Blog : March 2011
Hey greenies, what’s your favorite holiday? Here at the Green Alliance, our favorite holiday is Earth Day – no surprises there! This is our time to celebrate the Earth while promoting sustainability in our communities. We are especially excited about Earth Day this year, as there are countless events that we will promote throughout the Seacoast! A few include the Earth Day at Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Earth Day Wildcard Movie, and A Whale of a 5K Trail Race. Be sure to get out there and pay tribute to our glowing, fascinating, divine mother Earth. You can see all of these on the Green Alliance Events page!
Commence your celebrations a week early this year! On Saturday, April 16th, head over to the Wells Reserve at Laudholm for their EcoDay! This promises to be a very fun and very free event, with activities including a Green Fair, with environmental organizations and green-minded businesses, and a variety of speakers like UNH professor, John Carroll. For the younger sprouts, there will be face painting and crafts, and food and drink for all. For more information, click here!
Also on the 16th, stop by the Lee Energy Fair and get ready for next winter. Learn how some new techniques that will save you some dough - you could even win a free energy audit and and other prizes at the door! The fair will promote local vendors, and will include local presenters and local examples of energy savings. For more information, click here.
You could also check out the Go Green Fair at Windham High School. Join these progressive youths in promoting a greener world by encouraging environmental awareness and sustainability in and around their community. Embrace their belief that we can make a difference one community at a time. What an inspiring event – the younger generation stepping up to sustainability! The event will feature raffles, games, speakers, debates and of course, a lot to learn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
No need to wait a whole week for another green event, the Green Alliance Business Partner Meeting and Perfect Move’s Chairs for Charity Event is Thursday, April 21st. Chairs for Charity is a live auction event showcasing an abundance of incomparable chairs designed by prominent, local artists. Pop in and have an opportunity to meet the artists, Green Alliance business partners, and other members, all while enjoying light refreshments. The proceeds from the auctions will support children’s literacy projects on the seacoast area. To add to the vivacity, Green Card holders will receive a 10% discount on their winning bid, and Green Cards will be available for purchase at the door!
Earth Day itself brings a nice medley of activities for the whole family along the Seacoast. For instance, you may want to check out Earth Day at Frisbie Memorial Hospital, where you can gather information about green products and services. Visitors will also enjoy free trade seedlings and raffles. For more information you can email M.Landry@FMHospital.com.
If you are feeling groovy, and want to celebrate Earth Day with some live music, you can head down to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston for the River 92.5’s Second Annual Earth Day Concert. Enjoy a concert starring BoDeans, Entrail, and a secret, unannounced, special guest! The day includes Earth Day activities for the whole family, and a kid’s zone for the younger crowd. For more information and to learn about last year’s event, click here.
Earth Day evening, the Portsmouth Music Hall will keep the entertainment lively with an Earth Day Film Festival – the Wild and Scenic Film Festival. It features a collection of short environmental and adventure films that highlight the splendor of our planet, and the challenges that it faces. Additionally, it will feature the work that some communities are doing to support our environment. For more information, you can email Chris at email@example.com.
Cure your Earth Day hangover with a 5K race at Odiorne State Park. The Whale of a 5K Trail Race will benefit environmental education. The racecourse alone will be enough to fortify your appreciation for Earth, as it brings the runner through forest, rocky shore and sandy beaches, and alongside historic military fortifications. Children will have so many fun activities to participate in, like a kid’s fun run, and other family activities. Could it get any better? There will also be live music in the morning before the race and other Earth Day celebrations! For more information, click here.
It would be impossible not to have an exciting Earth Day with all of these options. Be sure to go to the Green Alliance Events page to check out all of these events and more exciting opportunities to get out and spread your greenness!
It’s only 3 years old, but it has quietly become one of the Seacoast’s most anticipated April events. If you’ve ever noticed hundreds of people lined up in business parking lots at the corner of Islington Street and Elm Court on a Sunday morning in mid-April, there’s a good reason.
It’s the Seacoast Bike Swap, hosted by Papa Wheelies on Islington Street in Portsmouth. Held rain or shine, this five-hour event allows Seacoast residents to sell their old bikes, receive a store credit towards store merchandise or service, and contribute to charitable causes. This year’s Swap will take place on Sunday, April 17, 11 AM – 4 PM, rain or shine.
The Swap is the brainchild of Papa Wheelies co-owner Nat McAllister. “Three years ago, with the recession really hitting home, we wanted to help folks unload their pre-owned bikes,” explained McAllister. “We never thought it would grow this quickly!”
“If you have an older bike, just bring it to us before this year’s Swap on April 17. We’ll check it out and make sure it’s safe to ride, and if it is, we help you put a price tag on it, and make it available during the Swap,” said McAllister. “If the bike sells, that’s great; if not, you can take it home, or we can donate the bike to the St. Charles Children's Home (an orphanage in Rochester which supports children age 3 - 12), or to Bikes Not Bombs (a non-profit which donates bikes to economic development projects in developing nations).”
If the bike sells, the donator receives either $80 in cash, or 100% in store credit towards the purchase of anything in the store – including new bikes, clothing, or gear – or towards bike service and repair. Leading up to the Bike Swap, Papa Wheelies receives hundreds of pre-owned bikes, making the event a tremendous opportunity for bicyclists of all ages. “We get everything from kids’ bikes to performance bikes, and our staff helps match folks to appropriate bikes,” McAllister proclaimed. “It’s a win-win for everybody. If your kids have outgrown their bikes, or if you’re looking to upgrade from an older bike to something newer at a terrific price, this is your chance.”
March 25th, 2011 (Boston, MA) – On April 22nd, 92.5 The River, Boston’s independent and solar-powered radio station is gearing up for a free lunchtime concert in honor of Earth Day. The concert begins at 12 noon and concludes at 3pm. It will take place on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a dynamic outdoor space that brings Bostonians together to enjoy everything that’s great about the city. The Rose Kennedy Greenway will once again be transformed into a fun outdoor atmosphere that includes free music, a kids’ zone and other fun activities on Earth Day.
This celebration of Earth Day will feature live performances from BoDeans, Entrain and a special guest to be named later. “We’re delighted to welcome BoDeans and Entrain for another great free show. They have been River favorites since we first hit the airwaves in 1995...The Earth Day concert is an especially fun party to throw as it falls on school vacation week, and allows listeners to pack up and jump on the train for a free and family- friendly Friday afternoon in downtown Boston!” said Catie Wilber, 92.5 The River’s Program Director. “It’s the perfect way to celebrate spring while reminding ourselves of the ways we can continue to practice and promote sustainability.”
The concert will take place in the Greenway’s conveniently located Wharf District Parks near the New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, and the Financial District. The park is easily accessible by the MBTA Blue Line, commuter boats at Rowes Wharf or by train at South Station.
“Last year’s Earth Day concert on the Greenway was a huge hit, and we’re excited to do it again!” says Nancy Brennan, Executive Director, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. “Mark your calendars now for Friday, April 22nd, and be ready to hear great music, make some new friends, and bask in the sunshine – what could be better? Thanks to The River/92.5 for organizing what’s become a ‘not-to-be-missed’ Greenway event”.
Sure, there's going to be a coastal storm later this week. But the calendar says it's almost April, and that means we're coming up fast on grilling season.
And wouldn't it be nice to have a great grill that doesn't rely on charcoal or propane, and is safer? A grill that's powered by a renewable resource?
Boy, have we got a grill for you - the WoodMaster Pellet Grill, now availabe to Seacoast Energy Alternative Solar Store in Dover! These grills (made in the good ole U.S.A) are powdered by wood pellets, and you don't have to worry about the gas leaks, flare-ups, and smoldering coals that plague other grills.
Each WoodMaster Pellet Grill comes standard with a Smoke Mode that delivers smoke evenly without having to tend the fire. And because it cooks indirectly, the grill minimizes benzopyrene production, which has been linked to which has been linked to lung cancer.
The pellets are available in a number of flavors, including apple, cherry, hickory, and mesquite (let's see a propane grill do that!), which contain moisture and creater juicier, tastier results. Your guests will notice the difference as you grill, barbeque, bake, and smoke your meats and veggies with these hardwood pellets!
SEA Solar Store owner Jack Bingham is a believer, and an owner of one himself. "These WoodMaster Pellet Grills are the easiest, safest, most versatile and most efficient ways to cook outdoors. Plus, cooking with these grills is healthier than some of the alternatives, and it's more cost efficient."
James Petersen of Petersen Engineering Inc./Building Mechancial Systems Consultants will deleiver a presentation on his firm's ground-up restoration at 335 Maplewood Ave - better known as the Inn at Christian Shores.
The presentation "Historic and Sustainable? Can it be done?" will take place Monday, April 4 from 7 - 8:30 PM in the Levenson Room of the Portsmouth Public Library, located at 175 Parrott Avenue (next to the Portsmouth Middle School). Petersen will explain the process undertaken to repair and restore this 1815 Federal-style building while incorporating a deep energy refit into the plan, resulting in a project that meets preservation and sustainability goals.
The presentation will feature a short video, photos, a discussion of the project's melding of historic preservation values with energy efficiency and sustainability efforts, as well as some thoughts on navigating the Historical District Committee process and codes. The presentation discussion, and subsequent Q&A session promise to be very timely for owners of historic Portsmouth properties who may be considering maintenance and restoration efforts, as well as those interested in historic preservation, sustainability, and green topics.
For more information on this free public event, contact the library at 603-427-1540, or at www.cityofportsmouth.com/library.
When hybrid cars first broke onto the scene in the early 2000s, green-minded consumers and environmentalists lauded the impressive step forward for the auto industry.
Now, nearly a decade later, it seems like every manufacturer has hopped aboard the hybrid train. That includes Volkswagen, which offers a growing variety of super-efficient hybrids and diesels.
But if you ask Doug Miles, General Manager at Seacoast Volkswagen in Greenland, his dealership’s green footprint doesn’t end with the cars driven off the lot.
“We’re really lucky to be in a position where we can be an early adopter of new, green technologies, both with our cars and with our energy use,” explains Miles. “Most car dealerships in this economy have had a tough go of it, but we’re fortunate enough to have been in the market of fuel efficient vehicles for a long time.”
For starters, anyone driving by the Route 33 dealership would be hard pressed to miss the giant, 35-foot wind turbine located in front of the showroom parking lot. Installed by Seabrook-based Waterline Alternative Energies, the turbine is the first of its kind to be installed at a car dealership in New Hampshire.
Then there’s the forthcoming 80-panel, 19.2 kilowatt solar PV system – also purchased from Waterline – to be placed on the showroom’s expansive roof. The new array is expected to generate 30 percent of the dealership’s electricity needs on sunny days.
This past Sunday, theGreenScreen had its second episode air on My TV New England. This week's episode features the GA's own Ridgeview Construction and their committment to sustainable building.
TheGreenScreen airs every Sunday 11:30am on My TV New England. For more info, go to www.thegreenscreen.tv.
By: Josefine Nowitz
Is 50 miles local? Is 500 miles local? How about 15 feet? For all the debate about what is local, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is redefining the term with the implementation of a student-led sustainable permaculture garden. It is the first of its kind on a public university campus that will provide food directly to the campus dining services.
Located on a ¼ acre adjacent to Franklin Dining Hall, the garden is expected to produce 1,000 pounds of vegetables annually. The university has already taken bold steps to increase its procurement of local foods and vegetables and the garden will be an excellent complement to the school’s policy of using local produce, currently 25 percent of all food, for meals served in campus dining halls.
Permaculture is a merger of the words permanent and agriculture and was created to help solve the environmental issues associated with modern agriculture. Its approach is simple: to restore ecosystem health by mimicking natural processes. Permaculture gardens are ecologically designed, require minimal maintenance and provide an abundance of food and resources.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst, in its commitment to sustainability, adopted these permaculture strategies to provide food and education for the campus community. The initial idea for the permaculture garden started as a student-led idea in a Sustainable Agriculture class, led by professor John Gerber in the spring of 2009. The group of students approached Ken Toong, the Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMASS, who believed it would be a beneficial addition to the already existing sustainable efforts on campus.
Nowadays, we take such things as municipal sewer and septic systems for granted when it comes to human waste disposal. But for thousands of years, many civilizations have made prodigious use of human waste as fertilizer for croplands. In fact, during medieval times, excrement was collected from members of the ruling class, because it was believed their larger intake of food would produce more effective fertilizer!
But the advent of modern toilets and advanced sewer systems, along with the knowledge that untreated human waste may contain harmful pathogens, have largely relegated the use of human waste as fertilizer to developing nations.
However, modern composting toilets, including those manufactured by Sun-Mar, have now broken into the mainstream. These new models provide consumers with a waterless, clean, safe, and environmentally-friendly way of handling human waste without needing a septic system, a sewer connection, or a complex waste-processing unit.
“Composting toilets have come a long way,” said Jim Bruneau, general manager of Dover-based Middleton Building Supply, who stocks several models of composting toilets. “These things are perfect for boats, campgrounds, cottages, and even homes or basement offices where it’s either not possible, or cost-prohibitive to add plumbing.”
Bruneau often finds himself reassuring customers that the latest models of composting toilets are far superior to their notions of glorified outhouses. “These composting toilets have no smell, and use no chemicals. As long as you have an electricity source, these toilets evaporate the water content of human waste and capture any odors,“ he exclaimed. “Plus, because they’re waterless, you’ll definitely avoid a big water bill.”
Historically, the Seacoast area has always been regarded as a prosperous agricultural area with fertile soil and vibrant agricultural communities. So Durham entrepreneur and founder of the Idea Greenhouse, a small business incubator wonders what happened to that vibrancy and how can we return to it? To that end local business owners and farmers joined last February for “Farmerpreneurs” a panel and discussion about local agriculture and how to bring it back to its rightful place of prominence in the community and economy.
Farmers in attendance included Joseph Marquette of Yellow House Farm, Charlie Reed of Stone Wall Farm and local food innovators included Sara Zoe Patterson from Seacoast Eat Local, Kenny Young from Young’s Restaurant, and Chuck Cressy of the Durham Market Place. As the panelists shared a plethora of innovative ideas and creative approaches the mood was definitely one of optimism.
Joseph Marquette of Yellow House Farm grew up with the cannon that “the land in front of us is where our food comes from,” and stressing his belief in reviving that view suggested it starts with a re-education of sorts. “Education is the key; those of us who know how to work the land and produce results, need to be sharing that with the community and passing that knowledge and tradition on to the next generation. If you know how to farm, you should be teaching others!”
Fellow “farmerpreneur” Charlie Reed started the University of New Hampshire’s Organic Garden Club. He emphasized the significance of the younger generation, and the need to get away from processed foods, so that there begins to be an expectation that the food we put into our bodies is connected to the community in which we live and work.
Among the panelists was local Durham business owner, Ken Young, of Young’s Restaurant. Young has long been an advocate of local and organic food for his customers and has increasingly served that up to the hungry masses at his old fashioned eatery. “I think we are seeing a revolution in the restaurant industry and it seems that it is becoming increasingly popular for restaurants to serve organic and/or local food. We know that our customers want this; the question then comes how can we connect those local producers with the restaurants and make it cost effective for the restaurant owners to offer these foods without making menu’s cost-prohibitive.” Young says his employees and customers inspire him every day to do more on this front and he is responding.
The No Impact Experiment is a one-week carbon cleanse, which was inspired by the book and film and person, No Impact Man, Colin Beavan and his No Impact Project. Test whether the modern conveniences that we take for granted are actually making you happier, or just eating away at your time and money! You can register to rise to the challenge by clicking here. Aislinn Johnson of Global Awareness Local Action has initiated a statewide challenge. From May 1st to May 8th, you are challenged to lower your impact in a different way (Monday is trash, Tuesday is transportation, etc.) When you register, you will receive an info guide for with tips and goals for your challenge!
Global Awareness Local Action or G.A.L.A., is a grassroots organization that began like many others: a group of people gathering around food and drink and among friends to discuss how they'd like to make their community and world a better place. Each person involved seeks to live by Ghandi's famous words: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Volunteers from all walks of life participate in these "think global, act local" initiatives. These initiatives range from environmental sustainability to promoting peaceful practices and holistic living throughout the community, hoping to spread these values.
The town of Kittery and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension are hosting a two day workshop on landscaping on March 30th and 31st. The event will be held at the Kittery Trading Post, and promises to be a wonderful learning experience for those who want to minimize their impacts right from their backyard. Topics will include Water Movement and Drainage, Sustainable Planting and Maintenance Practices, and Shoreline Protection Rules. Walking tours and field visits will also be available. Not only will visitors receive the knowledge and additional resource materials for sustainable landscaping, they will also have the occasion to enjoy delectable lunches from Robert's Maine Grill and Beach Pea Bakery, both Green Alliance business partners!
The course fee for the full 2-day program of $99 per person paid on or before March 23, or $119 per person after March 23. Attendance for Day One is $79 before March 23, and $99 afterward. Register online at http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/Agric.htm The registration fee includes the two-day program, a book, additional resource materials, lunches and coffee breaks, a certificate of completion, and a window decal for your vehicle or office. For professionals, 4 pesticide credits have been approved for the two-day program. As a special discount, residents of Kittery/Eliot or businesses who provide services in Kittery pay only $50 for the two days of incredible instruction and hands-on learning!
Jack Bingham, owner of Seacoast Energy Alternatives (SEA) Solar Store, is already an authorized WoodMaster dealer. Now he's upped the ante: his store has added WoodMaster Flex Fuel indoor and out door furnaces to its product offerings!
The WoodMaster Flex Fuel furnaces are excellent alternatives for heating homes. For example, homeowners can heat their entire homes using these products, and do so at a lower price than heating with fuel oil, propane, natural gas and even off-peak electric rates. These furnaces are versatile in the sense they can burn cord wood, wood pellets, or wood chips, and are also solar-power capable. All this while meeting or exceeding EPA emissions standards. How's that for going green while saving green?
Plus, the WoodMaster Flex Fuel indoor and outdoor furnaces are the 1st bioenergy Flex Fuel furnaces to be manufactured in the U.S. But they've imported some of Europe's best technology, as the company partnered with SOLARFOCUS - an Austrian firm with a tremendous reputation - to integrate top-notch European technology into their models, and bring the furnaces stateside.
And SEA Solar Store owner couldn't be happier. "With rising oil prices and challenging economic times, it's more important than ever that consumers have affordable options for heating their homes." So drop by Bingham's store in Dover and get a gander at these beauties!
GUEST BLOG: Business Grants Available for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Systems from USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
By David H. Robinson
Business Programs Director
USDA Rural Development is currently accepting grant and loan guarantee applications for the Rural Energy for America Program.
Renewable energy production and energy conservation are increasing the bottom line for small businesses and farms in New Hampshire. Over the past 5 years, USDA Rural Development has helped fund 27 New Hampshire projects, pumping over $4.2 million into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the state.
The Rural Energy for America Program can pay for up to 25% of eligible renewable or efficiency energy system costs with grant funds and help applicants secure financing through a loan guarantee for an additional 50% of the project costs. The maximum grants are $500,000 for renewable systems and $250,000 for efficiency projects.
In many cases, USDA RD can help a business structure a deal that requires minimal “out-of-pocket” cash. Funding from the NH Enterprise Energy Fund, Electric Utility rebates, NH Public Utility Commission and others can reduce business cash contributions or the amount borrowed. Each project structure is unique and USDA RD can assist with recommendations.
Examples of eligible renewable energy projects include: wind turbines; biomass boiler systems; geothermal heating systems; hydro power; solar hot water and solar electric systems. Efficiency projects include: installation of energy efficient heating systems; lighting and windows; also upgrading HVAC; and refrigeration systems.
Businesses interested in learning more about the program should contact USDA Rural Development in Concord, New Hampshire at 602-223-6038.
By Leanne Stella (Director of Arts in Reach)
Teens from Portsmouth and surrounding towns who are enrolled in an afterschool program with Arts In Reach (AIR) called The Phenomenal Women Project will have their artwork on display at the Portsmouth Museum of Art during the weekend of March 25 through March 27. The teens have been working with recycled cardboard, found objects, and fragments of material to create unique self-portraits based on inspiration from iImage: The Uncommon Portrait exhibit at the Portsmouth Museum of Art. Friends can join AIR on Friday evening, March 25th, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a celebratory reception at the museum or visit the museum on Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Arts In Reach is a Portsmouth based nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and arts programs for teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 18 throughout Rockingham and Strafford County. “Our goal is to build confidence in teenage girls and empower them to speak their voice,” comments Board member Elise Weeks. “I’m so proud to be serving on a Board that helps to build confidence in young women so that they can be successful and use their creativity in positive, healthy ways.” Elise Weeks and her partner, Megan Keogh, owners of Pixels & Pulp, attended the AIR program on a recent afternoon to talk to the girls about their professional careers. Pixels & Pulp is a Green Alliance Partnering Business and the web design firm designed the Green Alliance website – a testament to their professionalism, creativity and community commitment. Their visit was part of a series of career focused chats incorporated into the AIR afterschool program called The Phenomenal Women Project. Each of the speakers passed on a word to the teens. Elise and Megan gave the girls the word - Individuality. They said that being true to their individuality has helped them to be successful in the development of their graphic and web design firm.