By Mike Bizier
In 2005, Hampton fire chief Chris Silver surveyed local businesses on whether or not they had an extreme weather plan. An astounding two-thirds of all businesses surveyed had no plan, while five out 10 said their business operations couldn’t afford to be down for more than five days without suffering significant loss to profits and employees.
It’s clear that extreme weather is a serious issue especially for business. It’s also clear that more frequent and severe storms have now become a fact of life in the region and are a result, at least in part, of climate change.
The Green Alliance, a local organization that works to promote and unite sustainable businesses and individuals across the region, will be hosting a free and open Business Preparedness Forum on March 12 from 6-8:00 PM at their office on 75 Congress St, Suite 304 to discuss some of these issues. The forum will be held in conjunction with the American Red Cross and the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, an organization that works to help communities learn about and use existing resources to prepare for extreme weather and the effects of climate change.
By Michael McCord
Newmarket-based Proulx Oil & Propane has expanded its market share into central New Hampshire by acquiring a long-established Manchester company.
The acquisition in early February by Proulx Oil & Propane of J. A. Bourque & Sons came after discussions between the companies began in the fall of 2014. Proulx Oil & Propane President James Proulx said his company’s third acquisition is a strong one because both companies have established brand names and high marks for customer service. Additionally, both companies are family-owned with deep roots in the two regions.
According to Proulx the acquisition made sense both in brand and service, especially given his company's work along the Route 101 corridor.
“It’s a nice fit with what we are trying to do. We feel there is a lot of brand equity and we will be able to bring more products and services to Bourque customers and other homeowners throughout the Manchester service area,” Proulx said. “Because of market demand over the past two years, we’ve stretched our geographic service boundaries farther west. We had already been doing a fair amount of business in Hooksett and Auburn.”
Proulx Oil & Propane was founded in 1944 and Bourque in 1938. Proulx said Bourque, which has more than 1,200 customers, will retain its name and that very little will change for its customers. “There won’t be any big changes. People will see the same store fronts and trucks,” Proulx said. “There will be modernization and an expansion of online options. We are adding propane to their product offerings.”
The below words are from former GA Assistant Director Scott Szycher who during his two year tenure worked alongside former GA Director of Media Jim Cavan. Jim's darling baby Everett pass a week ago after a long battle with cancer. We continue to honor Jim and Everett and his wife Deana as the entire community mourns the loss of this wonderful baby boy.
I never got to know, or even meet Everett Thomas Cavan during his short lifetime. And it’s my loss, as this baby boy – and make no mistake about it, he was just a baby, his eyes full of wonder, amazement, and curiosity – showed the world what courage was all about during his heroic battle against rhabdoid cancer; a cancer so rare and aggressive that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men (in this case, the phenomenal medical staff at Boston Children’s Hospital) couldn’t overcome the long odds.
But I did have the pleasure of meeting his parents, Jim and Deana Cavan. In fact, during my tenure as the Green Alliance’s Assistant Director, I had the pleasure of working very closely with Jim, who served as the Director of Media. I’d quickly get to know him as a talented, versatile writer whose prose could somehow make seemingly mundane of subjects come to life, often on absurdly short deadlines. For my money, nobody who could write faster could write better, and nobody who could write better could faster.
By Mark Quirk
Proper insulation has taken on a whole new level of importance this winter. Not only has it been essential to keep the heat in and the cold out for comfort, but it has also been crucial to the safety of homeowners. That's because the roof of a properly insulated house is less likely to collapse under the pressure of snow and ice dams.
Ice dams form when an inordinate amount of heat escapes through the roof, a striking indication that the roof and attic are poorly insulated. As ice builds up, weight and pressure increase, sometimes leading to a collapse causing thousands of dollars in damages and putting homeowners at risk.
“Proper insulation is the most important thing,” said Candace Lord, general manager at Green Cocoon, Inc. “Not only for your comfort but your safety, too.”
The Green Cocoon is an environmentally-friendly insulation company located in Salisbury, Mass., that services much of the New Hampshire seacoast and southern Maine.
Lord said the best way to prevent ice dams from building up on the roof, and avoid possible collapse, is to use a spray foam insulation on the ceiling of the attic or top floor of the house. Using the proper insulation will regulate the way the snow melts and keep ice dams or large icicles from forming.
Ice dams form when snow melts and runs down a sloped roof settling near eaves, freezing again when temperatures drop. The snow also melts from warm air vents through un-insulated parts of the roof. As the ice continues to melt and freeze, it builds up and forms an ice dam.
“The only way to stop that from happening is to spray foam,” Lord said.
By Michael McCord
Rochester-based Yankee Thermal Imaging founder and owner, Chris Meyer, started his company with a simple idea born of necessity. Meyer, a Portsmouth native and University of New Hampshire graduate, owned and managed residential and commercial properties in the seacoast region for some time when he began to take a serious look at controlling energy costs.
In particular, he noticed there was a major deficiency in determining energy efficiency cost impacts; no small matter in a region with high energy and heating costs.
“It made very little sense to me that you could go into a 30,000 square-foot building and somebody would look at the roof or the age of the structure but it seemed that nobody was assessing energy efficiency,” Meyer explained. “There are substantial costs but it really wasn’t being checked or calculated. There was nothing that a guy like me could use to determine the real operating costs of the buildings.”
After a lot of brainstorming and self-education about energy efficiency applications, Meyer, along with co-owner Edward Marquardt, came up with a solution. Since its founding in 2008, Yankee Thermal Imaging has worked to help residential and commercial customers reap maximum benefits from energy efficiency initiatives. With 21 employees, including certified energy auditors, the company offers a wide range of programs and technological support to serve a growing customer base in the residential, commercial and municipal sectors.
By Mark Quirk
BEDFORD – For Seth Goldman, saving the environment and helping Americans become healthier has been a lifelong mission.
Goldman grew up in Massachusetts across the street from Paul Sabin, a childhood friend who became one of the nation's most respected scholars of environmental history. While Sabin went into academia, Goldman pursued the entrepreneurial path when he launched a less sweet tasting alternative to the mass produced bottled beverages on the market.
That product is Honest® Tea, a hand-plucked organic and Fair Trade Certified bottled iced tea. Goldman made it part of his company's mission statement to seek to create organic beverages using honesty, integrity and sustainable practices to produce a product that doesn't sacrifice taste.
And it was that same mission Goldman put at the forefront when he decided to sell the company in 2011 just 13 years after its launch. He wanted to sell to a partner that could help further his mission of democratizing organics. After some research and many long conversations, Goldman decided The Coca-Cola Company, who has their own extensive company-wide sustainable initiatives, was the perfect partner.
With the month of February out the door, most New Englanders are hopeful that March will bring warm temperatures and an end to the record breaking snowfall of the 2014-2015 winter season. While the majority of New Hampshire residents are fed up with snow and frosty temperatures, snow removal businesses in the area are grateful for a busy and profitable couple of months. Many landscaping companies switch to plowing, clearing roofs, and removing ice dams during like winter, like our Business Partners Cornerstone Tree Care, Site Structures Landscaping, and Purely Organic Lawncare. When it becomes warmer, these businesses switch back to focusing on outdoor beautification and design services, but Green Alliance members receive a variety of discounts regardless of the time of year!
To Have and Have Not: Renewable Energy Policies Face Opposition in the New Hampshire House and Senate
By Craig Robert Brown
CONCORD - A series of amended bills that would repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), statute RSA 362-F, are going before the New Hampshire House and Senate.
On February 5, the Republican led committee voted to amend HB-208 presented by State Rep. Richard Barry, R-Merrimack, who originally brought the same concept to the table in 2011 and again in 2012. The amendment would keep New Hampshire in RGGI, but would rebate all RGGI auction proceeds to ratepayers instead of using part of the rebates, as it currently does, to invest in low-income and municipal energy efficiency projects.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, one of the original 10 northeast states participating in RGGI, pulled his state from the pact in 2011.
The first vote before the House was held on February 18, which resulted in a decision to stay in RGGI with a 201-154 vote to stop investing any of the funding in energy efficiency. The bill will still go before the Senate, where it could pass, before being presented to the governor.
New Hampshire Public Television is celebrating ten years and seasons of Windows to the Wild, an outdoor series that follows adventurer Willem Lange as he hikes, paddles and explores New England's wild. An avid outdoorsman, Lange has worked as a ranch hand, Adirondack guide, and director of the Dartmouth Outward Bound Center. Lange offers insights into the history, ecology and special character of each place visited, giving viewers quiet moments to reflect on the beauty and splendor of the natural world. Windows to the Wild takes viewers outdoors and to New England's best natural places, in hopes to exemplify how the beauty of nature can be seen just outside a window. Whether it's canoeing down the Connecticut, taking on Acadia's Great Head Trail, or traveling to the waterfalls of the White Mountains, Lange transports viewers into his world of the great outdoors.
On Wednesday March 4 at 7:30 PM, the Windows to the Wild 10th Anniversary Special will have clips from Lange's adventures over the years and much more. Not only will this television event celebrate 10 years of adventures with Lange, but it is also celebrates Lange's 80th birthday! NHPTV is also giving viewers the opportunity to bid on a chance to join Lange and the Windows to the Wild producers on a hike. NHPTV members will recieve Lange's new book Words from the Wild, with stories inspired by Windows to the Wild adventures, a special 2-DVD set of eight favorite shows, and a trademark hiking bandana through a one-time donation to the program.
NHPTV is New Hampshire’s only statewide, locally owned television network. NHPTV is dedicated to broadcasting programs that engage minds, connect communities, and celebrates the region that entertains and educates. They offer a wide range of environmentally-themed programming, while emphasizing commitment to supporting local economy. NHPTV has also instituted a comprehensive recycling program, showing their support of sustainability both on and off the screen.
GateWay Taiji Qigong and Yoga hosts workshop on the latest trend in fitness– yoga geared toward men.
PORTSMOUTH - There's a new trend gaining popularity in the yoga community that has men emerging from their mancaves and stretching their way into yoga studios. Known as Broga, this class offers a unique and innovative type of yoga designed to engage men through a challenging set of routines that combine traditional yoga postures with strengthening exercises. The result is a workout that improves flexibility, builds muscle, reduces the risk of injury, relieves stress and improves balance.
One local yoga studio that has picked up on this growing trend is GateWay Taiji Qigong and Yoga center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Focused on taiji and qigong, in addition to yoga, GateWay has been a center for practicing and teaching the martial arts and energy work since 2012. Its large studio provides a spacious, sunlit, inviting environment for daily classes and special seminars. Gateway founder Bill Buckley creates a welcoming, non-judgmental and fun atmosphere where people of all ages and fitness levels can explore, get fit and connect with other like-minded seekers. Buckley hopes that incorporating the Broga workout will open his studio space to a wider range of students, especially men who don't often participate in yoga.
“Many men avoid yoga because they don’t have the natural flexibility most women have. Traditional yoga classes often highlight this weakness, leading to frustration,” says Buckley.
What: Demand for locally-sourced solar power has grown and NHSolarGarden, one of the first companies to promote group net metering, offers a solution that makes solar affordable for everyone. Founded by Andrew Kellar, NHSolarGarden matches group members interested in purchasing solar power with land and property owners who act as hosts for solar arrays. NHSolarGarden develops a solar array to power one location, the host site, which shares its excess power with another location, like a residence, business or school, through existing utilities like NH Electric Coop, Unitil and Eversource Energy (formerly PSNH). Groups made up of individuals also receive a host's excess energy when they join NHSolarGarden. Members get bi-annual Solar Rebates, equivalent to one cent per kWh off their current electric rate; essentially incurring no upfront costs to invest in local solar and in fact, saving money off their regular electric bill. NHSolarGarden customers keep their same electric bill and enter into long-term plans with fixed-rate programs and never have to worry about rate changes.
By joining NHSolarGarden, group members support the development of clean, local power while bringing economic benefits to local farmers and landowners who lease their land for solar installations. NHSolarGarden will even build separate solar systems for greenhouses so farmers can grow crops year round while generating solar energy on their land. NHSolarGarden also installs arrays on structures including landfills, malls, self-storage facilities, mill buildings and warehouse rooftops and require as little as 7,000 sq. feet for a potential solar lease space. The company handles all development and equipment costs and any utility logistics. NHSolarGarden offers a novel avenue towards energy independence by allowing individuals to invest in locally generated solar power and reduce their electricity costs while doing so.
For the third year running, Zev Yoga Studios keeps the crown of Best Yoga Studio in the New Hampshire Business Review's 2014 Best of the Best Awards. The mission of the BOB Awards is to find the Granite States's most stand-out businesses; businesses that offer the best customer service, pay attention to details, and are willing to go above and beyond to ensure an exceptional customer experience. BOB voters are other businesspeople and the public in each community. This year, Zev Yoga took the title of Best Yoga Studio in not one, but all three locations - Exeter/Stratham, Portsmouth, and Tri-City (Dover).
It’s no surprise that with this winter delivering its spate of major snowstorms, homeowners are facing the problem of dealing with ice dams and leakage into their houses. Ice dams form when the roof temperature is above freezing, typically a result of poor insulation, and when the temperature of the overhang and gutters is below freezing. The water from melted snow turns into ice at the soffit area and runs down the cold part of the roof causing ice dams and outsized icicles.
Prevention of ice dams first comes with proper roof insulation. Green Cocoon offers “green” spray foam made from polyurethane plastic and cellulose insulation made from recycled paper that provides long-lasting insulation to lower heating and cooling energy costs by half, compared to traditional insulation products. Yankee Thermal Imaging can also save homeowners the trouble of roof damage by identifying where homes are losing heat and helping make energy efficient upgrades through energy audits.
Another problem plaguing homeowners during winter storm season is fallen trees onto homes. In addition to their focus of pruning and removal of trees with the least invasive approach, Cornerstone Treecare is clearing snow off roofs and removing ice dams using a climbing method of belaying off trees without damaging their very sensitive bark.
For quick fixes, the most common solution to melting damaging ice is rock salt due to its effectiveness and affordability. However, rock salt has detrimental environmental effects that will harm surrounding vegetation, wash into water ways, increase salinity, and can potentially contaminate drinking water. It’s also corrosive to metals and concrete and harmful to pet’s paws. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to rock salt that are kid, pet, and environmentally friendly.
Join as a Sustaining Member or Upgrade to the Level and Enjoy Two Free Tickets to the Showing of Dogs and Lesser Mortals
Join the GA as a Sustaining Member or upgrade from the basic one year membership, and get two FREE opening weekend tickets to Kent Stephens’ Stage Force show Dogs and Lesser Mortals at the Star Theatre in Kittery! Those who become new sustaining members with the Green Alliance will receive two tickets to the show for the night of their choice ($60 value) on opening weekend from Friday, March 13 - Sunday, March 15.
Kent Stephens’ Stage Force was founded in 2006 with the goal of bringing live theater performances to southern Maine and coastal New Hampshire. The Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, and Star Theatre in Kittery serve as the popular venues for the Stage Force productions and the Star Theater is pleased to present Dogs and Lesser Mortals for six performances only during March. This theatrical production uses music, poetry, and stories, to give us humans an inside look at what it might be like to live the life of a canine. From chasing squirrels to waiting for dinner time, the Stage Force presents a humorous tale of the everyday life of being a dog. The Green Alliance is proud to help sponsor the showing of Dogs and Lesser Mortals at the Star Theater, along with fellow Business Partners Mary’s Dogs and the Natural Dog.
Become a Sustaining Member now, and get two free tickets to the Dogs and Lesser Mortals showing of your choice ($60 value). That's almost half your lifetime membership dues right there!
How many plastic bags do you use each day? Not a lot, maybe just one or two, but how many plastic bags do you use in a week, a month, a year? Now think about how many are used worldwide. Each month, 42 billion plastic bags are used around the world, with the vast majority traveling to landfills, incinerators, or to someone’s community as garbage. Cities and towns across the U.S are stepping up to encourage their councilmen to ban single-use plastic bags or to charge a fee to direct customers away from them.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) York is a town wide initiative to reduce single-use plastic bags and promote reusable bags by charging a small fee for each disposable bag used by a customer. The group hopes the ordinance will be passed by the York Board of Selectmen to help reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills, in our waterways, and in the ocean. BYOB York as teamed up with the Blue Ocean Society to present the film Bag It, a documentary on the detrimental effects of plastic bags on the environment and our health. The Blue Ocean Society, a Business Partner with the Green Alliance, works to protect marine mammals in the Gulf of Maine through research, conservation, and education of the public.