Blog : April 2015

The Last Week of April Means the Last Week of Exclusive GA Discounts

By Katelyn | Apr 27, 2015 | in

As the month of April is coming to an end, we don't want you to miss out on these exclusive discounts for Green Alliance members available until the end of the month. Get your home and garden ready for spring and save big with these participating Business Partners!

$20 off an EcoTech Fly Cage
So you’re excited for warm weather, and we don’t want to rain on the parade, but guess what else comes with warm weather? That’s right, flies, and lots of them. Tom Pray of EcoTech Pest Services has a new invention called the Fly Cage. It’s pretty simple, but incredibly powerful; built to resemble a four-legged animal, the cage attracts flies simply by sight – no chemicals whatsoever! It’s great for backyards, barns, fields, anywhere you want to keep pest-free and chemical free.

$10 off a $50 purchase at The Natural Dog
Warm weather also means more time to play with your furry friends! No more hurried laps around the block, it’s time to have some serious fun. Check your garage though – are your chew toys gross and old? Think your pup deserves something new? The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat is offering $10 off a purchase of $50 or more on toys and treats, so everyone’s happy, especially your dog! There are plenty of cat toys to choose from too.

Spray Foam Insulation Offers a Reputable Career

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 27, 2015 | in

Mike Materkowski grew up in Amesbury, Mass. and has lived there for 25 years. He was given an opportunity to try his hand at insulation with Green Cocoon when his brother Jim started the company in 2006; this initial foray has led to a productive and fulfilling career installing spray foam insulation in homes across New England.

Spray foam insulation isn’t your average contractor’s job. It’s hot, sweaty, and takes precision. The installer must work quickly, as insulation is just one of a whole line of fundamental work that must be done before other aspects of construction can move forward.

Mike takes it all in stride.

“Sometimes we have roofers who come in thinking they can handle the heat, and they have a lot of respect for what I do after,” he laughs. “It’s a tough job, but very rewarding.”

Installing spray foam is a crucial element to building a house. Those who work with spray foam work in high heat and on a tight schedule, but knowing that a tightly sealed home can save families money is a motivating factor for employees.

Brave Boat Harbor: Beauty in our Backyard exhibit to open at the Morgan Gallery

By Ken | Apr 24, 2015 | in

The Morgan Gallery at the Kittery Community Center is opening a new exhibit on May8th, Brave Boat Harbor: Beauty in our Backyard.  The exhibit will feature local art, both paintings and photographs, by local artists.  The artwork will celebrate the natural beauty of Brave Boat Harbor, an approximately 740 acre area which includes an oak-pine forest with vernal pools, estuary habitat, salt marshes, and old field upland, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which will contain 14,600 acres (when finished) of forest, shrub lands, salt marshes, and estuaries.  This is an exhibit not to be missed!

On May 8th, an opening reception will be held, that is free to the public, to kick-off the exhibit.  The reception runs from 5 to 7 p.m..  Visitors can also learn about the Brave Boat Headwaters.  Brave Boat Headwaters is a 150 acre nature preserve being established by the Kittery Land Trust, to ensure between Brave Boat Harbor and Bartlett Roads is permanently protected.  The preserve will include historical remnants of early Kittery along with natural habitats for plants and animals as well as protecting clean water and providing outdoor recreation and education.

For more information on Brave Boat Harbor: Beauty in our Backyard visit the Kittery Community Center's website here.

GateWay Celebrates Self Defense and Well-Being on World Taiji Day

By Mike | Apr 23, 2015 | in

By Mike Bizier

The martial art of taiji (pronounced tai-chee) and qigong (pronounced chee-kung) have been practiced for centuries. In Chinese, the word qigong literally translates to “energy work,” a concept that is essential in Taiji. Unlike the hard forms of martial arts, like karate, taiji focuses on using the body’s energy, or qi, to support physical activity. Since 1999, Taiji and Qigong have been celebrated on a global scale as World Taiji Day.

In Portsmouth, GateWay Taiji, Qigong and Yoga will host its own World Taiji Day event this Saturday, April 25 from 8:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. featuring a range of special classes for attendees as well as student demonstrations.

“The basic concept of World Taiji Day is to try and get as many people involved with this as possible,” says Bill Buckley, GateWay’s owner. “It’s kind of like a meditative sit-in. Schools across the country and the world get together and practice on this particular day.”

World Taiji Day will kick off with a YogaQi class at 8 a.m. This intermediate class transitions from yoga to qigong, emphasizing muscle stretching and relaxing to circulate the body’s energy. Guest instructor, Mary Sturtevant will teach a workshop on the beautiful Dancing Bamboo Fan Form at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m., attendees are welcome to a free 45 minute introductory Qigong class. A student-led demonstration of Taiji for Balance follows at 2:45. Finally, an Advanced Taiji demonstration will close the day’s events at 3:15 p.m.

On Tap: Good Food, Good Beer, Good Green Fun

By Craig | Apr 22, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

Set on a historic 14-acre farm, Smuttynose Brewery’s new farmhouse restaurant, Hayseed, energetically enhances the farm style dining experience. And the restaurant, like the new brewing facility, keeps sustainability at the cornerstone of their operation.

“From recycling to buying bio-degradable products, we have a very conservational mind behind all designs and projects,” says Hayseed Executive Chef Kevin Hahn.

In 2013, Smuttynose moved to Towle Farm in Hampton from its original location in Portsmouth. In purchasing the land, Smuttynose inherited the property's aged barn and Victorian-era farmhouse. From the beginning, the Smuttynose team knew they wanted an on-site restaurant and the house met their aesthetic criteria.

“It was perfect for a restaurant and, by creating Hayseed, we were able to save and repurpose a really unique building,” says JT Thompson, Smuttynose’s official Minister of Propaganda.

The farmhouse was completely renovated—with the exception of the character-worn staircase—and showcases local products, like the lumber used liberally around Hayseed’s interior that was milled from red oak trees cut down during construction of the brewery.

“Being an old farmhouse, Hayseed is welcoming with an inviting exterior and a relaxed interior,” says Thompson. “It has a comfortable simplicity—it’s timeless, with no temporal references to 2015, while also being not at all bland.”

Local Company Helps Businesses Go Paperless

By Mike | Apr 22, 2015 | in

By Mike Bizier

Every business has a paper document, or series of forms, based on each of its needs. Annually, businesses spend billions of dollars on paper - along with purchasing costs, businesses put money into printing, postage, copying and storage. With the US consuming nearly 30 percent of the world’s paper, it’s clear that something needs to change.

Rochester-based company SnAPPii creates apps that ease a business's reliance on paper documents for invoicing, project management, and health and safety inspection. With an easy DIY app creation system, and an on-call service for premium accounts, SnAPPii is helping local businesses go paperless. And with the My PDF Form Manager, SnAPPii is able to directly upload existing PDF documents to Apple and Android products without losing valuable information.

“There’s not a business on the planet that doesn’t have a form, and we noticed that the bulk of the time we spent was actually recreating forms they already have,” SnAPPii owner Alex Bakman says. “I kind of looked at that and said, ‘Well, why can’t we use their existing forms?’ If we could do that, then we could go from zero to 60 in three seconds.”

900 Degrees Cleans up Community and Spring Award Season

By Corey | Apr 21, 2015 | in

This Spring, 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza invites its customers to participate in the Earth Day Network's A Billion Acts of Green - the largest environmental service campaign in the world. A Billion Acts of Green inspires and rewards both simple individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability. In 2012, the campaign exceeded their goal of one billion and is now carrying that momentum forward to reach the next billion. People can register any action they are taking to protect the environment on either a small or large scale. The campaign is steadily building commitments to go green from individuals, organizations, governments, and businesses such as 900 Degrees. 

With their use of local, organic ingredients and environmentally-friendly infrastructure, 900 Degrees has become notable for their myriad of sustainable business practices. They have reduced their waste by over 50% since opening, have a comprehensive recycling program, clean with green-certified products, and have rightfully earned the title of "Green Champion" by New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Program. This restaurant believes that each green initiative they pursue, no matter how small, helps preserve our beautiful state for future generations. 

Kennebunk Savings Bank Welcomes Kelly Goodwin as the New Retail Lending Officer

By Katelyn | Apr 21, 2015 | in

With 17 locations throughout seacoast New Hampshire and York County, Maine, Kennebunk Savings Bank continues to grow, hiring Kelly Goodwin as its new Retail Lending Officer. Goodwin will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Kennebunk Savings's Strafford and Rockingham county locations from his office in Dover, New Hampshire. By hiring Goodwin, Kennebunk Savings is confident he will help ensure future growth and success for the local banking institution.

Goodwin joins Kennebunk Savings with nearly 30 years of experience under his belt and was most recently the Vice President of Loan Administration at Portsmouth's Optima Bank & Trust. Additionally, Goodwin has served as a Loan Recovery Officer, Vice President and Operations Officer, and Senior Loan Officer at banking and lending businesses across New England.

Goodwin not only has an extensive history in the banking industry, but also a deep commitment to the community: a value that pairs perfectly with Kennebunk Savings Bank own core values. Over the years, Goodwin has given back to the seacoast community by volunteering with the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Eliot Community Service Department and the local United Way chapter.

Join the GA for Free Tickets to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

By Katelyn | Apr 21, 2015 | in

Earth Day is April 22, but why not celebrate our beautiful planet all month long? To honor the great Earth that we live on, we want you to attend the Wild and Scenic Film Festival and enjoy the variety of short films focused on environmental topics, such as renewable energy, land conservation, and wildlife habitat protection. Join the Green Alliance as a Sustaining Member and you will receive 3 free tickets to the Wild and Scenic Film Festival (a $48 value)!

This year, the film festival will be held at the Portsmouth Music Hall on Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m. Aside from enjoying 13 environmental films, guests will also have the opportunity to win donated prizes from local businesses at the free raffle.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival is the largest environmental film festival in North America and works to bring moving environmental documentaries to communities across the country. The Southeast Land Trust has brought the festival to Portsmouth for the last four years, thanks to help from local sponsors including the Green Alliance, who has been a sponsor for the past three years. Several Green Alliance Business Partners are also sponsoring the event such as Ultra Geothermal, Cornerstone Tree Care, Progressive Asset Management Group, Proulx Oil and Propane, and Be Good Branding.

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Purely Organic Lawncare

By Corey | Apr 21, 2015 | in

Who: Purely Organic Lawncare

What: Though it is a small company, Purely Organic Lawncare, based in Portsmouth, with licenses in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, has the capabilities, and equipment, to maintain both commercial and residential properties and to do so naturally.

The company services all of the New England region's lawn issues: from weeds and crabgrass to ticks, mosquitoes, grubs and snow removal in the winter. Part of Purely Organic's efforts to keep lawns and properties looking their best, is its avoidance of traditional chemicals for yards and gardens. And these products are not just harmful to the plants.

Purely Organic also recognizes the negative effects chemical-based fertilizers have on pets and children. The company's team of professionals works with the natural composition of a homeowners' property, servicing it with liquid and granular fertilizers, an eco-friendly corn gluten product for crabgrass management and Acelepryn, a low toxicity and low environmental impact insecticide for grub control. Purely Organic also offers a hybrid lawn-care solution the blends organic and non-organic treatments for properties with severe damage, implementing this blend until a property reaches its healthy, natural state and can be maintained with organic treatments.

Green Collar Careers: Minute Men Painters co-owner, Sean Sturk

By Ken | Apr 17, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

Sean Sturk has been painting for most of his life. After college, Sturk could've easily pursued a career in business or marketing, putting his degrees to use. Instead he followed the job he'd loved doing as a teen; running paint crews and slowly becoming an expert in the business. He eventually owned and operated a paint store, which included eco-friendly options, furthering his knowledge of products and painting techniques. Then, in 2000, Sturk became co-owner of Minute Men Painters.

Bringing his knowledge of environmentally-friendly paints and supplies, Sturk has helped Minute Men Painters grow to specialize in using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) and VOC-free paints, making them a stand out in an industry that uses chemicals with long-lasting effects on painters and paint suppliers. According to Sturk, he's seen these damaging, toxic effects first-hand.

“[A] co-worker of mine, had no sense of smell and we know that this is a result of years of working with toxic fumes," said Sturk. "We grew the company to take the burden off of ourselves physically but now we have these other options for our employees. As a company we made a conscious decision to decrease the toxicity of our products and learn as much as we could about them.”

Changing the Way We Think About Home Heating

By Mike | Apr 16, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

The wind wails around the outside of the house; a loose shutter rattles against the siding, a chill permeates the insulation. Once more the thermostat is turned up, and the carbon footprint grows. It’s a common routine for homeowners throughout New England. But there are a number of alternative fueling options when it comes to keeping your home warm without causing environmental harm.

Of all the current choices natural gas is perhaps the most efficient and economic, and among New England homeowners it’s growing in popularity. But it’s not always available, and where that’s the case propane offers a viable alternative. Both gases are considered cleaner burning fuels than No.2 and in recent years more and more customers have been converting to gas. But less so this year.

“The problem is that oil delivers more energy per gallon burned than either natural gas or propane,” Guy Marshall, General Manager of Simply Green Biofuels, said. “While gas prices were significantly lower than oil, conversion made sense. But right now the price differential just isn’t there.”

With the drop in oil prices this winter, No.2 oil has become the economic choice. And while those prices have fallen, customers have burned more fuel. “I would say that the average consumer is probably using about five percent more [heating oil] just because of the lower price,” Marshall said.

CCNNE Continues to Make Sustainability a Priority

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 16, 2015 | in

Here in New Hampshire, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE), an independent bottler, ensures they’re doing more than just talking about recycling programs. Through technological modernization of its production lines and a rethinking of how it uses water, the Londonderry Production Center is one of the most sustainable and energy efficient operations. CCNNE’s Londonderry Production Center has won Coca-Cola’s National Quality award 9 times!

Their Dasani plant bottle is made from 30% renewable resources, over 12 million pounds of recycled commodities were sold in 2013, 264 million pounds of cardboard was saved and just under 300,000 oak trees saved by using recycled plastic trays, and have a 93% recycling diversion rate at their manufacturing facility in Londonderry.

Hit the Decks in Portsmouth

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 16, 2015 | in

Spring fever is here! It's that time of year again when all anyone wants to do is spend time outside with friends and family. There's no better way to do this than to enjoy great food, drinks, and shopping at the best businesses in town.

On May 8, the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce will sponsor Hit the Decks, a celebratory day for enjoying dining on decks and al fresco patios throughout the seacoast. 

Restaurants such as 250 Market, British Beer Company, Old Ferry Landing, Ri Ra Irish Pub, Poco's Bow Street Cantina, and many more will be participating in this great day. Poco's decks are a favorite spot amongst local and visitors. As a member of the Green Alliance, Poco's is committed to sustainability. They recycle everything possible including paper, plastic, frying oil, metals, etc. And they compost 100% of their food waste, have installed outdoor motion light sensors to cut down on energy use, and replaced one heating system with an efficient fireplace, and plan to install a new efficient pump system to replace the current, older model. 

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation Beach Cleanup for Earth Day

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 16, 2015 | in

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation will be hosting two beach cleanups on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in celebration of Earth Day. One will be at Hampton Beach. Volunteers should meet at 10:30a.m. at the Blue Ocean Discovery Center, 170 Ocean Blvd, Hampton Beach. 

The other cleanup will be at Pierce Island at 11:00a.m. Volunteers for that cleanup should meet at the swimming pool. All supplies, including bags, non-latex gloves, and data cards will be provided.

Beach cleanups are a way for the public to get involved in keeping the beaches along the Gulf of Maine clean. They rid the shore of litter such as cigarettes, food wrappers, straws, and bottle caps that can be harmful to marine life. Cleanup volunteers record their findings, which allow the organization to learn about long-term trends in pollution and problem areas. Families, small and large groups, and individuals are all welcome to participate.