Blog : April 2012
At first glance, Laurel Court – a plot of 19 home-ready lots in Portsmouth – appears a thoroughly contemporary cluster development, with the soon-to-be constructed craftsmen and bungalow style homes all built to high performance, energy efficient standards.
In fact, the schematics of the tight-knit neighborhood actually harken to another Port City staple: Atlantic Heights, the charming, tree-lined neighborhood near the 1-95 bridge, and the country’s first ever federally funded housing project.
The historic streetscape features and rooflines of the near century-old Atlantic Heights – undergoing a renaissance of late – may have served as an aesthetic inspiration for Laurel Court. But the latter’s incredible green features have helped render it a decidedly 21st century template.
The brainchild of Chinburg Builders, Laurel Court was conceived of as the next logical step for a company already a decade into an ever-growing green focus. Building on the success of their Devon Woods development – a neighborhood of 12 Energy Star-certified homes located in Kittery – Chinburg’s goal was to create a community where every home went above and beyond even the loftiest benchmarks of energy efficiency.
So far, the reviews have been nothing short of glowing: Chinburg recently announced that it’s flagship unit – christened the Samantha model – had achieved a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 53, well below the threshold of 60 indicating a “high performance” abode.
Just one look at the makeup of the home reveals how and why Chinburg’s latest green coup was met with such high marks: From a state-of-the-art solar hot water system to super-tight insulation to energy efficient lighting, Laurel Court’s eco-friendly features are as impressive as they are wallet-friendly in terms of short and long term energy cost savings.
How friendly? According to Jen Chinburg, the company’s Marketing Director, the Samantha prototype will net $964 dollars in savings in its first year -- $536 of that on water-heating alone.
The New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility is a network of New Hampshire businesses that have acknowledged the importance of environmentally conscious business practices. On May 14th, NHBSR is holding their annual Spring Conference that is focused on promoting social responsibility in the workplace, local communities, and the environment. This year's Spring Conference is titled Walking the Talk: The Profitability of Values. The Spring Conference opens with a keynote address from a leader in the realm of corporate social responsibility.
This year's keynote speaker is Andrew Winston of Winston Eco-Strategies. Winston is a globally-recognized expert on how businesses can become more profitable by adopting more environmentally sound business practices. Michelle Veasey, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility stated, "We're really excited. He's got a wide range of experience from fortune 500 multi-national businesses to small companies. He offers a broad perspective on how sustainability positively impacts the bottom line and positions businesses to excel in a resource-constrained environment."
Winston offers real-world examples to drive the point of sustainability home. He brings a perspective from outside of New Hampshire as well. He advises many of the world's leading corporations and serves on many advisory boards such as the Sustainability Advisory Board of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and the Executive Environmental Advisory Council for Hewlett-Packard. He is also a Sustainability Advisor for PwC. Winston has also authored Green Recovery and has co-authored Green to Gold, which is a guide for companies who are going green and becoming more environmentally-conscious.
Whether it is the green courts or the green balls bouncing back and forth, the game of tennis is commonly colored in green. However, for Darlene Hayes, Director of the Boston Lobsters, the actual greening of tennis has just begun.
Welcoming in the fifth season, the professional tennis league known as the Boston Lobster’s, proudly asserts themselves as an organization that works green and plays green. As the Boston Lobster’s continue to grow in scope and outreach, their commitment to sustainability has become a central focus.
“Most people think of tennis as a quiet, solo sport. The Boston Lobster’s, on the other hand, are high energy, inclusive, and team oriented,” says Director Darlene Hayes, “We strive for diversity and community involvement in our organization.”
With live ticket sales opening this month, the Boston Lobsters look forward to sold out matches and events. Boston Lobster fans will have the opportunity to see some of the biggest names in tennis, including Lindsay Davenport and John Isner.
“This season we are really pushing our efforts to decrease our carbon footprint and reduce waste at our events,” says Hayes. In celebration of the sustainable initiatives, the Boston Lobster’s will host the Green Initiatives Night event on Sunday, July 22nd.
One of the key components of reducing pollution and environmental degradation is reducing carbon emissions, which comes from burning fossil fuels like oil. Shell Oil is currently sending ships up to the American arctic (the northernmost portion of Alaska), to begin drilling this summer. The arctic is already a fragile ecosystem, and with glaciers retreating so rapidly viable habitats for animals that live there, like polar bears, are being destroyed. Some people still cannot see the importance of an area virtually unhabituated by humans, but as water melts oceans will rise affecting humans and ecosystems everywhere. Luckily, the American people have protested against this environmental injustice in more ways than one.
Guest blog by visiting environmental scholar Sebastian Röstberg
I study at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in northern Sweden in a city called Umeå. I am studying in a masters program called Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, which could be translated to those who are not familiar with the terms, as the art of finding out how our environment works and its status.
I have come to Portsmouth NH to learn more about how you work with the environment here in the US, and more specifically in the City of Portsmouth. The American Embassy in Stockholm funds this project which is a collaboration between Sweden and the USA. The collaboration is called SAGA (Swedish American Green Alliance) and the project that I am a part of is called React US. Along with four other masters students from Sweden, we have been sent to five different cities in the US to learn more about the environmental work in those municipalities with an eye for garnering info that would be useful for our masters studies.
I find myself searching for unfriendly people just to see if they actually exist in this warm and sunny brick landscape that’s bustling yet somehow hinting of a relaxed culture. This is at least my first impression of this port by the mouth of the Piscataqua River.
I began my visit with a tour of UNH by Shannon Rogers a PHD candidate who is measuring the social aspects of different environmental projects such as the building of dams. I was impressed by the sheer size of UNH; it almost seems like a city unto itself. While strolling the campus, I noticed lots of scooters carrying young students dressed in summer clothes, hair blowing in the wind, and also one or two motorcycles with bald and bearded men, seemingly flying by. Surprised I turned to Shannon to ask if it is legal to drive without helmets and protective gear, her answer comes with a laugh and she tells me that the motto in New Hampshire is, after all, "live free or die".
Calling all artists! Green Alliance is looking for artists in the Seacoast area who are interested in showing their work in the Green Alliance office in downtown Portsmouth, NH. We have a large customer base to be reached and you can have your artistic talents promoted in a sustainable fashion.
There is no maximum or minimum size, although any major heavy fixtures for hanging are discouraged. The medium can range from painting, photography, prints, sculpture and mixed media; environmentally-themed art works are preferred and encouraged. If an artist is selected to be shown, an individual show will be coordinated. Art work will be shown from May 1 to August 31 2012 and applications are rolling.
If you are interested in having artwork shown please contact Becky Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can assist you in working out the logistics of shows and displays if chosen.
To see the full size poster with all details regarding this program, click the image at right.
Every dog that comes to Mary Doane through her adoption program, Mary's Dogs, has a unique story; Mary too, has traveled an interesting route to arrive where she is today. Her journey began with the study of Ecological Theology in seminary school at Boston University. In 2001 Mary embarked on a project that encompassed the spiritual connection between human beings and the natural world. Project Nature is the manifestation of Doane's belief that the well being of individual creatures promotes sustainability and conservation on the whole.
Mary's work through Project Nature, and now Mary's Dogs provides education for people about the importance of kindness and humane treatment of all species. Here in the United States only 1 in 10 dogs has a home and nearly 3.7 million dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Through adoption the number of culled animals can be drastically reduced.
Seeking out adoption over purchase from a breeder is more sustainable in a number of ways. By adopting a four legged friend, businesses like Mary's can continue to grow and provide homes for deserving dogs. Taking on a pet is a big decision and by using Doane's program the adoption serves a larger purpose- you are loving a dog that already exists instead of having a dog created. Supporting adoption sends a message that more stringent practices of breeding are necessary. Inviting a rescue dog into your family allows for more orphaned canines to be welcomed into the system and placed into loving homes.
Mary's Dogs takes care to ensure that each dog receives the highest level of home care. Doane has acquired a plethora of training knowledge over the years of working with rescued animals which she applies now as she generates a networking system of adoption and care.
Good nutrition is a huge focus at Mary's Dogs. To Doane the importance of organic, natural and sustainable food practices can not be emphasized enough. Her focus on preserving the natural world and promoting sustainable pet care lead to the new partnership with the Green Alliance. Mary's understanding of nature and desire to spread knowledge about protecting and preserving parallels the mission of the Green Alliance. Working with the GA will bring Mary and the Green Alliance community together, forging a relationship from their common bond.
The New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility have announced the finalists for the 2012 Cornerstone Award. This year's nominees include Green Alliance Business Partner ReVision Energy! Recipients of the coveted award exemplify the NHBSR standards of social resposibility- with their internal business practices, but also through promotion of susainable, socially responsible commerce in the broader community.
ReVision Energy is committed to serving the broader community in their efforts to create sustainable solar energy. Recently, ReVision implemented an innovative financing program that allowed The GoodWill Hinckley School and the Natural Resources Council of Maine to go solar. This project to help two non-profits run on more sustainable, solar energy is just one example of their community enriching endeavors.
The winner of this year's Cornerstone Award will be announced at the Sheraton Portmouth Harborside Hotel during the NHBSR Spring Conference on May 14th. This conference reflects the growing desire for change and innovation amongst local business owners. The conference, titled "Walking the Talk: The Profitability of Values" is designed to appeal to "businesses across the spectrum" of sustainable and socially responsible practices. The Green Alliance is scheduled to attend the sessions on May 14th and encourages all local business owners to attend. Registration for NHBSR's Spring Conference ends on May 1st, you can sign up and see the schedule here.
The conference will feature keynote speaker, Andrew Winston of Winston Eco-Strategies and author of the Green Recovery and co-author of Green to Gold. NHBSR seeks to promote networking by allowing a space for elevated discussion between like-minded businesses around key issues surrounding sustainability and social responsibility. Beth Tener of New Directions Collaborative will lead the focused networking session, helping your business to find the people you need to connect with to move efforts in the right direction.
Join the Green Alliance, Cornerstone Finalist ReVision Energy and NHBSR on May 14th at the Sheraton for this amazing and timely business event.
When I first decided to pay a visit to Dr. Seth LaFlamme at Great Works Chiropractic & Wellness in South Berwick, I was doing it to write a Green Alliance profile about the young doctor’s thriving practice – that’s it. At 29, I was certain my relatively healthy, active lifestyle meant my look-over would entail nothing more than a quick exam, a thumb’s up and a gusto-laden “keep it up!”
After studying Philosophy, English, and Humanities at the University of Maine at Farmington, Dr. Seth – his preferred title – chose to follow his now-wife, Briana, to Atlanta, where the latter planned to study Chiropractic at the field-renowned Life University, the largest school of its kind anywhere in the world.
Motivated as much by his own neck and back pain as he was the thrill of something new, eventually LaFlamme decided to give chiropractic a try for himself. He never looked back.
Today, Dr. Seth owns and operates Great Works, located in his native South Berwick’s charming downtown. In attempting to dissuade the masses from the stigma that chiropractic concerns little more than “neck pain, back pain, and headaches,” Dr. Seth has prided himself on a holistic alternative to the prohibitively expensive, symptom-centric medical world.
“Our bodies are inherently regenerative – blood cells are replaced every 120 days; our stomach lining every five days – which makes it all the more important that we stay in tune with its finer workings, functions, and rhythms,” he explains. “So being at our healthiest and best has a direct effect on how we not only interact with one another, but with the planet as a whole.”
All of that had been discussed at great length long before I decided to take Seth up on his offer for a complimentary exam – namely when Great Works joined Green Alliance, and we penned an overall introductory feature on the business.
This time, however, I wanted to see for myself how Dr. Seth’s unique perspective might be put into practice.
In the lead up to Earth Day, WMUR sent their New Hampshire Chronicle crew out to cover the unique stories of three Green Alliance Business Partners: Green Earth Baby Works, Newmarket Dental, and eZee Bikes.
Whether it's Kim Leo discussing the tremendous reduction of waste to be had in switching to cloth diapers, Dr. Nathan Swanson touting his dental practice's rapid shift to recycled plastic toothbrush's and 100% digital paperwork system, or Tom Hemmenway extolling the green virtues of electric bikes, the camera's glow definitely brought out the best in these stallwart GA businesses!
Talk about some great exposure!
Check out the video by clicking here or on the graphic above!
Have a new room to paint this Spring? Looking for a little fun this weekend? This Saturday, April 28th from 11-4pm visit the Grand Opening of Exeter Paint and G&N Flooring. The opening boasts raffles and giveaways including Red Sox tickets, free t-shirts, and gift certificates at participating Exeter shops.
But most importantly the opening presents an opportunity to learn about green options in house painting. With Any Season Painting’s Jay DeVincenzo a proud sponsor; the event offers a wealth of information on sustainable painting products. Any Season Painting was established by DeVincenzo in 2005 upon his graduation from the University of New Hampshire. At first, saving the environment and being green was not Jay’s top priority but after noticing the negative consequences of using regular, non-sustainable paints, Jay made the intelligent choice by switching to eco-friendly alternatives and he has seen this greener way grow his business like nothing else.
“I’m self-educated on the issue of more sustainable paint options,” explains DeVincenzo. “And Id say its been the best business decision I’ve made. Of course it helps that I am both providing a healthier product for myself and my clients.”
What were the effects of switching to sustainable and safe products like low VOC or no-VOC paints? For one, the health and the productivity of his workers improved substantially. In addition, his customers became more satisfied and, as an added benefit, his bottom line has markedly improved.
Jay says that concerns about his own health and that of his workers were the catalyst when thinking about changing to eco-friendly alternatives. Some of the eco-friendly products for example are low or no-VOC paints. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in paints can lead to both short-term and long-term health problems such as headaches or even to liver and central nervous system damage. Another Eco-friendly product Jay uses is Soy-Gel. Soy-Gel is an odorless paint remover made from 100% American grown Soybeans, and has become standard operating procedure for Any Season Painting. It is also important to add that these methods not only protect the workers but also protect customers as well. It's truly is a win-win for everyone.
Any Season Painting’s Jay DeVincenzo will be on hand at the Grand Opening event for Exeter Paint being held at 75 Portsmouth Ave, Exeter, NH. Stop on by to learn more about green painting options; once you understand the health implications we are certain you’ll never go back to standard VOC laden paints.
Learn more about Any Season Painting by clicking here! Join the Green Alliance and get $350 off an exterior paint job (house and trim), or $350 off an interior paint job of four rooms or more! Low or no-VOC options included! Also, book a job before April 29th, and have a tree planted in your yard for free, courtesy of Holistic Tree Resources.
Throughout its 15-year history, Jenaly Technology Group has staked much of its claim on providing convenient information technology (IT) solutions geared at helping business not only save money, but reduce their carbon footprint as well.
Whether it’s encouraging the digitization of paperwork, consolidating technology to reduce electricity use, or advocating for non-toxic “solid ink” printing capabilities, Jenaly’s sustainability-driven approach has been as effective as it is all-encompassing.
But seldom has Founder M.J. Shoer been this excited about a potentially game-changing product or service.
It’s called “Cloud Computing,” and it’s quickly changing the way businesses everywhere – and in every conceivable sector – operate.
In fact, Shoer is so convinced of the Cloud’s potential, he recently decided to invest in a company squarely on that technology’s cutting edge: TOGL (www.toglcloud.com). Co-founded by Shoer, TOGL focuses on the delivery of Cloud related products and services that provide IT professionals a comprehensive suite of solutions for managing their data and materials.
Yesterday, Jenaly hosted an intensive two-hour Cloud workshop designed to introduce the fast-growing technology – and TOGL itself – to interested consumers and business owners alike.
Hosted at the Portsmouth Harbor Events Center (adjacent to the Residence Inn), the seminar featured guest speakers with extensive Cloud expertise and unique perspectives on the enormous benefits of cloud computing.
“M.J. has been planning on doing one of these seminars for a while now, and we’re pretty excited that it’s finally coming to fruition,” explains Ellen Sargent, Client Advocate at Jenaly. “We’re going to go out of our way to make it as accessible and clear as possible.”
In particular, companies who utilize a Cloud service are able to more easily store the reams and reams of data that would otherwise necessitate a bevy of space-eating hard drives and servers.
Portsmouth has a history of being a “tree-friendly city.” In fact, in July of last year it was recertified as a Tree City USA for the 12th year in a row by the National Arbor Foundation. Portsmouth repeatedly receives this recognition because of its investment in street trees and its use of native species in various areas such as public parks.
This Friday, April 27th is nationally recognized Arbor Day and here in Portsmouth members of the Seacoast Arborist Collaborative will continue the city’s tree-friendly tradition with an Arbor Day celebration at Prescott Park by donating their time to care or the trees.
SAC is inviting members of the community to come visit the celebration by checking out the "Arborist's Perch" where there will be an arborist on hand all day to answer questions about trees, tree care, and Arbor Day. Arbor Day will officially begin at 8:30 on Friday when a proclamation is read by a City of Portsmouth councillor. Thereafter, tree care activities will commence and the "Arborist's Perch" will be open for visitors.
Local arborists The Organic Arborist, Northeast Shade Tree and Green Alliance business partners Cornerstone Tree Care and Suntree Tree Healthcare will be in attendance at the celebration, marking the fourth year in a row of local arboricultural camaraderie and volunteerism.
Micum Davis of Cornerstone Tree Care was the driving force behind getting local arborists to volunteer on Arbor Day. His inspiration came from simply walking around Portsmouth and seeing many damaged and diseased trees in various parks and public spaces.
“I thought it would be cool to get a group of arborists together to prune and care for these trees that the city simply didn’t have the funding to take care of,” Davis explains.
His idea gained enough momentum, and the volunteers have been able to work in a variety of parks throughout the city in the three consecutive years the Arbor Day celebration has taken place. Their primary goal is to prune the trees for health and safety, such as removing dead limbs and structural pruning.
On Saturday, March 31st, I went maple sugaring with a fellow Green Alliance intern, Joe. We drove out to Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center. Prescott Farm is an non-profit education center that focuses on educating visitors about environmental and other nature-oriented initiatives. Maple sugaring is one of those initiatives. Every March, Prescott Farm hosts their month-long event known as Maple Sugar Madness. Maple Sugar Madness is a family-friendly program that educates people of all ages about the process of turning a sugar maple tree's sap into maple syrup.
Pulling up to Prescott Farm is an experience in itself. The farm is nestled against the woods at the base of the majestic Belknap Mountain Range. I walked into their visitor's center, where I was greeted by a friendly program guide named Sarah Dunham. She gave me a tour of the building, which is run primarily on solar and geothermal energy. We waited about 5 minutes or so before a father and his two young sons came in for the maple sugar program. The walk to the maple sugaring area was beautiful and full of fun tips regarding gardening. As we walked past some of the produce being grown, Sarah told us how to keep deer away from the fences. Apparently, deer do not like the smell of Irish Spring soap and it is great way to prevent deer from entering your garden. Once we made it to the maple sugaring area, Sarah showed us some of the trees that have already been tapped.
After a brief description of how to tap different size trees and the difference between the various maple trees in the region, it was time to start a new tap. Sarah went into the maple sugar house and grabbed a hand drill. She then went on to tell us the best part of the tree to tap, which happened to be chest to shoulder height. The main reason for this is because of potential snow levels that could interfere with the tap. The sap immediately began to run from the inside of the tree outward and began to drip into the bucket.
Sarah let us sample the sap, which was primarily water with a small amount of sugar in it. Once we finished our tasting of the sap, we walked into the shed where the sap is turned into syrup. The shed had a rustic feel to it and was lined with wooden benches around it. There was stove in one corner that was used to boil the water out of the sap. After the water was boiled out, the maple sugar was then left to cool. The final product was absolutely delicious. Sarah gave us each a sample of the maple syrup and told us a Native American legend on how the maple sugaring process started. The day was a complete success. The program was not only educational, but it was full of family-oriented fun.
For more information regarding Prescott Environmental Education Center's upcoming programs, visit Prescott Environmental Education Center.
The Green Alliance's Party for the Planet was a huge success. Thank you to all of you who supported this great event. We would like to extend a special thank you to those who donated their fresh seafood to the raw bar. The raw bar included around 400 oysters, 100 littleneck clams, and 200 shrimp cocktails. It was such a popular feature at the party that it ran out in about an hour and a half. The people that we would like to personally thank include: Bret Taylor of Taylor Lobster, Rich Pettigrew of Seaport Fish, Tom Adams of Maine Coast, and the raw bartender himself, Craig Spinney of Robert's Maine Grill.