Sustainability

Balancing People, Planet and Profit

to create sustainable buildings

Sustainability

Building construction and operations have extremely large direct and indirect impacts on our environment, society, and economy. At The Stone House Group, we strive to balance the needs of People, Planet, and Profit by using integrated and innovative design approaches.

Our objective is to minimize the use of critical resources such as water, energy, materials, waste, and land while increasing health and comfort for building occupants. By reducing the amount of energy and disruption that comes with building, we can help create built environments that are sustained for years to come.

How can you manage what you do not already measure?

Take inventory. A Greenhouse Gas Inventory is a measurement and management accountability tool required by the American College and Universities President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and the Green Schools Alliance (GSA). The inventory provides a baseline (a required starting point for benchmarking Greenhouse Gases) and assists in identifying and aggregating the impact of sources of greenhouse gases.

We also provide Carbon Footprint Management which helps qualify the effectiveness of actions so you can allocate your resources to the areas that will have the most impact. The Stone House Group utilizes these strategies to help academic institutions create Climate Action Plans and carbon reduction strategies to realize their environmental potential.

What happens after a Greenhouse Gas Inventory?

Create a plan. The Stone House Group utilizes Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Carbon Footprint management strategies to help academic institutions create Climate Action Plans and carbon reduction strategies to realize their environmental potential.

 

Relevant Case Studies:

Villanova University

How does sustainability become second nature?

Infuse sustainability into school curriculum. Education for Sustainability (EFS) is about teaching the next generation about being green and resource conservation. Using the “building as a laboratory”, The Stone House Group can help clients achieve a better understanding  of how local actions have global implications. The Stone House Group is a strong advocate for Education for Sustainability, as well as Project-Based Learning (PBL). We believe that together these efforts promote interdisciplinary creativity and real-world problem solving, and together could become a future educational paradigm. These two ways of thinking stimulate hands-on experience that evaluates environmental issues directly related to one’s school, responsibility for tracking a school’s environmental impact, and sustainable practices so institutions can reduce their carbon footprint while preparing students to build green economy. Because of our company’s strong belief in the effectiveness of EFS and PBL, we have assisted in the creation of an EFS/PBL program called the GingerBuilding Challenge. Read below for more information on this exciting program!

How do you begin to determine your building’s environmental impact?

Assess and benchmark against peer institutions. As a supplemental service to a facilities benchmarking assessment, The Stone House Group will assess your facilities’ greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts and compare our findings to previous internal benchmarks and peer facilities.

How can you make an environmental statement and positive impact on your bottom line while harnessing the power of alternative energy sources?

Consider Renewable Energy. The Stone House Group believes that renewable energy that is also financially sustainable makes sense! Using our understanding of tax credits, federal, state, and local utility incentives and renewable energy credit markets, we can advise clients on how to structure both the installation and the financing of renewable projects. We provide renewable energy feasibility studies that act as stand-alone projects or pieces of large-scale, campus or utility master planning projects. Our expertise in renewable energy, combined with our financing, incentive, and procurement strategies can make renewable projects a no-brainer for clients. Our experience includes biomass, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind and fuel cells, and many emerging renewable processes.

How do you showcase a building’s level of “greenness”?

Get it LEED Certified. The most widely accepted verifying system in the US is the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED Administration is the process of collaborating, collecting, and documenting credits necessary to achieve certification. The Stone House Group handles all coordination and documentation submissions with USGBC and has established a presence as a highly reputable LEED consultant. Clients often bring The Stone House Group onto multiple projects for comprehensive LEED services, including energy modeling and building commissioning. The Stone House Group can help guide design teams through site selection, energy and water systems, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality to reach the teams’ goals of green while streamlining the design, construction, and documentation processes.

Relevant Case Studies:

How can you build buildings that outperform the industry standard and are places where people want to work, learn, live, and play?

Make them green. Buildings that utilize strategies to promote energy, water, resource, and environmental responsibility are termed “green buildings.” The Stone House Group provides a dynamic and integrated approach to the building process based on our experience with a variety of rating systems, energy modeling, and life cycle costing. We work hand in hand with the design team and help the client understand which shade of green achieves desired goals for the building.

How do you ensure integrity of your building for years to come?

Recruit a Building Envelope Consultant. The Stone House Group envelope consultants are innovative and valuable assets for any project team to keep an eye on the life of the building. The envelope consulting process provides design and construction support, focusing on materials, assemblies, and the relationship between them. The Stone House Group assists and oversees installation of the best performing vapor, air, water, and thermal layers to build the most sustainable structure possible. Our expertise in envelope materials, moisture migration, and thermal performance of enclosure systems prevents assembly failure before it ever becomes a problem.

Are there alternative options to LEED certification that highlight buildings with low energy consumption and high levels of thermal comfort?

Yes – one of which is Passive House.  Passive houses abide by a clearly defined energy standard, exhibit extremely low energy consumption and high levels of thermal comfort. Passive buildings are designed and built in accordance with five main principles: continuous insulation, tight construction, balanced ventilation, minimized mechanical systems, and optimized solar gain. These principles can be applied to all buildings, from single family homes to multi-family buildings to high-rises. Pre-planning and careful execution of details is critical in meeting the rigorous standards of Passive House projects. The Passive House process models and balances a comprehensive set of factors from construction thermal bridges to occupant heat emissions. As a result, passive buildings offer extensive benefits, from significantly reducing environmental footprint to increased occupant satisfaction. The Stone House Group can help project teams optimize the design of their Passive Houses, model building design and components in accordance with Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) requirements, and provide on-site support through the construction process.

How does sustainability become second nature?

Infuse sustainability into school curriculum. Education for Sustainability (EFS) is about teaching the next generation about being green and resource conservation. Using the “building as a laboratory”, The Stone House Group can help clients achieve a better understanding  of how local actions have global implications. The Stone House Group is a strong advocate for Education for Sustainability, as well as Project-Based Learning (PBL). We believe that together these efforts promote interdisciplinary creativity and real-world problem solving, and together could become a future educational paradigm. These two ways of thinking stimulate hands-on experience that evaluates environmental issues directly related to one’s school, responsibility for tracking a school’s environmental impact, and sustainable practices so institutions can reduce their carbon footprint while preparing students to build green economy. Because of our company’s strong belief in the effectiveness of EFS and PBL, we have assisted in the creation of an EFS/PBL program called the GingerBuilding Challenge. Read below for more information on this exciting program!

How do you infuse sustainability into school curriculum while also creating a fun learning atmosphere?

Participate in The GingerBuilding Challenge. The GingerBuilding Challenge is a program that fuses together project-based learning (PBL) and environmental stewardship while teaching students about sustainable building strategies and features. The Stone House Group developed the GingerBuilding Challenge curriculum to introduce students and teachers to the basics of sustainable building, covering topics related to sustainable sites, water usage, energy efficiency, renewable energy, materials and construction, and local resources. Students work in small groups to design and build a gingerbread house that they think best utilizes sustainable building concepts learned. The houses are then entered into a friendly competition where judges, who include green professional and interested members of the community, score the students on their creations.

GingerBuilding Challenge kits come with gingerbread house pieces, icing, candy, house bases, tote bags, and all curriculum and instruction material. To learn more about the program, please contact us here.

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17+ Healthcare and medical clients served.

Did you know?

Energy management represents the convergence of environmental, facilities, and institutional stewardship; savings provide the seeds for "Building Stewardship"

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Managing & Founding Principal  |  Lawrence B. Eighmy