Blog : September 2013

adaptDESIGN specializes in shape-shifting renovations

By Jim Cavan | Sep 30, 2013 | in

It doesn’t take but a glance at Jason and Kirsten Barton’s Portsmouth residence to realize it’s still very much a home in transition. Such is what’s expected with a scheduled finish still a few weeks off.

But beneath the still-unfurling gray façade, below the brushes and hammers of the final crew, the transformation yields an impressive testament to one local architectural firm’s versatility.

Launched in 2011 by Paul Fowler and Bob Cook, adaptDESIGN’s mini mission statement seems straightforward enough: Design for sustainable living. To be sure, Fowler and Cook have gone to great lengths to assure that motto’s attendant points – green materials, creatively efficient lighting, existing site orientation, and just about everything in between – have as much a home as the people for whom it’s designed.

But to utterly transform a 1920s Dutch Colonial house into a beacon of modern space, design, and practicality? Even an experienced architectural team can appreciate the challenge.

“The original idea was to tear it down and build something brand new entirely from scratch,” recalls Paul Fowler. “But that eventually morphed into taking the existing structure and kind of expanding on it in very particular ways, which can be just as much of a challenge.”

Having lived for years in an open-concept Manhattan loft, the Barton’s knew they needed to ratchet up not just the home’s size, but its spatial orientation as well – not least of all for the sake of their three young but growing daughters.

From the front, the home might seem standard enough: two rectangular stories with a front door and right-oriented two-car garage below the second floor.

“Green Shorts” Film Festival Approaching

By sarah | Sep 30, 2013 | in

PORTSMOUTH — Local filmmakers from Mass, New Hampshire, and Maine, it’s your chance to shine in the “Green Shorts” one-night micro-festival of short films, hosted by the Green Alliance and Film Unbound. This event will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (with doors opening at 7 p.m.) on Oct. 24 at the Green Alliance headquarters, 75 Congress St., Suite 304, Portsmouth, N.H. In addition to an incredible line-up of short and local films with green themes, the event boasts food and beer and a chance to meet some of the film-makers themselves and cast your vote for your favorite “Green Short”!

The festival was born from a partnership between the Green Alliance and Film Unbound in an effort to connect the Seacoast’s green community with the local artist community and bring together like-minded residents. The evening will see anywhere from 4-7 short films, many of them produced by locals. Local films shown will be followed by a short question and answer session with the videographer. This is the first time the local green business union known as the Green Alliance has hosted a film festival. Both the GA and Film Unbound hope this is just the first of a yearly event that will celebrate the planet on camera.

“We’ve had some great submissions,” says Film Unbound’s Michael Torrent, “but are encouraging local film-makers in particular to submit while they still have a chance.” The festival is open to amateur videographers and has a very lose definition of what qualifies as “environmentally-inspired”. “We are leaving the door wide open for submissions; films don’t have to be hardcore environmental documentaries, it could be a music video shot in the woods or a short narrative that touches on the natural world. We invite anyone that has a video about or relating to our planet to consider submitting,” says Green Alliance Director Sarah Brown. “And if you don’t submit, we hope you will join us for the festival and party on Oct. 24th!”

Salisbury Salon aims to hop aboard the green train

By Jim Cavan | Sep 30, 2013 | in

Growing up, Natalie Riley didn't waste much time homing in on her dream: to open a hair salon that would be a beacon of its owner’s passion and creative spirit.

With the opening of Eclipx Salon in September of 2012, Riley had successfully checked off her to-do list’s foremost goal. But it didn’t take long before a slew of smaller boxes began taking on a uniform tone – green.

“The goal all along was to open the salon, get some experience under my belt, then start tackling ways to make the business more green,” Riley says. “Now that the salon is up and running, I’m starting to tackle a lot of the smaller things.”

Recycling, replacing disposable paper cups with glass, printing materials on both sides of the paper – these might seem like sustainability’s low-hanging fruit, but for a start-up business trying to make ends meet in a tough economy, not even the simplest fixes can be taken lightly.

Riley cites two factors for helping her get the green ball rolling: Her customer base – they’ve been clamoring about organic product options for a while now – and joining Green Alliance, a Portsmouth organization that serves as a kind of “guerilla public relations firm” for small, sustainability-minded businesses throughout the region.

“When you’re a renter, you’re pretty limited in what you can do with the building itself,” Riley says. “So I’m excited to take green to the next level here. Once you start with the little tweaks you start seeing why it’s so important to keep going.”

Going green is hardly easy, but Riley – who routinely puts in 12-hour days – has never been one to back down from a challenge.

California, Get Ready for Smuttynose!

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in

Smuttynose Brewing Company is New Hampshire’s Premier Craft Brewery located in the historic seaport city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Named after Smuttynose Island, one of the nine islands that comprise the Isles of Shoals, the establishment does everything to find better ways to run a brew-pub and doing it in a sustainable fashion.

Founded by the people who started the Northhampton and Portsmouth Breweries, Peter and Janet Egelston pride themselves on making a large variety of distinctive beers from their five full-time beers to seasonals to four pack releases and many others.

In recent years, Smuttynose have been expanding and are now distributed in twenty-three states and the District of Columbia. This month, Smuttynose Brewing Company has announced that they have partnered with Craft Beer Guild Distributing of California in San Diego and El Dorado Distributing in Signal Hill.

Green Tips from the Green Alliance

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in

 This week’s tips come from Bill’s Appliance, a family owned business based in Portsmouth that specializes in used appliance sales, repairs, and accessories! Be sure to share with others on Facebook and Twitter! Learn more here

1. Clean your refrigerator condenser coils with a vacuum to keep it running efficiently. This is the definition of a simple cleaning chore that can also help you cut that electric bill!

2. Purchase Affresh, a high efficiency cleaner for your front-loading washer to help prevent mildew buildup in your machine. Get those mildew smells out of your clothes, and cut down on the number of washing cycles. Save money and water!

3. You only need a couple tablespoons of liquid dishwasher detergent to do the job. Filling the entire detergent cup is a waste, and not necessary.

Congrats to Cornerstone Tree Care!

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in


Congratulations to Cornerstone Tree Care for being featured on the cover of Tree Care Industry Magazine in the September 2013 issue!

Cornerstone Tree Care focuses on exceeding customer expectations with great tree care services while reducing their impact on the environment through sustainable practices and eco-friendly products.

For more information about Cornerstone Tree Care, please visit their Green Alliance Business Partner page here and their own website here.

The University of New Hampshire Social Business Innovation Challenge Finalists have been Announced!

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in

The Social Business Challenge hosted by UNH is an opportunity for individuals or groups working to promote sustainability and combat pressing social and/or environmental issues with an innovative business idea to prove the validity of their idea for a cash prize. This event in in honor of Nobel Peace Laureate Muchammad Yunus' visit to the University. There are two categories, student track – full time students in a NH college or university - and community track, – current or aspiring entrepreneurs in NH - and each category has three prizes. The first place winner in each category gets $3,900, second place gets $2,000, and third place gets $1,000 to put toward their business idea. The eight finalists in each category have been announced, and Green Alliance is one of them!

This Monday, September 27th, Green Alliance will be competing against A Woven Thread of Concord, Agua Inc. of Durham, Better Future Alliance of Concord, Focused Sustainability of Madbury, Nearby Registry of Concord, ReRootEd of Barrington, and Senergy Solar of Portsmouth.

There are many reasons we feel we deserve this award, not that we need to convince any of you. The GA is branching out and working with not only green businesses, but businesses that have decided to work at becoming more sustainable. We provide local businesses throughout the region with the tools they need to become successful and sustainable. We also reach out to consumers to help them make informed "green" decisions and connect them with our Green Alliance approved business partners. If we were to win the prize we would be able to help many more businesses and consumers making the community that much stronger. 

Please consider donating to the prize of this event. Through September 30, your tax-deductible contribution to the "Challenge of the Challenge" crowdfunding campaign will go directly to the winners of the Social Business Innovation Challenge. Do so by clicking here!

Also, register to hear Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus' keynote speech  for his inspiring introduction to "Social Business – The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs" and presentation of the Social Business Innovation Challenge awards. Click here to register!

To learn more about the Social Business Innovation Challenge click here

Last weekend cruising the Isles of Shoals!

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in

Join them for a delicious brunch on Star Island! The cruise will leave Portsmouth and head to the Isles of Shoals where you and others will enjoy brunch in the beautiful historic Victorian-era Oceanic Hotel on Star Island. Those who have been to Star Island do not want to miss out on this last voyage out there in 2013. The event is on Sunday, Sept. 29th from 9:55am-3:45pm (boarding at 9:25am). During brunch, there will be a live Jazz band. After, guests will be able to leave the ship and roam around Star Island. Tickets are $57 for adults, $54 for seniors (60+) and $47 for children (12 and under).

For more information and the menu for the Star Island Jazz Brunch, visit here.

Another special cruise is heading your way! On Saturday, Oct.12, 7-10pm, Rockin’ on the River II with The SHARK 105.3 FM will the last one before their Halloween Cruise with the SHARK on October 26. Classic rock hits will be played on the main deck of the vessel all night by the Rockin’ on the River veterans, the On Tap Band. Come on board for a great night full of awesome music, cold beer, drink specials, and a free raffle! Tickets are $12 for ages 21 and older.

Gateway Taiji, Qigong & Yoga to Host Open House Observing One-Year Anniversary

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in

PORTSMOUTH — Gateway Taiji, Qigong & Yoga, a Green Alliance business partner, is hosting an open house to celebrate its one-year anniversary. This event will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Gateway studio in Portsmouth, N.H. Free classes and demos will take place on a 30-minute rotation, ranging from Taiji sword demonstrations to classes on Tai Chi for Better Balance. What better way to incorporate the much needed balance into your life, while also learning about different cultural exercises and traditions.

Gateway Taiji, Qigong & Yoga, opened in September 2012 as a partner with Ocean Spirit Yoga, celebrates taiji (tai chi), qigong (chee kung) and yoga, exercises that have been practiced by millions of people throughout the world for many centuries. Bill Buckley, the founder and a practicing marital arts and energy expert for more than 20 years, envisioned an atmosphere that is both non-judgmental and supports a fun place for people of all ages to connect with other like-minded seekers.

Ocean Spirit Yoga has deep-rooted connections to the Seacoast, providing a loyal group of yoga practitioners with a style of gentle and mindful yoga for more than 10 years. A partnership of this kind is surely a recipe for success. Having Ocean Spirit as the yoga anchor ensures Gateway has an even more appealing list of offerings.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Could Use Your Help

By sarah | Sep 27, 2013 | in

 Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast is part of the 35 year old organization with the mission of providing children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported relationships with adults that change the children’s lives for the better, forever. On top of this incredible mission, BBBS is working to become more sustainable in every aspect of their organization and are partnered with the Green Alliance to do so.

BBBS is able to do all the amazing things they do by paring adult mentors – “Bigs” – who aim to expand the perspectives of children between 6 through 17 - “Littles” – by encouraging them to aspire to bigger and better possibilities. Volunteer mentors typically say that being a BBBS mentor was one of their most rewarding and enjoyable experiences.

Fundraiser That Helps Support Children Also Promises to be Great Fun

By Herb | Sep 26, 2013 | in

PORTSMOUTH — An “elegantly casual barn party” featuring fabulous food and drink, live music, and silent and live auctions will highlight the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast fall fundraiser, an annual event that benefits children throughout the Seacoast.

“The Big Bash on little bay” will take place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, at 224 Little Bay Road in Newington at a private home with, of course, a barn. This annual fall event directly funds the agency’s mission, which is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

“This is our major fundraising event for the year,” says Alyssa Salmon, BBBSGS development and communications director. “It’s a wonderful thing to see the community really coming together in support, because this is our community. The agency is a vital part of it. The children we serve are our community.”

BBBSGS is a 35-year-old organization serving 39 cities and towns in Rockingham and Strafford counties, with a vision that all children achieve success in life. Adult mentors expand the perspective of children ranging in age from 6 through 17 years old by encouraging them to look beyond their situation to the outside world of possibilities to see that bigger and better things are attainable.

“Most kids can benefit from having a mentor in their lives. Having a positive adult role model in their life is the single most important thing to helping them reach their potential and have success in life,” says BBBSGS Executive Director Stacy Kramer.

For Ron April, path to green about process

By Jim Cavan | Sep 26, 2013 | in

For many, the path to greener pastures is one that can unfurl at any number of speeds – from slow jog to full-blown sprint – even if inspiration can’t be pegged to any singular event.

Ron April, on the other hand, remembers exactly where he was: standing at a gas pump, filling up his SUV with 20-or-so-gallons of premium fuel. As he jockeyed around the pump in an effort to avoid the fumes, April looked around at the myriad other customers standing beside their cars, pumping away.

That’s where it hit him.

“We just sit there and tolerate this mind-bending blend of petroleum and alcohol,” April recalls. “And I remember asking myself: how many people are out there right now doing this exact same thing? Not just how many people were driving and burning fuel, but how many people were standing around pumps like this and breathing this stuff in?”

Two weeks later, April drove to a local Lexus dealership and sprang for one of the company’s brand new, 43-miles-per-gallon hybrids.

“I’d thought about getting a Prius, because a lot of my friends drive them, but… let’s just say it was a bit lacking in aesthetics,” April laughs. “But what I ended up with was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.”

Since then, April says he’s successfully converted at least two others in the real estate industry to the Lexus hybrid. Not bad for someone who, up until recently, never considered himself “much of a green guy.”

Now, he is using his first big eco-conversion as the launching pad for a new, sustainability-driven approach to this business – a journey nearly two decades in the making.

Acorn School hosts Comedy Night at Gaslight

By Tricia | Sep 26, 2013 | in


To purchase tickets for the Acorn School Comedy Night, please contact Tamara at

Learn more about the Acorn School and their celebrated educational programs here!

Five Green Tips from the Green Alliance

By sarah | Sep 26, 2013 | in

This week’s green tips come from Little Green Homes (LGH), a Green Alliance business partner dedicted to enhancing green building design. From utilizing the most efficient room layouts, to providing sustainable techniques and eco-friendly materials, LGH knows how to construct a home to be proud of. Spreading the mantra “bigger is not always better” is at the forefront of the Little Green Homes’ initiative. Learn more about LGH at

1. Avoid building in an environmentally sensitive area.

2. Try to locate your home near or within an existing community to reduce the impact that sewer and water connections have on the land.

3. Allow for access to public transportation and to sidewalks and trails for walking and biking.

4. Minimize site disturbance, control erosion and landscape with native plants that can survive in your growing zone with occasional watering.

Limited Time Offer! $500 of Shawnee Peak Season Passes for College Students

By sarah | Sep 25, 2013 | in

Are you a college student in the New England area who enjoys skiing? Then you'll definitely want to take advantage of an opportunity taking place at Shawnee Peak. Normally, for a student of college age, a season pass would cost $699, but right now, you can get a College Season Pass at Shawnee Peak and ski every day, night, holiday and weekend there for only $199. That comes down to a whopping $500 in savings.

That's not all. If you have a fellow student who enjoys skiing, you can get an additional ticket for a total of $358. This comes to spending $179 per ticket and saving $40, adding savings onto what is already an excellent value.

However, this special won't last forever. You have until October 14th to get your season's pass, so if you, a friend or a loved one is a college student who skis, this is the perfect opportunity to ski all season at an excellent price.

For further deals, Green Alliance Members can save 20% on your lift ticket, save 25% on an appetizer at Blizzard's Pub or save 50% on a rental package! To learn more about the Green Alliance and/or join them, visit their page at