Blog : January 2014

Get Involved with CLF's Clean Water Advocate Program

By Madelaine | Jan 6, 2014 | in

The Conservation Law Foundation is a partner of The Green Alliance, which works to protect New England's Environment. It has been promoting healthy communities and a clean environment since 1966. The CLF is currently seeking volunteers to be "Clean Water Advocates" for the Great Bay. Volunteer activism is important to maintaining a clean and beautiful Great Bay. There are many opportunities for people in the Seacoast and Southern Maine area to get involved and provide a voice for our estuary. Making a difference for our environment can be as simple as:

- Participating in important local votes for clean water.

- Contacting your legislators as needed.

- Phoning friends.

- Attending periodic Clean Water Advocates meetings to learn more about the issues facing the Great Bay Estuary and to meet others who care about its future.

In an Industry Where Waste is Rampant, Vector5 a Green Beacon

By Jim Cavan | Jan 6, 2014 | in

Walk into any large trade show or expo, and the thought is liable to cross your mind: Once the party’s over, what happens to all this stuff?

It’s a question the folks at Vector5, which recently completed an official “sustainability evaluation,” are working hard to address.

Launched in 2006 by four Massachusetts entrepreneurs – who between them touted more than five decades of combined experience – the Fitchburg-based Vector5 stands today as the Bay State’s premier tradeshow display company, providing materials and strategic consulting across industries and sectors.

From marketing and graphic design to building services and production capabilities, Vector5 suite of skills combines industry expertise with a distinct, customer-driven approach.

But while a successful tradeshow display can often mean the difference between bustling crowds and traffic passing by, one side effect in particular had proven vexing for Vector5 and others in what Founder Buddy Miller describes as “a pretty wasteful industry”: A lot of superfluous materials.

“It’s been the elephant in the room for our industry for a while now,” says Miller. “So we decided a few years ago to start exploring and pursuing ways to mitigate that as best we could.”

In 2012, Vector5 joined Green Alliance (GA), a Portsmouth, New Hampshire based company that certifies and promotes sustainability-minded businesses, while connecting them to the region’s ever-growing green consumer base.

Our Town Energy Alliance Joins the GA!

By Jim Cavan | Jan 6, 2014 | in

Guided by a commitment to helping New Englanders save money while reducing their environmental footprint, Our Town Energy Alliance has grown from a small contingent of 75 members to a vibrant organization of roughly 10,000 in a little over a decade.

Launched in 1999 by Dan and Cate Barraford – just as worldwide oil prices were beginning their steady upward spike – Our Town Energy Alliance started off as a cooperative for seniors and families looking to save money on home heating oil, propane, and kerosene.

Since then, the organization has grown not only in membership, but range of services as well, many now managed by Elliot Barraford who joined the company in 2012. From researching pricing plans to find you optimal savings to offering a range of products designed to maximize your energy efficiency, the folks at Our Town Energy Alliance provide a trusted third party voice in what can be a complex and confusing industry.

By partnering with Utility Choice Savings – a licensed New Hampshire energy Broker Aggregator – Our Town Energy Alliance launched Our Town Electricity to purchase their electricity through the New England Power Pool, which accepts electricity generated by wind, Bio-Mass and Hydro, helping their members reduce their carbon footprint. Compare that to electricity generated from PSNH, a vast majority of which is derived from coal. Our Town Electricity also provides to Liberty and Unitil utility areas as well...

Click here to learn more about Our Town Energy Alliance!

Frugal Consumers Opt to Harness Earth’s Warmth to Heat (and Cool) Their Homes

By Herb | Jan 6, 2014 | in

BARRINGTON, N.H. — Although the technology is more expensive up front, geothermal energy’s down-the-road savings are practically unrivaled.

Depending on local geologic conditions, however, one method of harnessing geothermal energy can prove superior to the other, and that’s where Barrington-based Ultra Geothermal has made its mark.

Studies have showed geothermal energy to be four to five times as efficient as standard heating oil, making it one of the most long-term cost-efficient energy solutions anywhere. Adding to this outstanding efficiency, geothermal systems may save a homeowner 60 to 70 percent in heating costs, and 70 to 80 percent in cooling costs. When federal-sponsored tax incentives and interest-free loans are added to the mix, many price- and sustainability-conscious consumers opt for a geothermal system.

Geothermal heat pumps have been in use since the late 1940s, according to They use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300 to 600 percent) on the coldest winter nights, compared to 175 to 250 percent for air-source heat pumps on cool days.

There are four basic types of ground loop systems. Three of these — horizontal, vertical, and pond/lake — are closed-loop systems. The fourth type of system is the open-loop option. Which one of these is best depends on the climate, soil conditions, available land, and local installation costs at the site.

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Seeks to Personalize Insurance Plans

By Sam | Jan 3, 2014 | in

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance owner Jon Merwin puts the individual insurance buyer at the top of his list. That's why when he was reviewing Sarah Brown's auto and home insurance, Merwin suggested that she move from Tower Group Companies to Hanover Insurance Group, saving her $24 a year on her premiums. It may seem like a small amount, but Merwin's personal willingness to go the extra mile for his clients is what keeps them happy.

“Jon found another company for me that offered the same thing for less money, without me asking,” said Brown, owner and director of The Green Alliance. “This is the type of insurance agent that everyone needs.”

Merwin is dedicated to saving the most money possible for his clients, simply because he believes the fine details and personal touch is what makes his business unique. Brown agrees, saying that big-box insurance companies don't offer the same level of personalization or transparency with their policies.

Favorite Foods Named the 2013 New England Food Service Distributor of the Year

By Herb | Jan 2, 2014 | in

SOMERSWORTH — Favorite Foods was named the 2013 New England Food Service Distributor of the Year by the Griffin Report of Food Marketing, a respected and acknowledged “voice” of the food industry in the Northeast. Celebrating 26 years in business this year, Favorite Foods was selected by Griffin due to its unwavering dedication to independent restaurants and innovative methodologies as a premier independent food distributer.

Chris Barstow, president and owner of Favorite Foods, is proud of all Favorite Foods has accomplished over the years. “Twenty-six years ago, our goal was to get the right product to the right locations at the right time,” said Barstow. “Now, that’s just an entry fee. We understand that what differentiates us from our competition is the support we offer our restaurant customers before and after the product is delivered. We always have and will continue to be driven by customer needs and a deep desire to see these restaurants succeed and achieve their goals.”

Serving as the only independent family-owned broadline foodservice distributor in New Hampshire, Favorite Foods strives to provide the best products and services to independent restaurants and production facilities in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Its pro-independent philosophy, innovative customer-driven marketing programs, and ongoing initiatives to ensure the company is functioning responsibly from an environmental perspective, make Favorite Foods a great food service partner.

Launched by brothers Chris and Jeff Barstow in 1978 with little more than “a van and a plan,” Favorite Foods offers everything from smallwares, paper products and cleaning chemicals to dry groceries, meats, dairy products, and frozen goods. Additionally, the company provides comprehensive consultation on everything from restaurant and menu design to customer tastes, costing, and business development strategies.

Favorite Foods is a Business Partner of the Green Alliance, a union of local sustainable businesses promoting environmentally sound business practices and a green co-op offering discounted green products and services to its members.