Co-op Helps Brew Up Savings
A New Hampshire inn that’s served visitors for a generation is now generating some of its own electricity and brewing up its own beer with a little help from its electric cooperative.
New Hampshire Electric Cooperative has been involved with Scott and Peggy Rice since the couple first acquired a century-old home in North Woodstock with a dream of turning it into tourist lodging.
“From the very beginning, NHEC has been an indispensable partner in planning for our electric needs,” said Scott Rice, who opened the house as a small bed and breakfast with just four guest rooms and a 25-seat restaurant in late 1982.
Since then, a series of acquisitions and expansions have created 29 additional guest rooms and a second restaurant. After two years of additional construction, a new craft brewery and function space nearing completion includes a number of energy-saving features suggested by co-op staffers.
“The folks at the NHEC devoted a lot of time going through all sorts of options till we finally came up with a plan that worked for my business,” said Rice.
The Plymouth-based co-op’s energy advisor and a key accounts representative also consulted the owners of other nearby businesses. That led to relocation of the inn’s three-phase service line, which improved system reliability without affecting the appearance of the town’s historic Main Street.
“That move set the stage for a series of energy-efficiency improvements, including the installation of an ozone cleaning system in the inn’s laundry,” said Bill Vecchio, the co-op’s business development executive. “We also suggested energy-efficient lighting, four air source heat pumps for heating and cooling, and a solar photovoltaic system.”
Fifty-four solar panels were mounted on the roof of the 13,000 square-foot addition, which helped Rice qualify for a $19,000 incentive from the co-op. During the two-year construction period, Rice received more than $107,000 in Co-op Energy Solutions incentives towards the cost of the $2.3 million project.
“NHEC has provided energy-efficiency incentives and expertise that will result in annual energy savings of $28,000 for the Rices,” said Seth Wheeler, the co-op’s communications administrator. “Expansion of the inn and the addition of the brewery will be good for the area’s economy and White Mountain tourism, creating up to 15 new jobs.”