Green Collar Careers: Minute Men Painters co-owner, Sean Sturk

By Ken | Apr 17, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

Sean Sturk has been painting for most of his life. After college, Sturk could've easily pursued a career in business or marketing, putting his degrees to use. Instead he followed the job he'd loved doing as a teen; running paint crews and slowly becoming an expert in the business. He eventually owned and operated a paint store, which included eco-friendly options, furthering his knowledge of products and painting techniques. Then, in 2000, Sturk became co-owner of Minute Men Painters.

Bringing his knowledge of environmentally-friendly paints and supplies, Sturk has helped Minute Men Painters grow to specialize in using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) and VOC-free paints, making them a stand out in an industry that uses chemicals with long-lasting effects on painters and paint suppliers. According to Sturk, he's seen these damaging, toxic effects first-hand.

“[A] co-worker of mine, had no sense of smell and we know that this is a result of years of working with toxic fumes," said Sturk. "We grew the company to take the burden off of ourselves physically but now we have these other options for our employees. As a company we made a conscious decision to decrease the toxicity of our products and learn as much as we could about them.”

Changing the Way We Think About Home Heating

By Mike | Apr 16, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

The wind wails around the outside of the house; a loose shutter rattles against the siding, a chill permeates the insulation. Once more the thermostat is turned up, and the carbon footprint grows. It’s a common routine for homeowners throughout New England. But there are a number of alternative fueling options when it comes to keeping your home warm without causing environmental harm.

Of all the current choices natural gas is perhaps the most efficient and economic, and among New England homeowners it’s growing in popularity. But it’s not always available, and where that’s the case propane offers a viable alternative. Both gases are considered cleaner burning fuels than No.2 and in recent years more and more customers have been converting to gas. But less so this year.

“The problem is that oil delivers more energy per gallon burned than either natural gas or propane,” Guy Marshall, General Manager of Simply Green Biofuels, said. “While gas prices were significantly lower than oil, conversion made sense. But right now the price differential just isn’t there.”

With the drop in oil prices this winter, No.2 oil has become the economic choice. And while those prices have fallen, customers have burned more fuel. “I would say that the average consumer is probably using about five percent more [heating oil] just because of the lower price,” Marshall said.

CCNNE Continues to Make Sustainability a Priority

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 16, 2015 | in

Here in New Hampshire, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE), an independent bottler, ensures they’re doing more than just talking about recycling programs. Through technological modernization of its production lines and a rethinking of how it uses water, the Londonderry Production Center is one of the most sustainable and energy efficient operations. CCNNE’s Londonderry Production Center has won Coca-Cola’s National Quality award 9 times!

Their Dasani plant bottle is made from 30% renewable resources, over 12 million pounds of recycled commodities were sold in 2013, 264 million pounds of cardboard was saved and just under 300,000 oak trees saved by using recycled plastic trays, and have a 93% recycling diversion rate at their manufacturing facility in Londonderry.

Hit the Decks in Portsmouth

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 16, 2015 | in

Spring fever is here! It's that time of year again when all anyone wants to do is spend time outside with friends and family. There's no better way to do this than to enjoy great food, drinks, and shopping at the best businesses in town.

On May 8, the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce will sponsor Hit the Decks, a celebratory day for enjoying dining on decks and al fresco patios throughout the seacoast. 

Restaurants such as 250 Market, British Beer Company, Old Ferry Landing, Ri Ra Irish Pub, Poco's Bow Street Cantina, and many more will be participating in this great day. Poco's decks are a favorite spot amongst local and visitors. As a member of the Green Alliance, Poco's is committed to sustainability. They recycle everything possible including paper, plastic, frying oil, metals, etc. And they compost 100% of their food waste, have installed outdoor motion light sensors to cut down on energy use, and replaced one heating system with an efficient fireplace, and plan to install a new efficient pump system to replace the current, older model. 

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation Beach Cleanup for Earth Day

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 16, 2015 | in

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation will be hosting two beach cleanups on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in celebration of Earth Day. One will be at Hampton Beach. Volunteers should meet at 10:30a.m. at the Blue Ocean Discovery Center, 170 Ocean Blvd, Hampton Beach. 

The other cleanup will be at Pierce Island at 11:00a.m. Volunteers for that cleanup should meet at the swimming pool. All supplies, including bags, non-latex gloves, and data cards will be provided.

Beach cleanups are a way for the public to get involved in keeping the beaches along the Gulf of Maine clean. They rid the shore of litter such as cigarettes, food wrappers, straws, and bottle caps that can be harmful to marine life. Cleanup volunteers record their findings, which allow the organization to learn about long-term trends in pollution and problem areas. Families, small and large groups, and individuals are all welcome to participate.

Coastal Home and Garden Show Inspires Fun in the Sun

By Mike | Apr 15, 2015 | in

At long last spring has finally sprung! To celebrate the new season, the Greater York Chamber of Commerce will be holding the first Coastal Home and Garden Show at the Kittery Community Center located at 120 Rogers Road, Kittery Maine on Saturday May 2nd and Sunday May 3rd from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. With a wide range of vendors showing their latest innovations in home remodeling and landscaping, the Coastal Home and Garden Show is sure to inspire attendees to soak up the sun and enjoy the warmer weather.

Of the 14 vendors slated to set up, visitors can expect to find Urban Tree Service from Rochester, Your Kitchen Imagined from Scarborough, Maine, and Make a Difference Landscaping from Lee. Several sustainable businesses will make appearances as well, such as Evergreen Energy from Naples, Maine and Homesnuggers from Windham Maine. Evergreen is a heating company that warms homes with clean, wood burning boilers while Homesnuggers provides foam insulation- a cheaper and much greener alternative to fiberglass insulation. The Green Alliance will be setting up at the show as well.

Integrated Fitness of Dover’s Introduces Day of Fitness for Suicide Prevention

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 15, 2015 | in

Fitness is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, along with proper nutrition. But it also provides an outlet to improve mental health functions. On May 9, Integrated Fitness of Dover will host the first annual Day of Fitness at their facility in Dover, New Hampshire. The event is free, but donations for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are accepted.

“I have been personally looking for ways to make a difference for people who have been affected by suicide,” said Integrated Fitness owner, Jon Arnold.
“My 23-year old sister took her own life about 2 years ago. It was a horrific ordeal that our family went through. We don’t want that to affect anyone else if we could possibly help it.”

At Integrated Fitness Arnold's certified trainers help people of any level incorporate fitness into their daily lives and to meet their individual health goals.

There will be numerous events at the Day of Fitness to inspire people achieve their personal goals, including dead-lift, plank and push-up competitions and a one-mile run. Winners of each category will win an award for their performance.

The day also includes speakers from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

Local Businesses Keeps Green as it Grows

By Mike | Apr 15, 2015 | in

By Mike Bizier

PORTSMOUTH - John O'Brien's cleaning company is more than just green in its name, from the products its employees use down to their uniforms, O'Brien has ensured his company is true to its name. Six years after it opened, Green Maids starts the next chapter in its history as it expands into a new location at Regeneration Park in Portsmouth.

Outfitted with uniforms made from organic material, the most environmentally safe cleaning products and equipment available, and a Toyota Prius for travel, Green Maids puts sustainability into every aspect and every decision of its business. Their new location reflects those same strict sustainability initiatives.

In late January, Green Maids moved into Regeneration Park. Formerly a Toyota dealership, the renovated building at 3612 Lafayette Road provides office space for six other eco-focused businesses, and is environmentally friendly itself. The building boasts numerous sustainable initiatives like motion sensor lighting to reduce energy usage, solar panels, a robust composting program, and an advanced rainwater filtration and purification system.

Gundalow Gatherings Teaches Children and Adults About the Seacoast's Maritime History

By Corey | Apr 14, 2015 | in

PORTSMOUTH - The rivers of the Piscataqua Region are the veins running through the seacoast's historic maritime region, connecting commerce, trade, people and history. Between 1690 and 1900, the vessels that dominated these waters of the Piscataqua Region were gundalows – flat-bottom, shallow drafted cargo barges reaching 70 feet in length. These unique ships helped shape the way business ran throughout the seacoast region, transporting goods and people before roads and bridges were viable options. But as the rail system became the preferred method of trade, gundalows, and the waterways of the seacoast, fell out of favor. Today, The Gundalow Company, a non-profit organization based in Portsmouth, uses educational programs aboard recreation gundalow ships to ensure that the people of today and tomorrow understand the significance of the region’s maritime heritage and environment.

On April 25 the Gundalow Company will host the 4th Annual Gundalow Gatherings, a night of food, drinks and conversation focused on the area's maritime history and future conservation. Attendees of the fundraising event can choose between nine dinner locations held at the homes of the hosts in Portsmouth, Kittery and York, Maine. All of the evening's proceeds support the Gundalow Company's 2015 education programs.

Green Alliance Seeking Assistant Director

By Sam | Apr 14, 2015 | in

The purpose of the Green Alliance Assistant Director is to support all tiers of the company with a special emphasis on Business Partner (BP) story-telling, sales, satisfaction, and service. The Assistant Director works alongside the Director to provide support in different ways when needed. The sales aspect of this position is to generate leads, close business partnerships, and on-board new businesses by familiarizing them with Green Alliance policies and practices and then helping to execute all the GA services. The Assistant Director is instrumental in all aspects of writing, editing, PR and Marketing, social media and technology support. Strong writing and editing skills are required. The ideal candidate understands the realities of working for a growing small business powered by a little budget and a whole lot of entrepreneurial spirit. Computer skills and customer service experience are a must. The perfect candidate is well organized and has a knack for improving the efficiency of business operations. A passion for the environment and social responsibility are also a must. This is not a “punch-the-clock” position but rather, the ideal candidate is self-motivated to go the extra mile.

Enjoy Exclusive Discounts with the Green Alliance During the Month of April

By Katelyn | Apr 14, 2015 | in

$20 off an EcoTech Fly Cage
So you’re excited for warm weather, and we don’t want to rain on the parade, but guess what else comes with warm weather? That’s right, flies, and lots of them. Tom Pray of EcoTech Pest Services has a new invention called the Fly Cage. It’s pretty simple, but incredibly powerful; built to resemble a four-legged animal, the cage attracts flies simply by sight – no chemicals whatsoever! It’s great for backyards, barns, fields, anywhere you want to keep pest-free and chemical free.

$10 off a $50 purchase at The Natural Dog
Warm weather also means more time to play with your furry friends! No more hurried laps around the block, it’s time to have some serious fun. Check your garage though – are your chew toys gross and old? Think your pup deserves something new? The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat is offering $10 off a purchase of $50 or more on toys and treats, so everyone’s happy, especially your dog! There are plenty of cat toys to choose from too.

25% off a full house clean with Green Maids
Of all the associations with spring, "cleaning" is one of the most prominent. It's time to open the windows and fill your house with freshness again. But with all this dog playing and fly catching you have going on, who has time? Why not let Green Maids clean your house with all natural, toxin-free cleaning products, a reputable staff, and at a full 25% off to boot! This offer is valid only on a full house clean, and for first-time Green Maids customers.

$250 Lowe’s gift card from Yankee Thermal Imaging
Lastly, you probably have some home improvement plans for this year – planting some shrubs, rebuilding your walkway, or maybe buying that industrial weed puller you’ve been eyeing for months. What would you say to a $250 gift card to Lowe’s Home Improvement? Probably something like “oh, heck yes!” right? Yankee Thermal Imaging is offering gift cards to any Green Alliance Members who have weatherization and insulation completed in the month of April. That means by next winter, you could have a warm, tightly sealed house, and by the end of the month, you could have a head start on your next home improvement project!

During the entire month of April, you can join the Green Alliance for just $20!

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Hayseed Restaurant

By Corey | Apr 14, 2015 | in

Who: Hayseed Restaurant

What: Since first purchasing the Towle Farm property for its new facility in Hampton, Smuttynose Brewing Company always planned to have a restaurant on campus. That plan became a reality in 2015 with the opening of Hayseed Restaurant. Two of the farm’s original structures, an 18th Century barn and a Victorian farmhouse, remain intact. The latter of which was moved 85 yards across the property and renovated to accommodate the restaurant. Renovations to Hayseed were done to improve sustainability while preserving the house’s organic character. The red oak wood used for the tables and bar was milled from trees on the brewery’s farm during its construction. Hayseed is also outfitted with energy recovery ventilators that supply fresh air for the interior of the building and recover thermal energy from the conditioned, exhaust air system. There is also a condensing, gas-fired water heater on-site to provide domestic hot water quickly. And the system can store the water for long periods of time without losing temperature, operating at a thermal efficiency greater than 90 percent. And when it comes to the menu, Hayseed's food is sourced from local farms and fisheries whenever possible with some of its produce grown on-site. All food scraps are composted and plastic, glass and cardboard materials are recycled using a single stream system. Hayseed also offers compostable to-go containers, which are delivered through Favorite Foods, a sustainable restaurant supply company. Hayseed also offers compostable to-go bags and cups.

Racing for a Cure

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 13, 2015 | in

By Sarah Mahoney

PORTSMOUTH - The Green Alliance team is lacing up their sneakers and getting ready to run in the 4th Annual Komen NH Race for the Cure. The Green Alliance is a proud sponsor of the race and has created a team to further support Susan G. Komen. Green Alliance members are encouraged to join the team and will receive a free t-shirt to wear on race day. To join the team, click here and register by searching "Green Alliance" under team names. Once you've registered, contact Sarah at to let her know you've signed up.

For the last three years, the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure in New Hampshire has had a strong run as one of the largest events to bring awareness to survivors and those suffering from breast cancer. With the race returning for a fourth year, there’s no end in sight for its continued success.

The Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen organization will hold its fourth annual race on May 9th at the Strawberry Banke Museum on 14 Hancock Street in Portsmouth, N.H. at 9 a.m. To date, the Komen organization’s national race days have become some of the largest and most successful fundraising events for breast cancer around the world.

Seacoast Spine will provide medical services in the First-Aid tent for runners along with massages for breast cancer survivors. There will also be a silent auction featuring local business, like Art with a Splash and Coastal Fitness, donating their goods and/or services to the event.

Redhook /Green Alliance Party for the Planet; Earth Day Cleanup and Celebration with Special Guest Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 13, 2015 | in

By Katelyn Monroe

PORTSMOUTH - Redhook and the Green Alliance, celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, with a drop-in clean-up and a party, featuring special guest Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and The event is open to the public and guests enjoy live music and complimentary eats. $2 from every beer purchased goes to the local environmental non-profit Hodgson Brook Association. Free ice cream compliments of Ben & Jerry’s!

The event brings together sustainable business leaders, green-minded residents and Ben & Jerry’s fans. The Party for the Planet is 6- 9pm at Redhook in Portsmouth with a $5 entry also going to Hodgson Brook. All are invited but GA members get in free and clean-up participants get free raffle tickets for every bag of trash collected. The triumvirate between the Green Alliance, Redhook and Ben & Jerry’s is a match made in environmental heaven; not only is Redhook a staple on the seacoast's craft brewing scene, but also a leader in sustainable business practices.

“This is where the collaboration really becomes powerful,” says GA Director Sarah Brown. “A business like Redhook is ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability and is thrilled to be hosting green business leader, citizens and Ben Cohen. We want folks to connect the dots between responsible business practices and protecting the environment; all three of our organizations share these values.”

Kittery Community Market Now on Sundays

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 13, 2015 | in

The Kittery Community Market is starting up again, but on Sundays this year! Their goal is to provide fresh local food choices and artisans work to Kittery and surrounding areas. 

The Kittery Community Market will be on Sundays instead of Wednesdays beginning June 7th and continuing every Sunday until October 4th from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. It will be located at The Kittery Community Market (KCM), Kittery Center Village at Post Office Square, 10 Shapleigh Road, in Kittery, ME.

There are over 30 vendors present offering a variety of produce, meats, cheeses, maple syrup, baked goods, candy, pickles, jams/jellies, crafts and much more. This market is currently seeking vendors, email if you're interested in becoming a vendor. 

To learn more about this event, click here.