Blog : July 2014

Sail Away with Green Alliance and the Gundalow Company This Summer

By Amanda | Jul 16, 2014 | in

The Green Alliance and the Gundalow Company are teaming up this summer to get Seacoast area residents out on the Piscataqua River. Become a member of the Green Alliance (for only $35) and get a free ticket aboard one of the Gundalow Company’s sails! With sail tickets valued up to $40, there is no better time to join the Green Alliance Community! The membership pays for itself instantly!

The Green Alliance and the Gundalow Company will also be giving away two tickets weekly all summer long. Thursday, July 17 the Green Alliance will put up a trivia question that can be found on the GA facebook page. Simply comment on the post with the answer you think is correct! We will choose one winner at random.

The Gundalow Company is a business partner of the Green Alliance, working to bring sustainability to the Seacoast Area. This non-profit strives to connect community members with the historic icon of river commerce, while simultaneously working to encourage a sense of environmental stewardship for the region’s waterways.

Join the Gundalow Company wednesday evenings this summer for a unique discussion series on Contemporary Coastal Issues of the region. These discussions feature expert guest speakers from the area focusing on current maritime issues. These interesting and educational discussions are a great way to spend an evening and break up the work-week. Special low price of $15, thanks to support from the New Hampshire Coastal Program and RBC Wealth Management. Tickets also include a $5 coupon for the Portsmouth Brewery to have a beer and continue the discussion! Smuttynose along with the Portsmouth Brewery are friends and sponsors of the Gundalow Company, as well as business partners of the Green Alliance.

Kennebunk Savings a Community Beacon

By Kelly | Jul 16, 2014 | in

Founded in 1871, Kennebunk Savings is an independent, mutually owned savings bank that sets itself apart from its short-term focused, stockholder peers by preserving its fiscal responsibility as a business to benefit the community over the long term. Today, the company boasts 16 banking offices that serve individuals and businesses in York County Maine and Seacoast New Hampshire. Its newest branch opened in Hampton in May 2013 and is its third location in New Hampshire.

Kennebunk Savings offers a complete suite of financial services, including insurance and investment products, for personal and commercial customers alike. And while they offer products and services similar to any big bank, they are very much the same community-oriented company as it was when it started. Kennebunk Savings’ “Community Promise” is to donate 10 percent of their annual profits to local nonprofit organizations, resulting in over $7.5 million in donations since 1994 and helping upwards of 350 organizations every year. In 2012 alone, 8,500 volunteer hours were given back to the community by employees who shared their time and talent.

Engage or Divest?

By Sam | Jul 16, 2014 | in

By Michael McCord
Green Alliance Correspondent

NEWMARKET – One of the hottest, ongoing debates in the Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) community is one that gets to the heart of the ecological dilemma of our times – should investors divest from or engage with fossil-fuel dominant energy companies?

Mike Smith, the Newmarket-based representative for the Progressive Asset Management Group, the socially responsible investment division of Financial West Group, said the debate was sparked in 2008 when renowned environmental activist Bill McKibbon led a movement to divest from the 200 top energy companies. Since then major SRI mutual funds have taken strong positions on whether total divestment or more engagement (or a mixture of both) with these companies is the proper strategy.

Ridgeview Construction Spreads its Roots in the Lakes Region

By Craig | Jul 16, 2014 | in

Ridgeview Construction doesn't just build homes, they build a sustainable peace of mind. With projects throughout New Hampshire and New England, owner Shane Carter offers quantity without sacrificing quality.

The Deerfield-based company has done extensive work throughout the Lake's Region already with builds in Gilmanton, Wolfeboro and Ashland. But Ridgeview's next big project in the area is a build off Squam River Landing in Ashland.

"That's a great community and we're really proud to be a preferred builder on that project," said Carter.

All homes at Squam River Landing will be built Energy Star compliant and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and National Association of Home Builders Green eligible. Each home will feature appliances that conserve water and energy use. The homes are designed to be affordable as other, expensive lakefront builds, many secondary homes for wealthy buyers, have priced-out large portions of the local community.

In an era where home-building has become an industry just like any other – profit-driven, factory-like, cost-effective - Ridgeview’s approach calls back to a time when quality, honesty, and teamwork were the mantras.

According to Carter, working with a like-minded crew to complete a home from start to finish breeds a sense of accountability. For the Squam River Landing project, Carter is excited by the team that came together to develop the site, especially Barry Gaw, the founding member of Sippican Partners, LLC and a LEED AP.

"We collaborate on the same frequency as far as I'm concerned," said Carter of Gaw. "He's great and really knows his stuff that way."

“You’ll see a lot of job sites where one crew left it a complete disaster for the next crew, and that kind of mentality just isn’t conducive to building a quality home and doing it with care,” he added.

Two Green Innovators Cooperate for a Greener New England

By Emily | Jul 16, 2014 | in

By Heikki (Herb) Perry

The collaboration of two eco-minded firms has helped each to profit while also advancing the cause of environmentalism.

RAM Printing was one of the earliest Business Partners and a sustainability leader in the the Green Alliance when the green business union and consumer co-op was first formed in 2009. The Green Alliance works to grow businesses that demonstrate environmental and social responsibility while building a community of consumers who will patronize those businesses.

RAM Printing has been following sustainable printing practices since 1989, well in advance of the current green trend. As “early adopters,” RAM set the standard in New England, and nationally, for the greening of the print industry, on the cutting edge of creating a product and service that was different from anything else on the market. It has strived to provide the consumer with a better product, while minimizing its footprint and succeeding financially.

“New materials emerge as technology changes,” says RAM account manager John Sobczak. “We continue to invest in those technologies that are environmentally friendly. In most cases, because of technology, recycling and new products, many of the ways of doing business are done at reduced costs, which we pass on to the consumer. It’s a win-win for the customer, a win-win for RAM, and a win-win for the environment.”

Community Toolbox's New August Hours

By Clay | Jul 15, 2014 | in

Community Toolbox, a Portsmouth non-profit who strives to build a safe and healthy homes for everyone, has new hours starting this August. Their current, regular hours will remain the same, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Starting on August 6, through the remainder of the month, Community Toolbox will remain open until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Community Toolbox operates under the belief that homeowners shouldn't be forced to choose between paying for home repairs, buying groceries or paying their mortgage. This mindset is why Community Toolbox has started their Fix-It Program along with their two other supporting programs, the Retail Outlet and their Deconstruction Service. Together these three programs aim to improve and the living conditions for people struggling in the community.

At the core of Community Toolbox is their Fix-It Program - a volunteer based service that provides qualifying residents within 30 minutes of Portsmouth the necessary repairs for their homes. Each job is done correctly and up to code including; grab bar installation, small electrical jobs, accessibility fixes and more.

The Retail Outlet funds Community Toolbox's Fix-It and DeConstruction programs. Open to the public, the Retail Outlet allows individuals to purchase new or reclaimed building materials such as cabinets, doors, windows, tile, appliances and welcome donations from contractors and individuals.

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Cultural Chemistry

By Clay | Jul 15, 2014 | in

Who: Cultural Chemistry

What: For Cultural Chemistry it’s all about efficiency. Mirjam IJtsma, launched Cultural Chemistry in 2011 with the desire to help businesses run a more positive and dynamic work place. Part of Cultural Chemistry’s success depends on its sustainable in-office environment as well as passion for working to help the natural environment.

Originally from the Netherlands, where environmental responsibility is a crucial community pillar, IJtsma brings her country’s environmental concerns to the work place, educating both her employees and her clients on the value of executing a sustainable company culture. This includes not wasting resources, building green teams and integrating sustainability and responsible practices to make a company more successful, resourceful and more desirable to work for.

IJtsma’s unique services mimic what a traditional human resources department might be tasked with, but a fraction of the cost. The result is an affordable, unique, dynamic look into your company’s most complex inner workings, and the strategies and solutions that can help take it to the next level.

Green Alliance, Ultra Geothermal Giant Yard Sale!

By Amanda | Jul 15, 2014 | in

The Green Alliance is so much more than you may be aware of. Not only do we represent an avenue for green-minded citizens to get great discounts at 115 local, sustainable businesses, we are also event planners, (perhaps you heard about our sold-out cruise last week that very well may have been the party of the summer?!). We are also deeply devoted to charitable giving. There are so many reasons to become a member of the GA!

On Saturday, July 26 from 9-4, the GA is teaming up with Ultra Geothermal and Get it Going to organize a charity event very close to our hearts. Melissa Aho, owner of Ultra Geothermal, is hosting a yard sale July 26 to raise money to help with medical bills following her brother's diagnosis of Leukemia. The yard sale will be held at Ultra Geothermal Headquarters; 358 Route 4, Barrington (just off the Lee traffic circle). You can learn more about Travis Aho here.

We recognize that our community is greater than just green-minded individuals... it's families, friends, and people looking to help one another; like our collaborative yard sale July 26. We hope you'll both attend the yard sale, and take the plunge to become a card carrying Green Alliance member, if you have not already done so.

Site Structure Landscape's Green Story

By Clay | Jul 15, 2014 | in

Every Green Alliance business undergoes a Sustainability Certification. This certification serves to show everyone what each business has accomplished and what they are still working to accomplish when it comes to green business practices. The final part of the evaluation is the Green Story. Check out Site Structure Landscape’s Green Story Below.

Site Structures Landscape, Inc. Bringing “Green” Back to Landscaping

Site Structures Landscape, Inc. offers customers a winning combination of innovative lawn care, honest work, and green alternatives in an industry known for harmful use of pesticides and chemicals. Owner Charlie Bourdages launched the Eliot, ME company in 1996. Since then, he and his team have found a myriad of ways to incorporate sustainability into their landscaping (lawns, gardens, etc.) and hardscaping (stone, pavement, and brick) practices. New clients meet with project managers Ben Woods and Curt Rose to discuss their "green” options. According to Nicole Tracy, the office manager of Site Structures, their commitment to sustainability came about naturally. “It’s simple; we live here,” she explains. “We want to be responsible members of our community. By treating our planet well, we’re helping both the environment and the people in the communities we serve. It’s the backbone of what we do.”

Site Structures has found many creative ways to make their business practices more sustainable. They are huge proponents of chemical free lawn care, and promote their environmentally friendly services in their pamphlets and monthly email blasts. Site Structures is also a member of Seacoast Buy Local. Whenever possible, they source their building and lawn care materials locally, supporting our New England economies and decreasing their carbon footprint. They also purchase their business cards and uniforms from local vendors.

At their home base in Eliot, Site Structures has made special efforts to go green. Recycling is complete and thorough, and the Site Structures team is diligent with their water conservation efforts. Much of their office furniture has been reused, and some of the desks are repurposed doors. Their CFL lights and efficient heating systems are on timers, which aid in energy conservation. Printing is minimal in the Site Structures office, but when they do print, they use their Energy Star printers and copiers.

Green Alliance Continues Artist in Residency Program with Photographer Lenka Flaherty

By Amanda | Jul 15, 2014 | in

The Green Alliance offices in historic downtown Portsmouth host their fifth artist, Lenka Flaherty, as part of Green Alliance’s Artist and Residency program. Flaherty, a gifted photographer, said she finds her inspiration in the natural environment. She describes finding her enthusiasm for photography as she traveled throughout Europe with her parents as a young child.

“I used to love to watch my parents take pictures, and would love when I got to push the buttons myself,” she said.

Today Flaherty does much more than push buttons on a camera, her talent as well as her passion for photography is evident in her work.

Raised in the Czech Republic where she earned her Masters degree in Environmental Engineering, Flaherty moved to the United States in 2003. She pursued her passion for photography by continuing her education at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester. Although Flaherty never received a degree in photography, it is not an accurate reflection on her natural skill and eye for photography, which is evidenced by her work.

As friends and family took notice of Flaherty's breath-taking work they started asking her to do portraits of their children and hired her for weddings. Flaherty, modest in her success and talent, at first declined. It was her impression she would look unprofessional without a degree in the medium. However Flaherty's opinion changed as she started to work for friend's weddings and she was able to build a portfolio and market herself as a professional photographer. Flaherty soon realized the joy of wedding photography.

“I love it, I love everything about it, it's such a happy day and special event for everyone involved,” she said.

Harbor Eyecare Center's Green Story

By Clay | Jul 14, 2014 | in

Every Green Alliance business undergoes a Sustainability Certification. This certification serves to show everyone what each business has accomplished and what they are still working to accomplish when it comes to green business practices. The final part of the evaluation is the Green Story. Check out Harbor Eyecare Center’s Green Story Below.

Harbor Eyecare Center Has an Eye for Sustainability

Vision Source Harbor Eyecare Center has found a way to integrate environmentalism into the optometry industry. Founded in 1998 by Dr. Amy Pruszenski, Harbor Eyecare has grown into a successful practice with three doctors and several full and part time employees. As time went on, both Harbor Eyecare and the environmentalism movement grew. With the addition of Dr. Hudson and the expansion of their practice (both in customers and with a significant remodeling), Harbor Eye Care became interested in finding a way to “go green.” According to Office Manager Debbie Tufts, the choice was simple. “We wanted to take care of the planet, and do our part,” she explains. “We knew that it was becoming a popular movement, and we were excited to find ways be a part of it.”

Harbor Eyecare offers two notable products that combine fashion and sustainability. Modo glasses, frames that are sourced from recycled materials, offer a sustainable alternative to customers interested in the environment. The company plants a tree for every pair that is sold. Modo also features a “Buy a Frame Give a Frame” program that pledges to provide a free pair of spectacles to someone in need for each pair that is sold.

For contact lens wearers, Miru contacts are a green alternative. The contacts are minimally packaged, and the brand strives for a carbon footprint that is 2/3 the size of their competitors. The lack of packaging also translates into savings for customers; Miru contacts can cost up to $20 less than traditionally packaged contacts.

What's For Dinner on Wednesday

By Ali | Jul 14, 2014 | in

“What’s for dinner on Wednesday?” is an ongoing theme at the Rye Farmers Market. Every Wednesday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. you'll find delicious seasonal recipes as well as new and exciting dinner ideas with local, fresh ingredients offered at that day's market. From flowers, fruits, and vegetables to farm fresh poultry and bison the Rye Farmers’ Market has everything you’ll need to serve up dinner not only on Wednesday night but for the rest of the week! All of the farmer's market recipes will be listed on the Rye Farmer's Market Facebook page, or by clicking here.

Leslie Stevens from Goss Farm explains that, "If we can teach people just a little about the importance of eating local food, then we are having the desired impact of raising consciousness about food sources and environmental issues and giving people more control over their food choices." This a common goal of each vedor at the market.

Endless Summer Party Cruise, a night to remember!

By Katie | Jul 14, 2014 | in

We could not have asked for a better night on Thursday! We are so grateful that nearly 300 people from the Green Alliance Community joined us aboard the Thomas Laighton, filling the boat with a beautiful energy, and making the night one we will not soon forget! With the sunset as a perfect backdrop and the sweet sounds of Humble Be, the atmosphere was everything we had hoped for. There was even a proposal onboard! What a special night all the way around. 

Of course, we have so many people to thank for this. First and foremost, our wonderful GA Community, who includes both our individual members and business partners. Of our business partners, we are extremely grateful to the folks of NHPTV for helping to fill the boat, and for bringing a great energy to the table; and Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, for not only providing us with a beautiful cruise but for also providing superior service throughout the night for our guests. 

We are looking forward to many more memorable events!

Lower Your Carbon Footprint the Simple Way

By Ali | Jul 14, 2014 | in

Simply Green is not your average home fueling company, in fact they are far from it. The company was started in Stratham, New Hampshire in 2007 and has sown the seeds of biofuel across the seacoast, providing environmentally-friendly fuel to the community. This summer, they have extended their role in the community even further and are proudly sponsoring Rye Youth Softball and Kittery Little League. As one of the Seacoast’s most iconic symbols of green progress, they offer locally derived 100% recycled vegetable bioheat and biodiesel as an oil and petroleum diesel alternative for your home or car.