Less energy use, more ice cream and chocolate

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October 17, 2019

Daryl Dawson was in search of a new career after working in safety and quality assurance for a biotech company for years. With a love for cooking, ice cream, chocolate and the Lakes Region, he looked for a new business and career opportunity.  So, in 2017, Daryl purchased a Lakes Region landmark, the Kellerhaus, in Laconia.   Perched on a bluff that overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee, the Kellerhaus got a new owner and much more – including innovative solutions to reduce energy costs and help protect the environment.  

With a fresh perspective on an iconic New Hampshire business, Daryl knew he had to make changes to improve his operations while keeping the nostalgic authentic feel of an old-time candy and ice cream shop; in other words – how could he modernize without losing the very thing that makes the Kellerhaus special?  Daryl decided that pursuing energy efficiency was a great way to bring the Kellerhaus up-to-date and improve his bottom line; by using less energy he would save money while also reducing his environmental footprint – so he reached out to the NH SBDC sustainability program to help.

NH SBDC’s Business Sustainability Program advisor, Andrea O’Brien, advised Daryl in the development of his energy plan. “Just like every business needs a business plan, every business needs an energy plan.”  And that is what NH SBDC helped the Kellerhaus do. 

The plan identifies potential areas for improvement and what resources are available, such as energy auditors and vendors, and finally, possible financing sources (e.g., rebates, energy grants, low interest loans or working capital).  And all of this can help businesses realize a return on their energy efficiency investment. 

Energy LB LLC and Turn Cycle Solutions LLC helped Daryl select energy technology and then execute the plan.  The first part of the project included lighting, refrigeration and HVAC improvements. National Resource Management, Inc. worked on the refrigeration, and Eversource rebates helped Daryl purchase the equipment. Results were immediate:  $1000/month savings every month, a better lighting esthetic, and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


But Daryl’s not stopping there. Phase two of the Kellerhaus energy project will focus on improving the building envelope. Armed with the required energy audit prepared by Turn Cycle Solutions, Daryl was able to apply for a USDA REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) grant.  Because his location is in a rural area and his project met the efficiency requirements, Kellerhaus was awarded a grant for 25 percent of the total project budget, further improving his ROI on the project.

Daryl says:  "I set up a meeting with NH SBDC to talk about growth opportunities for our business. After discussing some much-needed updates to the building I was directed to Andrea O'Brien to determine how these updates could also result in energy efficiency. I was surprised to see how much energy savings was possible and support was available from NH SBDC. I was even more impressed with what we are already seeing from the improvements we have completed. Andrea and others at NH SBDC have been a great help for making this project successful."

If you would like to consider an energy project for your business, connect with Andrea O’Brien, Director, NH SBDC Sustainability Program. Email andrea.obrien@unh.edu or call 603-641-4379.

NH SBDC Business Sustainability Program

The Business Sustainability Program (BSP) provides one-on-one confidential business advising in the areas of energy efficiency assessment and funding, environmental management, emergency planning employee safety, and other issues that impact the sustainability of a business.  The goal of the BSP is to help the business owner adopt best management practices to reduce operational risk, increase profitability and therefore, enhance the value of her or his company. 

About NH SBDC and Eversource’s Partnership

In order to support economic development and help New Hampshire small businesses lower their energy costs and reduce their impact on the environment, the NH Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Eversource have partnered to enhance the SBDC’s Business Sustainability Program (BSP).

The two-year partnership will focus on strengthening the BSP in three key areas: awareness of available energy efficiency solutions, services and resources; energy efficiency training and education for SBDC staff working with small businesses; and connecting businesses to those resources and programs. In addition, together NH SBDC and Eversource will develop an e-Learning course on energy efficiency for businesses that will be added to the SBDC’s robust curriculum of online business education opportunities.