Blog : Activism on the Seacoast
Geothermal HVAC energy systems are increasingly breaking into the home construction mainstream. According to a Wall Street Journal article published in 2013, net-zero homes are on the rise, and some building companies are even making geothermal systems a staple of their building practices. Two New England businesses, Ultra Geothermal and ReVision Energy, are already successfully bringing that dream to the East Coast.
If you're an eco-conscious consumer or homeowner, a low- or no-carbon footprint home may be seen as a luxury investment, reserved for the wealthy. While it's true that a geothermal HVAC system is an investment up front, the eventual savings more than make up for it, while also increasing the value of your home. One thing that isn't widely known is that homeowners also don't have to completely replace their current HVAC system; Barrington N.H.'s Ultra Geothermal can meet you in the middle.
Think of it like a hybrid car. A hybrid will run on electricity or biofuel until the power needed to run the engine exceeds what the electric motor can handle. Ultra Geothermal can install a partial geothermal system alongside your Energy Star or other compatible furnace that functions the same way. If you don’t have a newer furnace, such as a forced hot water baseboard furnace, Ultra Geothermal can come up with a plan to integrate ducting into the home. And when it’s finished, you also end up with central A/C.
This past Sunday, GA business partner Get it Going participated in the 15th Annual Penguin Plunge at Hampton Beach. In case you’re not familiar with this event, it is a fundraiser for the Special Olympics New Hampshire. Participants who raise $350 or more before the event earn the privilege of taking “The Plunge.” The act of "The Plunge” involves running into the Atlantic Ocean during the heart of winter.
This prospect attracts many volunteers to raise money for the Special Olympics NH. On the day of the event, hundreds of people attended to participate in a parade, costume contest, and of course, The Plunge. Teams warmed up in heated tents on the beach as they awaited their turns to plunge into the ocean with their respective "wave." There were three waves of teams who plunged into the water together, each group seven minutes apart. Volunteers waited on the shore to provide them with towels when they got out of the water. Jill Spring, co-owner of GiG, described the experience as a fun and exciting adrenaline rush.
The anticipation of plunging into the freezing water was a big factor in the overall experience. GiG’s team had been signed up to take part in the Plunge since before Christmas, and the thought of plunging into the ocean on some of our colder winter days had them feeling anxious. Luckily, the weather was not too frigid on Sunday, and the GiG team was happy to have this experience and celebrate the funds raised for a great cause.
This year the Environmental Protection Agency recognized TVC, a local control and information systems integration company, for their efforts to cut down on carbon emissions through the study, design, installation, and maintenance of co-generation and tri-generation, or CHP systems. The systems include steam boilers, turbines, combustion turbines, and reciprocating engines in combination that produce both heat and electricity. CHP systems reduce air pollution and greenhouse gasses because they require less fuel and provide high quality electricity and thermal energy on site which eliminate the need for transmission lines that reduce efficiency.
The EPA award is part of the Combined Heat and Power Partnership which recognizes CHP companies for their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. TVC has completed 22 CHP projects in total and last year’s projects alone helped to avoid 1,230,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent amount of carbon that 168,639 homes use annually for electricity!
TVC also specializes in Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems which allows for easy monitoring of all their combined electricity and heating systems. The SCADA systems which TVC designs allows the user to monitor and adjust energy usage in real time.
PORTSMOUTH — Jim Cavan, wordsmith extraordinaire, the Green Alliance’s outgoing director of communications, started a story titled “Pest Control, Naturally” this way:
“Chances are we’ve all had the experience: It’s the first truly warm day of the year — early April, let’s say — and you’ve just gotten back from an unseasonably balmy walk in the woods. You come through the front door, take off your shoes, head to the kitchen to start preparing the night’s dinner, and happen from the corner of your eye upon a trail of slowly moving black specks on the counter.
“Carpenter ants. Dozens of them — and that’s just in plain view. Here in New England, ant infestation constitutes one of the most common pest problems, affecting some tens of thousands of households in New Hampshire alone and causing millions of dollars of damage nationwide.
“Enter Tom Pray, founder of the Eliot-based Ecotech Pest Control and a degreed entomologist with over 25 years of experience in the field. Settling on the trade as much for the science as sheer insect fascination, Pray launched Ecotech in 2000 with the aim of helping homeowner’s beat back pest problems not through hard-hitting chemicals, but rather by managing the environment responsible for fostering that very infestation.”
The story, written to promote Green Alliance Business Partner Ecotech Pest Control, appeared during spring and early summer 2013 in several media outlets, including the Exeter and Portsmouth Patch local-news Web sites; The Green Energy Times; Foster’s Daily Democrat; and Coastal Home Magazine.
Pray was pleased, to say the least, not only because Cavan wrote a story good enough to be published in several media outlets, but also because of the time of year when Cavan reached out to him, representing a conspicuously diligent, professional, and nuanced manner by which to serve a Business Partner.
The UNH Student Environmental Action Coalition will be speaking about the current, highly controversial, tar sands issue that is affecting us locally and people internationally. In New England, the issue of tar sands is on the rise because of the looming possibility of the reversal of the Portland-Montreal pipeline with intentions to pump tar sands from Canada to Maine.
Canadian tar sands are currently the biggest tar sand threat to our environment. Tar sands are made up of heavy crude oil mixed with sand, bitumen, and clay. In order to extract the oil, enough natural gas must generate heat and steam to melt the oil out of the sand. Up to five barrels of water are required to obtain one barrel of oil. Tar sands oil produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally produced oil.
This presentation will go more in depth about the nature of tar sands. Coalition members will speak about their personal experiences from travelling along the Portland-Montreal pipeline. They will expose the audience to the truth about how tar sands are threatening our ecosystems, cultural heritage, and health.
Award-winning photographer Garth Lenz will be sharing photographs that he has captured during the past several years of the destruction this issue has caused.
This will be a great opportunity to become aware of the current threats to our environment, and learn what you can do to help stop them. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, in the MUB theatre at University of New Hampshire.
To learn more about this event, click here.
Zev Yoga not only supports sustainable choices for the environment, but also for the individual and community. Zev Yoga’s practices are designed to produce internal heat in the body to purify sweat and detoxify muscles and organs, thus sustaining the body. Owner Jonas Amberger also offers his studio space to the community. It is frequently used for gatherings, educational events, and workshops.
Zev Yoga will have a team participating in this year’s 6th annual Yoga Mala Fundraiser. Expected to attend will be approximately 200 yogis from more than 20 studios. The Yoga Mala is a three-hour class of 108 sun salutes. Sun salutes are a series of yoga moves often performed in the morning as a way to start the day off. Synchronization is a very important aspect of sun salutes. The more your breath and motions are in sequence, the more benefits you can reap from the practice.
Tomorrow the New Hampshire House of Reps is likely to vote on HB 580, a bill which would halt all wind energy development in NH. The Former NH Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald stated:
"Policy decisions like a moratorium can have consequences to the state’s reputation as a business-friendly place and can directly affect projects that have a major economic benefit for the state...A recent study by economist Ross Gittell (now chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire) and Matthew Magnusson shows that just one 30-megawatt wind project would bring nearly $56 million in economic development to surrounding cities and towns, and create nearly 100 construction jobs and more than a dozen post-construction jobs.”
You see the labels in the supermarkets: toxic, poisonous, hazardous. All things that end up on countertops or poured down the drain, and these chemicals can put the health of you, your family, and your local ecosystem in danger. But is it possible to clean your house effectively without these hazardous chemicals? Green Maids is a cleaning service based in York Harbor, ME, that is making strides towards greener cleaning practices on a daily basis.
Large name-brand cleaning products can be corrosive and damaging to humans and animals. Organicconsumers.org reports that these chemicals can cause both acute and chronic symptoms, ranging from respiratory irritation, headaches, and allergies to even contributing to the development of cancer. In addition, chemical cleaners that are washed down the drain often do not break down organically and end up in our water supply, affecting our drinking water and aquatic wildlife.
Owner John O'Brien is committed to providing a kid, pet, and earth-friendly cleaning service with Green Maids.
“Dust, pet dander and things like that can aggravate allergies; I cannot stress enough the importance of a clean home when it comes to good health,” said O'Brien. “Keeping up with your home or cleaning it in a professional manner will really help to keep it maintained to improve the overall health of your family.”
O'Brien says that chemicals like 2-butoxyethanol, phosphate and ammonia, chemicals commonly found in traditional cleaning products, are linked to conditions like allergies, asthma, liver and kidney damage, blood disorders, and more. Green Maids uses products that employ the natural cleaning properties of fruits and vegetables. If the maids leave your home smelling like lemon or orange, you'll know it's not a chemically synthesized scent – the actual oils and peels of these fruits are in their cleaning supplies.
Two local companies that are dedicated to bettering dogs’ lives are collaborating in ways that benefit each firm, and by doing so, they are furthering the causes to which they strive to assist.
The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat in Portsmouth has created a synergistic alliance with Deerfield-based Mary’s Dogs Rescue & Adoption, improving the health, well-being, safety, and happiness of rescued dogs and generating good will and business for a leading-edge pet supply store.
Dawn Price, a registered dietician and pet food industry expert, with her husband, Jeff, opened The Natural Dog, Inc. in Newburyport in 2005 and The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat in 2013, which is also helping Mary’s Dogs. Both stores are committed to providing the most healthy, all-natural, organic, green and responsibly manufactured pet foods and supplies out there. The Natural Dog stands as a beacon of what’s possible when nutrition, sustainability, and good old-fashioned localism stand at the fore of a business’s ethics.
Both Dawn and Jeff Price pride themselves on meticulously researching the best products for their customers’ pets. For them, quality trumps popularity, every time, which is why they work with companies that are either local, family-owned, or do a handful of things well.
Today, both locations boast a bevy of green, all-natural products, including bamboo and hemp collars, lead-free bowls, beds and toys made from recycled materials, premium cat and dog foods (including the Seacoast’s largest selection of raw foods), natural shampoos, biodegradable waste bags, beds, snacks, biscuits, herbal and whole food supplements, flower essences and more.
Mary’s Dogs Rescue & Adoption has a strong reputation for saving dogs stranded in shelters, looking for the right match between dog and owner, and following up the placement with expert advice to new owners to ensure the match is a lasting one. But if a match is not a good one — and sometimes they’re not, said Mary Doane, owner of Mary’s Dogs — the search will start anew for the right match. As it turns out, almost 100 percent of the dogs Mary’s Dogs rescue eventually end up in the right house.
Redhook Brewery is back for another year with the Green Alliance!
Redhook continues to wow us with its “recycling trifecta,” reusing its leftover plastics in conjunction with Poly Recovery and Foss Manufacturing, which you can read about here. Additionally, it composts its leftover food with Mr. Fox, and has superior employee health and wellness benefits.
Oh, and the beer is incredible too.
If you're familiar with such Redhook classics as the Longhammer IPA, Redhook ESB, and Winterhook, you should get familiar with Redhook's green initatives and how they're moving towards a sustainable future, one beer at a time.
Please join us in giving a warm welcome to our newest business partner! Lifestyle and apparel company Get it Going, based in North Hampton, N.H., has set out to encourage and support the thought-to-action moments in life, encouraging people to simply start doing things that make the world a better place. Sisters Jill Spring and Natasha Goyette co-own the company and have been spreading the name and the mantra since 2009.
Get it Going's mission is simple: to foster a business as committed to the community as the commodity. The people there hope to encourage others to take action on their ideas, using their responsibly sourced, eco-friendly apparel as a daily reminder.
GiG has a growing selection of T-shirts, hoodies, and stickers to choose from on its Web site, as well as a page suggesting different challenges for individuals or groups to complete in their commitment to making themselves and the world a more positive and productive environment.
The Green Alliance is a community of like-minded people who believe in being gentle on the planet and want these beliefs to be reflected in where they spend their money. For $35 a year, more than 3,000 GA consumer members use their Green Cards to access exclusive discounts to more than 100 local green businesses throughout the region, saving the consumers hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
And there is scarcely a sector or industry not represented by the Green Alliance. Business Partners include alternative energy purveyors, retailers, yoga studios, bakeries, restaurants, construction companies, web design firms, and virtually everything in between.
The relationship between GA consumer members and Business Partners is mutually reinforcing: The more green businesses that join, the more enticing the membership is for individual consumers, while more consumer members means a growing swell of potential businesses for prospective stores and firms.
“We like to call it ‘going green and saving green at the same time,’” says GA Director Sarah Brown. “For years the big knock on green products and services was that they’re too expensive. But knock 20, even 50 percent off — that changes the calculus entirely.”
The Conservation Law Foundation is a partner of The Green Alliance, which works to protect New England's Environment. It has been promoting healthy communities and a clean environment since 1966. The CLF is currently seeking volunteers to be "Clean Water Advocates" for the Great Bay. Volunteer activism is important to maintaining a clean and beautiful Great Bay. There are many opportunities for people in the Seacoast and Southern Maine area to get involved and provide a voice for our estuary. Making a difference for our environment can be as simple as:
- Participating in important local votes for clean water.
- Contacting your legislators as needed.
- Phoning friends.
- Attending periodic Clean Water Advocates meetings to learn more about the issues facing the Great Bay Estuary and to meet others who care about its future.
Join R.W. Tiap Academy on January 10th, 2014 for an inspirational movie about farming without the use of fossil fuels. The movie night will take place at the Kittery Community Center’s Star Theater located at 120 Rogers Road in Kittery from 7-9pm. The BBC Documentary “Farm for the Future” focuses on sustainable agriculture and food production. The movie is part of Tiap Academy’s Eco-literacy and sustainability education program in conjunction with Resilience Hub and Portland Permaculture Group.
Following the film there will be an opportunity to learn about how Tiap Academy is applying the ideas mentioned in the documentary and how they plan to integrate ecology and permaculture design within their classes and community programs. There will be time for questions and discussion following the film as well as opportunities for the general public to get involved.
Inspired by the challenges of connecting ocean science to public advocacy, Jen Kennedy and Dianne Schulte founded the Blue Ocean Society in 1996, incorporating the organization six years later. Thanks to a bevy of engaging and educational outreach programs, the organization has since become an indispensible resource for researchers, environmental advocates, and citizens of all ages.
The Blue Ocean Society focuses their advocacy and educational efforts primarily on the Gulf of Maine, and in particular Jeffreys Ledge, an area located about 20 miles off the New Hampshire coast that supports a wealth of marine life. By studying native whales and other species, the team helps the public better understand how increasing whale populations ultimately means a healthier ocean, and a better environment for everyone.
From a scenic shoreline vantage, it’s easy to see the ocean as a vast, deep, and invincible wonder – nothing that big could possibly be harmed by the hands of man alone. The folks at Blue Ocean Society take a different view: That things like trash, plastic, and “ghost fishing gear,” and other manmade refuse have a much bigger impact than we can possibly imagine. To that end, in 2001 the organization launched a program designed to engage community members in helping do their part to keep the region’s beaches clean. The results have been nothing short of spectacular: In 2012 alone, Blue Ocean Society headed 219 beach cleanups – all in an area extending from York, Maine to Salisbury, Massachusetts – in the process collecting 12,477 pounds of trash.
GUEST BLOG: Environmental Appeals Board Affirms Clean Water Act Permit For Newmarket Sewage Treatment Plant
This article comes from GA Partner, the Conservation Law Foundation. The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. Using the law, science and the market, CLF creates solutions that preserve natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy region-wide. CLF’s Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper program is devoted to restoring the health of New Hampshire’s and Maine’s Great Bay estuary.
CONCORD, NH December 5, 2013 – In a long-awaited decision, the Environmental Appeals Board has rejected an appeal of a Clean Water Act permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Town of Newmarket for its sewage treatment plant.
The appeal, brought in December 2012 by the so-called Municipal Coalition (consisting of Dover, Rochester and Portsmouth) on behalf of the Cities of Dover and Rochester, challenged the permit’s effluent limit for nitrogen, the pollutant of greatest concern to the health of the Lamprey River (into which the Newmarket sewage treatment plant discharges) and the Great Bay estuary. Of note, the Town of Newmarket did not appeal its permit and, instead, has been proceeding with actions to modernize its sewage treatment facility.
In its appeal, the Municipal Coalition charged that EPA lacked a sufficient scientific basis for the permit’s nitrogen limit, focusing in particular on a 2009 nitrogen analysis conducted by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), relied upon by EPA.
The Environmental Appeals Board judges soundly dismissed that charge, stating in their decision that, “The record provides substantial support for the scientific validity of the [NDES’] Great Bay Nutrient Report and the [EPA’s] consideration of that report” in setting a water quality target for the permit. The judges further noted: “While the record contains comments from the [Municipal] Coalition and its consultants that are critical of the State’s conclusions, the vast majority of the expert evaluations in the record are supportive of the State’s methodology or conclusions.”
“This is a critically important decision for cleaning up the Great Bay estuary,” said Tom Irwin, CLF New Hampshire director. “It’s a vindication of what scientists have been saying about Great Bay for years – that there’s too much nitrogen pollution – and of needed actions to reduce that pollution to protect our waters.”
This is a guest blog by Janet Groat of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Campaign
The reports keep coming in … Toxic chemicals in couches and nap mats … Cancer rising among children under 5… Dangerous phthalates in vinyl rain gear. .. What’s a mother to do?
The impact of toxic chemicals on our health, particularly our kids’ health, is too big to ignore. We can’t shop our way around it. We need common-sense policies from businesses and government to ensure product safety.
This is where you come in. Place two short phone calls on Dec. 9 and you will make a difference in what happens next. Monday, Dec. 9 is the National Call-In Day for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign. This broad-based coalition includes national environmental organizations, nurses, mothers, disabilities advocates and others. We know our chemical safety regulations are broken and we want Congress to enact meaningful reform. Congress is currently considering a change in the law and this is the time to make a difference.
You don’t have to tell a dog twice to act natural. Man’s best friend, by default, is as real of a friend as anyone could ask for. At the Green Alliance, being a dog lover is all but required so it couldn’t be more fitting to welcome The Natural Dog & Holistic Cat as the newest GA Business Partner!
When Registered Dietician and pet food industry expert Dawn Price first opened The Natural Dog, Inc. in Newburyport in 2005, she did so with a truly unique perspective – that of someone committed to providing quality, all natural, and green pet foods and supplies out there. Dawn applies her expertise in pet nutrition to educate customers on the food selection in the store in order to guide pet owners in keeping their four legged companions healthy and happy.
The Natural Dog & Holistic Cat, a family owned and operated business based in Portsmouth, NH and Newburyport, MA, has a mission to sell healthy and holistic pet supplies that are both practical and affordable. Breaking away from the standard pet food industry, The Natural Dog offers the largest selection of frozen raw diets, freeze dried meals, dehydrated meat diets, natural kibble and canned foods on the Seacoast. Dawn and husband, Jeff Price are adamant about working with companies that are either local, family-owned, or do a handful of things well. Dog foot companies owned by multinational mega corporations need not apply!