Water recovery

The roof of the winery recovers rainwater on its surface.  Through pipes at both sides, which measure in total 740,2 m2, the captured rainwater is used to water the gardens.


LEED certification

LEED is an international certification for sustainable buildings created in 1993 and developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. This seal of approval classifies buildings based on their degree of excellence and gives points for achievements in efficiency and sustainability via independent, third-party verification. LEED assesses those strategies aimed at improving sustainability and efficiency in aspects related to people’s well-being, energy saving, water efficiency, reduction of CO2 emissions, improvement of the quality of interiors, management and conservation of resources and reduction of waste, among many other considerations.


The concept of building a sustainable winery is replicable. Main message is to include sustainability in the project design.

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