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The Stone House Group was founded as an energy consulting company with the intent of helping organizations manage and reduce their energy consumption through a variety of services. The Stone House Group approaches energy management and planning from six perspectives to ensure a comprehensive plan. These perspectives are data and planning, procurement, generation, distribution, end-use, and community.
Our objectives through energy management are resource conservation, mitigation of environmental impact and cost savings. From your buildings to infrastructure, renewables and retro-commissioning, The Stone House Group understands where and how to target energy saving opportunities. The Stone House Group believes energy management is a barometer of stewardship.
Have volatile and unpredictable energy prices, tight operating budgets, or sustainability goals made energy efficiency an institutional necessity?
It’s time for energy management. The Stone House Group looks at energy management and planning from six perspectives to ensure a comprehensive approach: data and planning, procurement, generation, distribution, end-use, and community. The Stone House Group’s Energy Management services are designed to research current usage, practices, building loads and infrastructure in order to determine our client’s fiscal and operational needs. Comprehensive energy management plans have yielded sizeable benefits for our clients by sourcing at better prices, reducing consumption through thoughtful changes in operation and improved maintenance and upgrades. Our technical knowledge and operational experience combined with an understanding of how systems actually work enables us to evaluate system design and performance to help lower energy costs. The Stone House Group’s thorough understanding of holistic systems and unique perspective sets us apart from our competitors.
How do you know if your facilities are operating as efficiently as possible?
Benchmark your energy cost and consumption against peer facilities. Since buildings in the United States consume about 40% of the country’s total energy use and 17% of the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from commercial buildings, it is reasonable for an institution to look into ways to reduce consumption and GHG emissions. The Stone House Group offers energy benchmarking services that collect and analyze energy cost and consumption data to help institutions determine where there may be energy efficiency upgrades opportunities. Clients who perform energy benchmarking not only see how their facilities compare to other clients, but the data collected can be uploaded to Energy Star® Portfolio Manager® and used in nationwide benchmarking databases for similarly sized facilities. Some cities have begun to require facilities to report energy and water consumption in Portfolio Manager® as a part of their own energy benchmarking laws.
How do you design a high performance building and understand which systems are right for your facility?
Model it. The technology of building systems is ever-changing. Energy modeling is a tool that informs the decision-making process and helps optimize building envelope, mechanical, electrical, and other technologies within a building. A strong energy model can showcase several design options in a way other tools cannot. Energy modeling can be used as a benchmarking tool to compare a building to similar buildings and show proposed energy savings compared to a baseline. A model can help predict a building’s energy usage and costs and most importantly, allow the design team to prioritize energy strategies that will have the greatest impact on building and occupant use.
Energy modeling helps clients understand comparative building dynamics, predictive building performance, life cycle cost analysis, measurement and verification, and budgeting decisions. One of The Stone House Group’s foundational principles is energy management and reduction. As an integral part of our practice we routinely model energy consumption of designs in order to optimize systems for energy savings.
How can you make peak utility demand work in your institution’s favor?
Understand Demand Response programs. The Stone House Group can assist clients wanting to generate income through Demand Response programs. These programs offer incentive payments to end-users when they purposefully reduce electricity use at times of peak demand or high market prices.
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Can you make the volatility of the energy market work to your advantage?
Yes, and we can show you how. The cost of fossil fuels has been subject to extreme fluctuations over the past several years and with deregulation, the electricity markets have followed suit. Energy Procurement is essential in a deregulated marketplace where commodities are subject to price fluctuations. Understanding your facilities’ current energy cost and consumption profile, as well as market conditions, will allow The Stone House Group to develop a procurement strategy specifically for your institution. We have extensive experience working with partners to negotiate supply contracts in a deregulated marketplace and can help you generate income through electrical Demand Response Programs. Another procurement option is carbon offsets, such as renewable energy credits (RECs). Our firm has experience selecting the most effective carbon offset in the market and negotiating the strongest contract for your institution.
How do you systematically evaluate energy opportunity?
You conduct an energy audit. The Stone House Group conducts energy audits both to our own standards and in accordance with the standards developed by ASHRAE, which consist of three levels (I, II, III) of increasing attention to specific energy projects. Our work is conducted by a team of engineers with extensive experience in the energy efficiency industry. Benefits of energy audits include lower operating costs and increased asset value, savings due to improvements in generation, distribution, and end use systems, conserved water and energy, healthier and safer buildings for occupants, and reduced harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Capital Investment Plans (ECIPs) identify energy projects through iterative calculations catalogued by capital investment, cost savings, and estimated payback.
Do you have a below-ground infrastructure plan that complements the above-ground architectural plan in a strategic way?
You would be experiencing cost efficiencies if you did. All too often, campus utility services are managed on an ad hoc basis and not part of a master plan, resulting in inefficiencies. If heating, cooling, electric, water, sewer, and telecommunication systems are organized into a well-managed system, substantial cost savings can be realized. Our team evaluates existing conditions, potential opportunities, and energy consumption. Analysis of upfront, long-term, and life cycle costs in conjunction with environmental, capital, and maintenance advantages results in a strategic and resilient whole-scale utility plan. The Stone House Group uses a holistic approach when developing Utility Master Plans, resulting in strategies to lower the cost per square foot of space.
How can you complete an energy project when capital is scarce?
Call The Stone House Group. Our firm will analyze federal, state and local incentives that can help reduce or offset capital needs for chosen energy efficiency or renewable energy projects. We are familiar with New Jersey’s Pay for Performance (P4P) program, Pennsylvania’s Alternative and Clean Energy (ACE) Program, Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) State Grant, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), among several other grant and incentive programs. We are also familiar with a variety of loan options to help fund energy projects. For solar installation projects alone, The Stone House Group has helped clients receive over $10 Million in grants and incentive funding.
Other resources we use to analyze incentives and grants include the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (dsireusa.org).