Blog : February 2012

Looking for a green job in Portsmouth, NH?

By sarah | Feb 29, 2012 | in

After just over three years in business, the Green Alliance has grown into a blossoming community of close to 100 local green businesses and thousands of eco-conscious consumers connecting to build a sustainable local economy. And we're just getting started!

Join the Green Alliance team and help us realize our vision for green growth. We're hiring an Office Manager who will play a major role in the future of our organization.

Click here to read the complete job listing and apply today!

After 25 years, Clay Hill Farm embraces old, new values alike

By Jim Cavan | Feb 28, 2012 | in

For most businesses, the opportunity to celebrate 25 years of open doors and happy customers is a testament to sticking to what you do best.

It's one Clay Hill Farm is proud to embrace. Their next opportunity to do that will be on April 22nd, when they host an Earth Day celebration complete with a locally-sourced dinner, scavanger hunt, local music, and much more.

But for Jennifer Lewis-McShera, co-owner of Clay Hill Farm, the York, Maine restaurant hitting its Silver Anniversary has just as much to do with the ways in which they’ve embraced change – particularly of the green variety.

“We’ve always been a family business, and in a lot of senses we’ve always done things the same way, and are proud of that,” says McShera, who’s managed the events in the 220-year-old farmhouse-turned restaurant and bird sanctuary since 1986. “It’s just that now a lot of those old fashioned values – taking care of the land, doing things locally – have much more of a modern flavor.”

Originally built in 1780 as a working farm, today Clay Hill stands as a 220-seat restaurant and special events venue nestled amidst acres of rolling lawns, protected coastal woodlands, and gorgeous gardens.

One of the first businesses in Southern Maine to be certified as an Environmental Leader by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Clay Hill is as dedicated to promoting and advancing environmental awareness and stewardship as they are to plating a perfectly rare rib eye.

In 1991, they became the first restaurant in the country to be certified as a wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary, making good on nearly two centuries of nurturing their stunning surroundings.

Their green commitments may have started off with a decidedly conservationist flavor, but the proceeding years have seen the picturesque Clay Hill adopting a broader green focus. From menus featuring local options to annual gatherings such as Clay Hill Earth Day and Fall Eco-Fest, Clay Hill has, under McShera, become something of a trendsetter for Seacoast restaurants looking to green both their operations and their outlook.

“One nice thing about going green, be it at home or in a business, is the acceptance that small steps that can have a big impact,” explains McShera. “Once you reach that critical mass, It becomes easier and easier to build on.”

Portsmouth Beer Week

By sarah | Feb 28, 2012 | in

Portsmouth’s 3rd annual Beer Week is underway -- don’t let it pass by without experiencing the excitement!

Slated to run from February 27th through March 5th, this year’s schedule has grown a great deal since their 2010 innagural showing, and will feature tours of Sumttynose and Portsmouth Breweries throughout the week.

Did we mention there will be complimentary tastings at both breweries as well?

It is well known that, years ago, a significant portion of Portsmouth was built on beer production. During the 19th century, Portsmouth was home to one of the largest breweries in America, the Frank Jones Brewery. At their pre-Prohibition peak, the Frank Jones Brewery sold 165,000 barrels of beer.

From 1950-1990, brewing was non-existent in Portsmouth. Then, in 1991, siblings Peter and Janet Egelston decided to open the Portsmouth Brewery in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. Smuttynose Brewery was soon to follow in 1994.

Now, in 2012, both Breweries are happy to be apart of this special, weeklong event. The last day is extra-special because the Portsmouth Brewery will release Kate the Great, the internationally renowned Russian Imperial Stout.

For more information on when the events are you can check out the events calendar on the Green Alliance website. Also if you want more information about the Portsmouth Brewery or Smuttynose you can visit their website as well. Last but not least, visit Portsmouth Beer Week's website for fun information and news!

GA Ski Party promises good times, great green company

By Jim Cavan | Feb 28, 2012 | in

Together with Green Alliance and 92.5 The River, Shawnee will play host to a day of great runs, sweet tunes, and evening revelry at their Bridgeton Maine resort on Friday, March 9th.

The first 100 Green Alliance members to RSVP will receive a special event coupon good for a $9.25 all-day ski pass!

From noon until 10pm, snow buffs can enjoy Shawnee’s pristine, scenic slopes, grab a scrumptious bite at Blizzards Pub, and take some down time to enjoy free live music, giveaways, and much more.

Not a GA member? Click here to join, and start saving today at dozens of local green businesses.

If you are a member and would like a $9.25 lift ticket, RSVP to dave@greenalliance.biz.

After wearing out boards or legs, guests are invited to join GA staff members, Business Partners, and consumer members in Blizzards Pub for an Apres Ski Party -- enjoy good food and libations while Adam & The Waxmen’s ecclectic music stylings help you wind down.

Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New Hampshire Annual Winter Conference

By sarah | Feb 28, 2012 | in

Just this past year, the world's population hit and then quickly surpassed the 7 billion mark. One of the many concerns regarding the surging swell of humanity is the need for sustainable agriculture. The recession has seen soaring food prices and decreased purchasing power. Worldwide organizations like the United Nations, local co-ops, businesses, and individuals are all seeking solutions to the same issues on different scales. Here in Northern New England we are fortunate to have many green-minded organizations that offer answers to some of the pressing and crucial questions about sustainability, agriculture, and community.

The Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New Hampshire (NOFA-NH) is a commanding force on sustainable community agriculture. NOFA-NH is proud to invite everyone who has a vested interest in the future of their food to join them in their effort.This Saturday March 3rd at 8 a.m. is the 10th Annual Winter Conference.If you count yourself among those concerned about these and related issues, the 10th Annual NOFA-NH Winter Conference is an event you simply cannot afford to miss. For Conference Director JoAnne Russavage the core of the event involves creating community and building local connections. JoAnne explains that the famous potluck functions as the event's beating heart, representative of NOFA-NH's broader mission.

"As most everyone brings something to share, and the food is made with that intention, the meal is ultimately a sustaining one on many levels. Our organic and local food community feed each other literally and figuratively - growers feed consumers, and consumers feed the growers in return by supporting their livelihood and supporting their belief that food should be as fresh and as good for you as it can be. We remind each other that we are not alone in our challenge to keep good, healthy food available and affordable, and keeping family farming a way of life that is honored and valued."

The Conference's keynote speaker will be Frances Moore Lappe. Lappe's first novel, Diet for a Small Planet, served as a catalyst for local food movements nearly 40 years ago. Today, Lappe has penned 18 books and has kept her focus on sustainable community agriculture. “Solutions to global crises are within reach,” says Frances in EcoMind. “Our challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps so we can bring these solutions to life.”

Frances Moore Lappe, as well as a host of other presenters, farmers, workshops and exhibits compose this all-day event. The NOFA-NH Winter Conference is excited about their new location at Sanborn Regional High School on 17 Danville Road in Kingston, NH. "Administrator Christine Nelson and Principal Brian Stack are fabulous and gracious hosts to our event,” remarks Russavage "Being able to hold the event in the school really brings us into the heart of the Kingston community in a way that other venues simply couldn’t."

A Day at the Redhook Brewery

By sarah | Feb 27, 2012 | in

 Last Saturday, I was able to join friends and family for some great beer and tasty food, mixed in with a few laughs and a very informative brewery tour.

Redhook  Brewey, a business partner of the Green Alliance, is located in Newington, NH. They pride themselves in brewing quality beer, while staying true to their commitment to green initiatives.

Walking into the Redhook Brewery is an exciting experience in and of itself. The atmosphere inlcudes friendly staff, the mouthwatering smell of quality food, and the hoppy aroma of a brewery committed to making the best beers possible.

We noticed that there were tours at the top of every hour and we had just missed the most recent tour by a few minutes. Since the tour was one of the main reasons why we decided to visit the brewery, we decided to grab a bite to eat and wait for the next one.

I was with a large group and the brewery was rather busy, causing a bit of concern regarding a long wait. As I ventured over towards the warm, friendly hostess with a smile from ear to ear, I realized that she was going to take care of us. I asked her if we could be seated at a table, and she immediately had one for us. Now that the concern for finding a table was relieved, it was time to take on the task of deciding which beer to taste first.

A Perfect Move wants to whisk you away!

By Jim Cavan | Feb 24, 2012 | in

For years, A Perfect Move has prided itself on being a company dedicated to moving you and your belongings in a manner both green and friendly.

Now, they're offering to take you and a loved one on an all expenses paid trip to one of 10 world-wide destinations!

Here's the rundown: Because A Perfect Move depends on referrals for much of its business, they want to show their grattiude to the person or business who sends them the most clients.

From now until August 15th, 2012, all APM referrals will be tallied, with the resulting winner having their choice of a trip for two to one of 10 exciting, exotic locations around the globe!

The list of destinations is as follows: Ireland, San Francisco, Peru, Singapore, Disney World, Egypt, London, Bali, Mexico, and New Zealand.

For more information and details, please email gbenton@aperfectmover.net

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No snow, no problem for Wade Landscaping

By Jim Cavan | Feb 24, 2012 | in

When your business depends on steady snowfall for much of its seasonal earnings, you’d think an eerily warm winter stretch would risk hemorrhaging the bottom line.

But for Brian Wade, owner of Wade Landscaping, higher temperatures have only meant broader opportunities for his all-seasons service.

“This has been one of the busiest winters ever, by far,” says Brian Wade, who founded his Dover-based company in 2007, before adding with a chuckle, “and to be honest, it beats spending your days and nights plowing snow.”

Particularly, Wade and his crew have focused on brush and lot maintenance for homes and small businesses. Not only have these projects benefited other local companies such as Cornerstone Tree Care – who can transform scrap wood into mulch – they also allow outfits like Wade to get a head start on the comparatively gangbusters spring cleanup season.

“This will put us in a much better position to really go all out once spring rolls around,” explains Wade. “Having that head start will only mean more business in the future.”

But Wade’s work hasn’t been limited to brush, leaves, and other natural debris. They’ve even taken to helping clear litter from the lots of businesses like Panera Bread.

“They’re a very important client for us, so how their property looks is going to reflect on us,” says Wade. “So we’ve spent some time there picking up garbage and just trying to make it look nice for people passing by.”

Like most, Wade can’t recall having ever seen a winter – if you can call it that – quite like this one. Still, he says the unseasonable warmth has resulted in a little more balance for his always-busy team.

Building Energy 2012 and its participants establish building blocks for the future

By sarah | Feb 24, 2012 | in

‘The Only Way to Predict the Future is to Design It’ may only be the title of the keynote speech for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) Building Energy 2012 conference, but it undoubtedly encompasses the spirit behind the entire three day event.

NESEA is an organization built on membership and driven by the increasing support or responsible energy use in the building sector. The Building Energy 2012 conference brings together professionals in the renewable energy and high performance building field and 170 vendors for a premier networking, educational and social event.

Building Energy 2012 is a cross-disciplinary conference, and NESEA welcomes both those with extensive experience, as well as those new to the building field. Attendees can choose from 12 different tracks such as Renewable Energy, Green Financing and What the Pros Want to Know. Combined, the tracks will consist of 80 different sessions and workshops including Energy Basics, The State of Affordable Housing and The Future of Natural Gas.

Green Alliance corporate partner James Petersen of Petersen Engineering is heavily involved with the conference behind, and in front of the scenes.

Last month Petersen was re-elected for a second term as Board Chair for the NESEA Board of Directors. Petersen is also a co-chair of the Health Care track, a recent addition to the conference.

“This is a new track that will be appealing to architects, facility managers and engineers working in hospital and health care operations, design and construction,” Petersen explains.

In addition to co-chairing, Petersen will also be presenting as part of the Large-Scale Multi-Family Done Right workshop, designed to highlight the Castle Square Deep Energy Retrofit project. According to Petersen, the project – conducted on a 500-unit multi-family housing complex in Boston – is believed to be the largest deep energy retrofit of its kind.

Petersen will not be alone at the conference, however. He will be joined by the rest of the team at Petersen Engineering, who are looking forward to taking advantage of the many educational opportunities the conference provides.

NH Soap Box Derby Competitors Visit Children’s Museum of NH

By sarah | Feb 24, 2012 | in

School will soon be out for February vacation, which means it’s time for kids to have some fun! On February 29th, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire will host a special visit from two young NH Soap Box Derby competitors. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet 12-year-old Ryan Chasse and 11-year-old Teal Borden. The "cars" the two have built and raced in the NH Soap Box Derby will also be on display at the Museum.

The NH Soap Box Derby is a youth racing event open to boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 17 who reside in the Granite State. By building a gravity powered race car, participants gain the self-confidence that comes with setting goals and achieving them through perseverance and craftsmanship. Kids are encouraged to do as much of the work on their cars as their age level permits.

Soapbox cars do not burn fuel, making them a green alternative to their go-kart counterparts. 

Races are held during the spring, summer, and fall in New Hampshire and throughout the nation. Racers accrue All-American Soap Box Derby Rally points, which could earn them the right to compete in the National Championship held each July. More information can be found on the NHSBD website.

The Children’s Museum of NH will be open all week Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 pm, during February vacation. Each day, different science and creative activities will be available in the Muse Studio, located on the Museum's first floor. A Free Family Fun Night will be held on Friday, March 2 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm with the museum open to all, free of charge. 

For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit www.childrens-museum.org.

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Jim Gerritsen, Renowned Organic Farmer, Speaks at Blue Moon Evolution

By sarah | Feb 24, 2012 | in

To say there was a buzz at Blue Moon Evolution Monday, February 13th would be an understatement. Walking into the restaurant was an experience in and of itself. The tables were wonderfully arranged with an assortment of delicious local cheese, bread, and fruit. Wine glasses were sparkling from the holiday lights that gleamed above. And of course, Jim Gerritsen, an organic farmer and president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, traveled all the way from Northern Maine to speak at the event. Jim was recently voted one of Utne Reader’s “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World” and looked very excited to be in attendance.

Blue Moon Evolution, located in Exeter, New Hampshire started the event off with a kick. First everybody in the room introduced themselves including the Green Alliance Intern in attendance. After introductions, Kathy Gallant, Blue Moon Evolutions Owner, opened the night with inspiring words. Kathy mentioned that this event truly aided in helping individuals figure out where we are going and how we, as a society, can get there. Kathy closed her opening words with a beautiful poem by Mother Teresa called “Life is”. The poem certainly put in plain words that we have an enormous opportunity to make our future brighter and that it is up to us to go out and make that happen.

Eco Broker expects big things from U.S. Green Building Council’s NH chapter

By Jim Cavan | Feb 23, 2012 | in

As the Seacoast’s first-ever certified “GREEN” REALTOR®, Hillary Gaynor knows a little something about sustainable construction. Over the years, she’s brokered dozens of deals for real estate clients based on the merits and features of green homes and properties throughout the region.

But as the newly elected Vice Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s New Hampshire chapter (USGBCNH), Gaynor is gaining experience in a sector whose growth and vitality is inextricably linked with her own.

“From the get go, I wanted to connect with an organization that had a similar mindset and perspective on a lot of the things that I care about,” recalls Gaynor, who received her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from UNH and worked in the field for years before switching to realty full time. “Now, I’m trying to expand that to include other like-minded organizations throughout the state.”

Founded in 1993, the USGBC is a non-profit trade organization tasked with promoting sustainability in how buildings are designed, built, and operated.

The organization’s Granite State chapter was created in 2009, with Gaynor as one of its founding members. Since then, the USGBCNH has grown to include 91 members from a variety of industry sectors.

Gaynor says she first got involved with the group – prior to its official chapter certification – after being designated an accredited professional by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Right away, she was inspired by the burgeoning group’s efforts to bring green building practices and issues directly to the fore.

“I felt like the organization jived really well with my own personal beliefs in wanting to help promote green issues, and green building issues in particular,” recalls Gaynor. “It’s really a great group of like-minded professionals and businesses, and offered a great opportunity to gain experience and learn about what’s going on as far as green building issues were concerned.”

The case for the $25 light bulb

By sarah | Feb 23, 2012 | in

When Philips unveiled their new line of EnduraLED lighting, they weren’t pulling any punches. 

“The new LED lighting from Philips is here, and it can change everything,” boasts one brochure on display at The Lighting Center by Rockingham Electric in Newington, a business partner in the Green Alliance. 

The first LED replacement for a 60-watt incandescent light bulb, the EnduraLED A19 certainly looks different than a traditional light bulb. When it’s not lit up, it’s yellow. 

And at around $25 a pop, its price tag may seem a bit out of the ordinary. But then, this isn’t your grandparent’s light bulb.

In awarding the EnduraLED A19 the very first Lighting for Tomorrow Prize, the American Lighting Association, Consortium for Energy Efficiency, and U.S. Department of Energy heralded it’s ability to “save a business or commercial property up to $120 over the course of the life of the lamp.”

These savings stem from the EnduraLED’s ability to use only 12.5 watts of energy to produce the same amount of light, 806 lumens to be precise, as a 60-watt incandescent light bulb.  

“It turns out that saving energy can be as easy as changing a light bulb,” says Jim Pender, President and CEO of Rockingham Electric, a locally owned company with locations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Green Alliance celebrates International Polar Bear Day 2012

By sarah | Feb 21, 2012 | in

As the planet heats up, no one is sweating it more than the animals who live on the melting arctic ice sheets. Perhaps the most iconic animal losing its habitat is the polar bear, which is why your friends at the Green Alliance, along with PolarBearsInternational.orgwill be celebrating International Polar Bear Day on February 27, 2012.

Don't be ashamed if you aren't yet aquainted with this holiday's proud traditions. You can start right now by watching this quick video describing ice loss in the arctic from 1978 through 2008: 

If you're feeling a little angry and stressed out after watching this, Happy International Polar Bear Day!

Now, it's time to revisit some carbon-cutting steps we can all take reduce our contribution to global warming and make good on the awful, awful things we've been putting the polar bear through lately.

New Energy Efficient Mortgages offer more flexibility, opportunity

By Jim Cavan | Feb 20, 2012 | in

For years, those who wished to bolster their home’s energy efficiency often had to take out additional loans, or recoup what they could from the myriad government rebates available for certain retrofits or improvements.

Now, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) is offering a way for homeowners – both existing and prospective – to bundle energy efficiency improvements into their mortgage.

Aptly named Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs), the tools allows for the borrower to increase their mortgage to cover energy related improvements, and can be used for existing homes, new construction and refinancing.

The cost of the improvements is added on top of the amount for which the borrower has already been pre-qualified, and does not affect the borrower’s debt to income ratio. Also, there is no additional appraisal required.

The only qualifying factor is that the energy savings from the improvement package must be more than the increase in the monthly mortgage payment.

For existing homes or condominiums, applicants can receive up to 5% of the appraised value of the home, or 5% of 115% of the median home value (determined county by county), whichever is less.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the 2012 median value price for Rockingham and Strafford counties is $400,000. In York County, Maine, that value is $220,000.

That means a homebuyer or owner can qualify for up to $23,000 or $12,650, respectively.

So, for example, a home worth the York County average of $253,000 would qualify for an additional $12,650 for improvements and retrofits.