Blog : August 2012
Since opening his second studio last year, Zev Yoga co-owner Jonas “Zev” Amberger has been witness to a recession-defying membership boom. And, as with his flagship Portsmouth space, Zev’s new Exeter digs have seen its ranks grow in part thanks to an offer that an increasingly yoga-hungry public simply can’t refuse: $25 a month for unlimited yoga.
In so doing, Zev has established a model counter not only to others in his industry – many personal trainers can charge up to $100 an hour, and it’s not uncommon for yoga studios to charge that much or more for monthly membership – but to conventional economic wisdom as well.
“Back when it was $50 a month, which is still low compared to some studios, we were struggling to get people through the door,” recalls Zev. “But as soon as we lowered it to $25, we went from 100 members to 400 in just a few months.”
Not only has the deal been a boon for Zev’s bottom line; it’s helped him introduce Ashtanga – a branch of yoga with roots in ancient India that was revitalized in the 20th century by Sri Patabi jois – to a wider and wider audience.
In fact, business has been so good that the studio is poised to open its third location in Downtown Dover on October 1st.
His studio’s success may well prove a refreshing antidote to tales of recessionary struggles, but Zev says the strategic template is one that might surprise some people.
For decades, fitness centers and health clubs were thought to be purely the province of those with either enough time or enough money to make working out worth their while. Determined to build a fitness business that would be both effective and affordable, entrepreneur Michael Grondahl launched the first Planet Fitness gym in 1992 in Newington, New Hampshire.
An old acquaintance of Grondahls, Zev was brought aboard the Planet Fitness team early on, and even accompanied the founder on a reconnaissance mission of sorts to New York City, where the two sought ideas and inspirations to help take the business to the next level. Upon returning, Grondahl realized that the key to Planet Fitness’ success hinged on turning the entire membership model on its fiscal head, and tasked Zev with penning the company’s new mission statement.
The resulting tome – which included the now iconic “Judgment-Free Zone” – helped redefine a business that now boasts 561 locations throughout the country, all the while proving that being in good shape doesn’t have to mean having an elite bank account.
There is no debating the scenic beauty of New England in autumn and the seasonably crisp weather is ideal for outdoor recreation. The Trek Portsmouth Wallis Sands Triathlon celebrates early fall with a picturesque course down the NH seacoast. The race includes an ocean swim off Wallis Sands State Beach and a flat and fast bike and run course. Biking half the miles along the coast, and the other half meandering along beautiful Rye town roads is complimented well by the 5k run along the ocean and out to Odiorne State Park.
As if the beautiful course aesthetics weren’t enough, the Trek Portsmouth Wallis Sands Triathlon has committed to making the event ‘zero waste’. Working with the Green Alliance and their partnering business, EcoMovement, recycling and composting facilities will be implemeted to efficiently manage all race-side waste and limit the environmental impact of the event. The efforts to go zero waste are inspiring as the Trek Portsmouth triathlon sets a high green standard for coastal races.
Click here to register for the triathlon – there will be no race-day registration so don’t wait to sign up! Green Alliance members enjoy $5 off the registration fee. Enter the code '5green5' at checkout to receive the member discount.
The Trek Portsmouth Wallis Sands Triathlon will be held on Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 with the race start time at 8:00am. Visit www.wallissandstriathlon.com.
Austin joined Green Alliance in August 2012 as a public relations intern. Born and raised in Concord, NH, he first moved to California to study photography at Orange Coast College. He then moved back to the Granite State to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of New Hampshire.
Austin started out writing fiction after being exposed to authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson. He went on to join his high school newspaper writing for the news and music sections. Since being at UNH, he has written several publications for The New Hampshire. He has also written stories for the Franklin Pierce University newspaper and blog.
Outside of school, he is a reader, writer, avid poker player, and music enthusiast. He is also a huge fan of Seinfeld and The Simpsons.
Join the Green Families Club and experience the Field Trip Program with your family! Have the chance to visit the Green Alliance businesses and have fun while learning about local examples of sustainable leadership! Sign up for the GFC here!
It is important to know the parameters of your energy bill. It is even more important to know how to save on the parameters of your energy bill. Glacial Energy, a proud Business Partner of the Green Alliance, is offering energy supply solutions that can save businesses up to 20% on electricity and around 40% on natural gas.
Glacial Energy will incur these savings, with no changes to outages and distribution services simply by switching to a less expensive supplier for electricity and natural gas. Have your electricity and/or gas bill analyzed by Glacial Energy to determine how to maximize your savings and issue a proposal for action.
As a partnering business of the Green Alliance, benefit from the Glacial Energy's services while saving both money and energy for your business.
Recognizing a similar “green” approach to sustainability, Progressive Asset Management Group — a leader in socially responsible investing — has moved to Newmarket Mills, a former mill that developer Eric Chinburg is recycling into 50,000 square feet of commercial space and 112 apartments.
Business partners Michael Smith and Hunter Brownlie have operated Progressive Asset Management Group — or PAM Group — in Newmarket Mills since March 1st of this year. They previously worked out of an old farmhouse that had been converted into office space where they conducted several sustainability practices, before Brownlie, a Newmarket resident, had heard that a crumbling local mill was being renovated.
PAM Group talked to Great Mills Management, Newmarket Mills’ property management company, about what kind of tenant it would be looking for, and Great Mills Management liked what it heard.
At the forefront of companies in the SRI sector, PAM Group, the socially responsible division of Financial West Group, member FINRA/SIPC, provides a full range of socially and environmentally sustainable investment strategies and offerings, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, portfolio management, private placement options, retirement planning, education funding, and more.
And Smith and Brownlie liked what they saw in the mill, a mix of apartments and businesses — though when they saw the proposed space on the fourth floor everything was gutted, a work in progress during the construction phase.
A collaboration between two companies, each with a stalwart ecological conscience, has drastically reduced the amount of trash one produces and changed the way people think.
EcoMovement Consulting & Hauling, of Dover, has partnered with Redhook Brewing on a top-to-bottom composting program, which involves picking up Redhook’s food scraps once or twice a week and taking it — along with similar refuse from more than a dozen other Seacoast eateries — to compost farms in Freemont and Farmington, where the refuse is mixed with carbon sources and made into nutrient rich soil.
EcoMovement plans to have its own composting sites in the future, says founder Rian Bedard, noting that EcoMovement works with close to 70 businesses, schools, and other institutions in the Seacoast.
EcoMovement provides tutorials to Redhook staff members that involve teaching them how to separate real waste from items that can actually function as compost or be recycled. Workers then set up toters which, when filled, are picked up and hauled off to the farms. The two companies have been working together for a couple of years and now divert 400 to 600 pounds of refuse per week from landfills to the compost farms.
Redhook’s Cataqua Pub Manager Nick Wright notes that before partnering with EcoMovement, the pub’s waste was 100 percent trash. Since then, 90 percent that had been trash now goes into composting. “It’s a very big change, and we’re really happy that we’re able to make the move towards that,” he says.
Redhook now uses corn-based straws and plastic cups that are compostable, a change that was difficult in the very beginning, “but Rian has made it easy,” Wright says. “Getting to new cups wasn’t too bad either. I’d say for companies in other industries who want to do this, it’s not a difficult thing to do and it has a great impact.”
By Ashley Halligan
In a recent conversation about 100 percent waste diversion, Kirk Varga, Chief Sales Officer at the International Environmental Alliance (IEA), said, "A zero-waste initiative is a great way for a facility to stay ahead of the sustainability curve, enhance positive visibility, and save money."
More and more U.S. organizations are jumping on board with this trend, undertaking waste diversion initiatives--and, in masses--announcing their ambitious achievements. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the trend with several industry experts including Varga; Eric Dixon, Vice President of Waste Management Sustainability Services; Jay Coalson, Executive Director of Zero Waste Alliance; and RecycleMatch's CEO, Brooke Farrell.
With the experts' insights and first-hand experience with waste diversion, a guide of sorts was crafted for organizations in the preliminary stages of a waste diversion strategy--that is, in the planning stages.
Farrell points out that any organization can achieve zero-waste with the proper resources, "It's not waste--till it's wasted. The first step is to stop thinking of it as waste or trash, and start thinking of it as a resource--something that has value."
Rural Action defines the the cultural shift of resource recovery, "In this new cultural paradigm, waste no longer has an end point; it is not seen as something that just goes away. Rather, waste is a part of a closed loop system that mimics natural cycles."
How do the experts suggest beginning and achieving such an initiative? Read the full article here!
This week's Green Tips come from Jon Merwin of Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance.
1. Use soy-based inks instead of petroleum inks. They cost about the same — if not less — and are much better for the environment. For example, we buy from www.environmentfirstprint ing.com.
2. Switch over to electronic fax. Standard fax machines are a waste of paper and time. With eFax, the monthly cost to fax is not far off from standard faxing. Faxes are delivered in portable document format (.pdf) via e-mail. Check out www.srfax.com.
3. Look into bamboo office furniture. Not only is bamboo incredibly renewable, but it looks great as well. Best of all, bamboo is light. We'll never have to hire a moving company to help with an office move again! Check out www.green-furniture.com.
4. Use biodegradable plastic bags. They work just as well as standard plastic bags, and can be found in most major stores. Check out www.biobags.com for some green options.
5. Green your cleaning products. It's very easy and not much more expensive. In fact, because a little can often go a long way, green cleaning products can even end up being cheaper.
SEABROOK — With food prices on the verge of doubling because of the horrific weather throughout the United States, consumers need to make some changes to save on food bills. Atlantic Green Energy, a leader in solar power devices, has partnered with Induction Light Technology and U-GRO Hydroponic Garden Systems to make home gardening simple and easy, providing an easy solution to help lower food costs and provide fresh vegetables. Combining these three technologies will allow those with or without a green thumb to grow fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, indoors and out, year-round.
It starts by purchasing the Gro Hydroponic Garden System U-Gro 30. This equipment takes up a 3-foot-by-5-foot area, holds 30 plants and requires little time and maintenance to grow and enjoy nutritious vegetables. No weeding. This system sells for $380 with everything needed for a year. Next year, the nutrients will cost about $20.
With the recent passage of HB 351, a bill requiring that all private health insurers cover services provided by naturopathic doctors (NDs), alternative medicine in New Hampshire was dealt a game-changing hand – one that could forestall changing Granite State attitudes towards human health and well being.
Still, for Dr. Robyn Conte, ND, Director of Starry Brook Natural Medicine in Exeter, providers like hers still face their fair share of challenges and misconceptions, this despite being subject to much of the same training and academic rigor as traditional doctors.
“We’re quite often the physician of last resort,” explains Conte, who opened Starry Brook – named for the conservation that immediately neighbors it– in 2010. “A lot of times we’ll have patients who’ve seen every specialist up and down the Seacoast, but who still haven’t gotten to the root causes for whatever ails them.”
Conte believes that, more than anything, patients want to be able to talk to, and be coached by, their doctors – something that America’s increasingly taxed crop of physicians often cannot provide. Lacking the time necessary to carefully pinpoint the nature and severity of the specific condition, doctors will often prescribe medications or treatments that miss the mark.
“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is something we see all the time, and I can’t tell you how many times we see patients whose doctors had been treating them as if they had Lyme Disease – when they didn’t,” notes Conte. “Any number of viruses or other factors could be the cause, but it takes a lot of dedication on the behalf of physicians to determine what that is.”
Motivated by her own medical school rotations, where she got a first-hand look at exactly how badly patients were being short-changed in terms of time and attention, Conte is careful to cap the number of patients she sees on a daily basis. It might not be the most lucrative approach, but it’s far and away the most effective.
“It’s sad to say, but so often there’s just no connection with the patients,” she exclaims. “Now, you can make a lot of money doing it that way, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing your job as effectively as you could be.”
By Fred Greenhalgh
On July 26th, ReVision Energy officially unveiled Maine's first public solar powered electric vehicle charging station, attracting what must have been the largest gathering of electric cars in Maine outside a dealership! A trio of Chevy Volts was there – ReVision's own, that of our sister company ReVision Heat, and a fleet vehicle from Central Maine Power.
Close to 100 people came and went through the course of the evening, enjoying tunes from ReVision's in-house guitar virtuoso Josh Rollson, victuals from Katie Made bakery, and of course, the star of the show: the electric cars.
Special kudos go to Fred Garbo, who brought his fully EV Nissan LEAF to the event, and allowed several interested people to take it for a spin around the block. One of the most commonly asked questions, “Is it like a regular car?” is answered with “Yes! It’s just like a regular car… only without oil changes, gasoline, or transmission fluid.”
Some Compelling MPG
Based on the surprising abundance of solar power in New Hampshire, 9 solar panels provide roughly enough electricity throughout the year to power about 12,000 miles of driving on an electric car. If you swap out a 20mpg vehicle to an electric car, your fuel savings alone will pay for the solar panels in around 2 years. Assuming you keep driving some sort of electric car for the next 20 years, this is like buying gas at $0.32/gallon!*
DOVER — As if free beer, food, ice cream, and music were not enticement enough, an August event to be held in Dover will also offer sustainability professionals an incalculable business networking opportunity in one of New Hampshire’s important LEED certified buildings.
Green Alliance is partnering for the event with The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire; and Hillary Gaynor Realtor® EcoBroker, LEED AP, an agent with the Bean Group; and the U.S. Green Building Council New Hampshire (Gaynor is the Vice Chair of USGBC NH). It will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, 6 Washington St., Dover.
The event — Building Green: Summer Mixer — demonstrates the reach and depth of the Green Alliance’s connections to the sustainability community. The Green Alliance is a union of local sustainable businesses promoting environmentally sound business practices and is a green co- op offering discounted green products and services to its members.
“It’s an opportunity to hobnob with people integral to the local green building industry and a chance for businesses and residents to connect on issues of sustainability in a social setting” said Green Alliance Executive Director Sarah Brown. “The Building Green Summer Mixer is an incredible networking event that will also honor green builders and buildings and all the people involved in the green industry in New Hampshire, and the Summer Mixer offers an opportunity to discover what a LEED building looks like.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, a Green Alliance Business Partner, has been awarded LEED Silver certification by the USGBC New Hampshire chapter, an organization the GA works closely with. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is the only museum in New Hampshire to achieve this honor, and one of only seven children’s museums in the country to be awarded silver or gold LEED certification. LEED is the USGBC’s rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient, and high performing buildings.
The silver LEED certification signifies leadership in energy efficient design, said Children’s Museum Executive Director Justine Roberts. The certification means, among other things, that during construction the builders incorporated best practices such as energy efficiency, recycling, and air quality controls, ensuring, for example, that during construction workers had clean air to breathe. Other building elements and practices, such as installing bike racks, passive ventilation, and reusing waste products instead of dumping them, gain points that add up to LEED certification. “I think about it as a ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” Roberts said.
The Institute for Corporate Sustainability is a three day learning experience from November 7 to November 9, 2012 on topics within corporate sustainability. The certificate will provide individuals with a rich, tactical education experience to incorporate into their business model. Learn the “why, what, and how” of corporate social responsibility.
The program is designed for mid- to senior-level executives within any size business. The program will help individuals to build their understanding and awareness of issues and current trends within corporate sustainability. They will also learn how sustainability can benefit their business and how to accomplish this effectively.
The sessions will be team-taught from a wide range of instructors from a variety of different fields and areas of expertise. The three days will include learning why sustainability matters and how to communicate your sustainability to internal and external stakeholders.
The Institute will take place a Holloway Commons at the UNH campus. Participants are asked to complete the NHBSR Self-Assessment Tool and read a packet of materials before the event.
For more information and to register, visit www.sustainabilitycertificate.org
The Green Families Club held a contest asking families to submit their muddy kids photos with the winning entry to run on the front of the Green Families August Newsletter. After receiving a great selection of entries the decision was difficult but there was one picture that proved too perfect to pass up…
Congratulations to the Prescott Farm Campers on International Mud Day! Submitted by Sarah Dunham, Executive Director of Prescott Farms with photography by Cathy Duffy, PF Education Director.
To receive the GFC Newsletter, join the Green Families Club here and share the experience of growing your green family!