Blog : Green Initiatives

Contemporary Artistic Collaboration Raises Aesthetics of its Constituent Parts

By Madelaine | Mar 4, 2014 | in

PORTSMOUTH — Coalescing grace of human form with beauty in craftsmanship and expression, two local concerns are synergizing their respective strengths to feature local artistry.

The Drift Gallery now has exhibition space at Zev Yoga.

The idea seemed a suitable fit for both organizations’ principals. A few months ago, Jonas Zev Amberger, owner and teacher of Zev Yoga, contacted Ali Goodwin, the director and curator of Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, with an idea to collaborate. Jonas Zev and his wife Amylyn wanted to take further advantage of Zev’s beautiful studio space. It seemed fitting as the studio in a past life was once an Art Gallery. The partnership brings a new installment each month to Zev’s studio space. Public artist receptions will coincide with Portsmouth’s First Friday Art ‘Round Town gallery walk.

The Power to Choose: Your Options for Electricity

By Madelaine | Mar 4, 2014 | in

“There is confusion about energy supply choices, a lot of headlines about energy markets in the news, and people are wondering if they should switch to a competitive supplier. The answer is that switching makes a lot of sense for many consumers.”

— Christophe Courchesne, Conservation Law Foundation

RYE — Christophe Courchesne of Conservation Law Foundation and Julie Lapham of ENH Power will be making a presentation, “The Power to Choose: Your Options for Electricity” on Thursday March 6th at the Rye Public Library, starting at 6:45 p.m. Sponsored by the Rye Energy Committee, the presentation will aim to help attendees make choices about their energy use and suppliers with information regarding how they can save money and take advantage of new, cleaner options.

Courchesne is an attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. CLF has been working to protect New England’s environment since 1966, using law, science, policymaking and the business market to create innovative solutions to our region’s most pressing environmental challenges.

As part of its work to advance a clean energy future for New Hampshire, CLF helped initiate the EmpowerNH campaign, which is encouraging New Hampshire residents to consider making the switch to a competitive electricity supplier and provides supplier-neutral information resources on consumer options. EmpowerNH partners include environmental groups like CLF and competitive suppliers like ENH Power. The coalition also includes the Seacoast’s own Green Alliance, a green business union and consumer co-op that works to educate businesses and consumers on sustainability, and local renewable energy company ReVision Energy. EmpowerNH believes that choosing a competitive supplier benefits New Hampshire residents, businesses, the state’s economy, and its environment.

Green Collar Careers: Candace Lord, General Manager of Green Cocoon

By Theresa | Mar 3, 2014 | in

Green Cocoon offers eco-friendly and energy efficient insulation products for clients around New England. Launched in 2007, Green Cocoon found a niche in an industry not known for being kind to the environment. By offering innovative insulators such as soy-based spray foam, cellulose and denim, Green Cocoon has gained a loyal following. Their high-performance products offer supreme moisture protection, are long-lasting and have been proven to be safe for people, animals and the environment.

General Manager Candace Lord, 29, started work with Green Cocoon in 2011. Lord is passionate about the work her company does. “I love that we can help people and the environment,” Lord said. “Our products save our clients money by reducing their heating costs, which softens their impact on the planet. It’s a win-win for everyone.” 

Theresa Conn (TC): What do you like most about your job?
Candace Lord (CL): I love meeting people and building relationships with our clients. I also like that every day is so different. I get bored quickly, but luckily my job keeps me on my toes. On any given day, I could be doing accounting in my office, pitching our product over the phone or networking at mixers. I do 50 different things all the time, and I cherish that.


Three Reasons to shop at SENH Habitat for Humanity ReStore

By Madelaine | Feb 25, 2014 | in

Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Newington is a non-profit that sells home improvement materials to benefit Habitat for Humanity. It offers appliances, used building materials, kitchen cabinets, tiles, fixtures, and other items for your home improvement projects. Its items are donated from manufacturers, stores, contractors, and individuals. Here are three good reasons to shop there:

1. Save Money. All items at ReStore are sold at 30% to 80% below retail price. While the prices are unbelievably low, the quality of the products is still top-notch. Since the items come from manufacturers and stores, most have simply been overstocked or discontinued. Some products are even brand new! Its gently used products also adhere to a high quality standard. ReStore’s non-profit status also allows them to offer lower prices than bigger, for-profit department stores.

2. Be Green. Not only can you save money at ReStore, you can reduce your carbon footprint. By purchasing recycled or overstock items, you’re giving a second and useful life to materials that could have ended up in a junkyard or landfill. Additionally, you are also saving the energy and resources used to produce new materials.

3. Support a Good Cause. All of ReStore’s proceeds benefit SENH Habitat for Humanity. This organization works to provide affordable housing to low-income families. To date, Habitat for Humanity has helped build and repair over 800,000 homes and served more than 4 million people around the world, including in your local community. It has been able to accomplish this through offering various volunteer opportunities and opening ReStore locations across the country. By purchasing from your local SENH ReStore, you directly contribute toward building affordable housing in Strafford & Rockingham Counties.

Sustainability Education for Business Leaders

By Madelaine | Feb 25, 2014 | in

The Corporate Sustainability Leadership Program is a three-day boot camp on practical topics of corporate sustainability. It will be held at UNH's LEED-certified Paul College of Business and Economics' Executive Education Center on April 2-4 in Durham. Comprehensive instruction will be given on the “why, what, and how” of social responsibility in your corporation. This program is meant for mid to senior level executives from businesses of all sizes.

Instructors from various areas of expertise will be leading the sessions. The main topics covered will be: Why sustainability matters to business, building a business case for sustainability, and communicating your sustainability message to internal and external stakeholders. Its combination of cutting edge academics, site visits, and team teaching activities will give you skills and knowledge that can greatly benefit your business.

Participants will have the option to complete a capstone project within six months after the program. Capstone projects should be designed to engage peers or provide new approaches to issues faced. Participants will be partnered with mentors who can assist them with the completion of their project.

Green Collar Careers: Laura MacKay, Owner of Acorn Organic Salon

By Theresa | Feb 17, 2014 | in

With locations in Dover and Exeter N.H., Acorn Organic Salon has proven that it’s possible for a beauty salon to “go green.” Laura MacKay, 37, became interested in creating an eco-friendly salon after discovering the negative impact toxic hair products can have on the environment and on our bodies.

“It’s incredible, the amount of chemicals we put on ourselves every day,” said MacKay. “Some of those toxic chemicals are flushed down the drain as well, and end up in the water supply.”

Every product at Acorn is vetted for toxicity and naturalness. Along with only carrying environmentally friendly products, Acorn has found other ways to operate sustainably. The salons feature sustainable cork flooring, energy efficient light fixtures and water conservation measures. Acorn also provides cut hair for mats that naturally soak up oil spills. MacKay has found a niche in the beauty industry, which has not quite caught on to the “green” fad. However, “going green” is now trending along the Seacoast, partly due to the influence of her two salons. Acorn recently moved to share a space in the same building as Dover Naturals, a health food store that makes the perfect sustainable neighbor.

GateWay - Out With the Old, In With the New

By Patrick | Feb 14, 2014 | in

PORTSMOUTH – The centuries-old arts of taiji (tai chi), qigong (chee kung), and yoga are practiced by an ever-increasing number of people. Participants quickly catch on to the benefits they can derive from simply setting aside a portion of the day to relax and enjoy themselves. After only an hour you could leave feeling better, moving more freely, and sensing a deeper energetic connection within. It just may be the best morning investment since the cup of coffee.

Bill Buckley was a strong advocate of these benefits when he opened Gateway Taiji, Qigong and Yoga back in October of 2012. Buckley set out to provide his clientele with a warm and inviting judgment-free atmosphere – and he has delivered. Gateway’s large and sunlit studio, and unusual array of classes encourage people of all ages and skillsets to express themselves freely while exploring something new – or familiar.





NhSolarGarden: A New Green Energy Dynamic for New Hampshire

By Michael | Jan 31, 2014 | in

STRATHAM — How do I get involved?

It’s a question asked by a growing sector of green-energy conscious consumers who want to use locally generated clean energy but can’t put a solar panel or array on their roof or in their backyard.

Andrew Kellar has started an innovative company that provides a distinctly New Hampshire answer to the question. Kellar is the founder of NhSolarGarden and he has high ambitions to transform the solar energy industry throughout the state. The plan is to create a decentralized and entrepreneurial approach that could have a dramatic multiplier impact on local economies, lead to greater land conservation and boost sustainable agriculture.

“The key to supporting a growing infrastructure and distributed solar generation across the state is to use the grid at a local level,” Kellar said.

Complimentary Ski tickets for Pat’s Peak with New GA Sustaining Membership!

By Madelaine | Jan 30, 2014 | in

If you become a new lifetime GA Sustaining Member through Tuesday, February 4th, you will get two complimentary lift tickets courtesy of Pat's Peak, New Hampshire Public Television and the Green Alliance. That's a value of $124, so it's like becoming a lifetime GA member for only $26!

The Green Alliance Sustaining Membership is the ultimate level of support for our local, green economy. For a low one-time fee, members receive lifetime discounts at over 115 green businesses and exclusive Sustaining Member opportunities! And you never have to worry about renewing your membership.

Acorn Organic Salon Photo Tour

By Sam | Jan 27, 2014 | in

If you're walking through downtown Dover and wondering where Acorn Organic Salon went, the answer is: not far! Now located underneath Dover Natural Marketplace, Acorn is the perfect stop for a cut, wash, or color before grocery shopping or a bite to eat.

Organic food nourishes the body without pesticides and chemicals. Why wouldn't you want to give your hair the same love? Stocked with all natural and organic haircare products, Acorn can give you that brand new 'do you wanted without the unhealthy chemicals, so you can feel as good about what you put in your hair as what you put in your body.

Here's a quick virtual tour of Acorn Organic Salon's adorable new spot:

Click for the whole tour!

Winter Pruning Protects Trees Facing New Threats 

By Mary | Jan 24, 2014 | in

Winter is the perfect time to invest in preventative tree care that will help keep trees healthy and green all spring and summer long and reduce the potential for costly winter storm tree damage and even extended power outages.

“Because the leaves are gone, we have an opportunity to clearly see the structure of a tree, and identify what should be removed for its health,” according to Portsmouth arborist Micum Davis of Cornerstone Tree Care. Cornerstone’s Davis is sometimes referred to as the Seacoast’s “tree whisperer”.

“The dormant season is also the best time to trim a tree from a biological standpoint, in large part because harmful fungi are also currently dormant,” he says. 

Winter structural pruning gives trees a head start in realizing their ideal form aesthetically and architecturally.  Ignoring the internal structure of a tree can lead to rubbing wounds, unseen hazards, branch failure, fungi prevalence, and premature tree failure and removal. When a rubbing limb is removed early on, it conveniently allows the tree to focus its resources on expanding those healthy and necessary limbs which contribute to the tree’s overall strength and beauty.  Experienced arborists have an eye for seeing which limbs will cause problems down the road.  A precise nip here and cut there can make a world of difference in the long run.

That kind of preventative care is particularly important today, as climate change, disease, and invasive species combine to pose new threats to local tree species. 

ReVision Energy bolsters Exeter sales staff

By Michael | Jan 24, 2014 | in

EXETER – In a sign of continued strength for the solar energy sector, ReVision Energy has added two sales professionals to its Exeter branch.

The company said the hiring of Jonathan Gregory and Jason Tuttle highlight the rapid growth of the solar installer in New Hampshire. Revision has grown from one representative in 2010 to the current staff of 19 full-time employees working out of a 7,000 square-foot solar showroom and warehouse in Brentwood.

“We are delighted to add Jonathan and Jason to the team,” said Dan Clapp, operations manager of the Exeter Office. “They each bring a wealth of relevant experience and knowledge that will be vital to us as we work to help more homeowners and businesses transition to cost-effective, clean solar energy.”

Starry Brook Natural Medicine in Exeter expands holistic care and insurance coverage options

By Sam | Jan 21, 2014 | in

EXETER - For Starry Brook Natural Medicine, a naturopathic doctor's office in Exeter, NH, there are always options beyond the ordinary for medical treatment. Recently, the business has expanded to include two new practitioners to bring a wider range of holistic healing to the Seacoast.

Starry Brook is a standard family practice. According to H.B. 351 in New Hampshire, naturopathic doctors are classified as primary care providers. The practice takes insurance plans, can prescribe medication, and can diagnose medical conditions. The difference with Starry Brook is its reliance on holistic and natural medicine to provide solutions to medical problems that may not be wholly solved by mainstream medicine. Starry Brook offers everything from acupuncture to hydrotherapy. More recently, it has expanded its services to include Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, and nutritional counseling.

Dr. Robyn Giard, owner of Starry Brook, makes sure that a patient's first visit is thorough enough to accurately assess their overall health, whatever issue might be particularly concerning them and tackle how they would like to improve.

“The average doctor's visit with a corporate practice is seven minutes, which is not nearly enough time to complete a proper diagnosis. At Starry Brook, we take the time necessary to know each and every patient fully,” explains Dr. Giard. “We'll spend an hour with our new patients to really focus on what they're struggling with in order to pinpoint what the cause really is.”

Cheri Valentine is an Emotional Freedom Technique specialist, which is a form of alternative counseling, utilizing healing energy to help her clients discover inner guidance and strength.

GREEN STORY: Gundalow Company Sails Into History

By Jim Cavan | Jan 20, 2014 | in

Every business that joins the GA undergoes a thorough, 20-question Evaluation, complete with Report card and -- as you're seeing here -- a Green Story! Congratulations to the Gundalow Company for being the latest Business Partner to complete the process. As you'll soon see, they did very, very well!

Ever since they first began working on the rivers the Piscataqua Region in the mid 1600’s, gundalows have been thought of as the tractor trailer trucks of their time.

Designed to move along with the tides, these locally unique vessels – essentially flat-bottomed cargo barges up to 70 feet in length – helped to shape the commerce and trade of the entire Seacoast region, transporting goods and people before roads and bridges became viable options.

Founded in 2002, the nonprofit Gundalow Company aims to connect residents of the Seacoast and beyond with this historic icon of river commerce, while instilling a sense of environmental stewardship for the Piscataqua region’s cherished waterways.

In 2011 the organization built a new gundalow – The Piscataqua – as a floating classroom for school and youth groups. They also offer two-hour public sails for up to 42 passengers Memorial Day through the end of October. Their daily river tours – which typically last about 2 hours – depart primarily from Portsmouth and are a great way to experience our rivers. They offer a variety of special sails too such as concerts, lectures, sunset sails, private charters, free trips for kids on Saturday mornings, and even brunch on Sundays.

“The gundalow is an icon for the Portsmouth community that sets it apart from nearby regions,” states Executive Director, Molly Bolster. “This is the only place the gundalows existed quite like this and so it inspires a sense of place for people– different from any other coastal community.”

Click here to read the rest of the Gundalow Company's Green Story and see their score!

Colonial Stoneworks: Granite State of Mind

By Jim Cavan | Jan 20, 2014 | in

Few regional calling cards resonate with more authority than Granite State, that steadfast New Hampshire nickname that serves as much as a reflection of the state’s people as it does the endless bounty of rock beneath them.

During the 19th century, New Hampshire boasted one of the country’s largest – if not the largest – granite industries in the country. Even today, the town of Milford (still known colloquially as “Granite Town”) houses one now-defunct quarry made famous for its part in helping construct the U.S. Treasury Building, whose New Hampshire-borne pillars can still be seen on the back of the ten dollar bill.

But while the granite mining industry has since largely fallen by the wayside, one New Hampshire company is determined to make sure that both narratives – of a people’s resourcefulness, and of a proud state’s namesake – continue to thrive.

Adam Bennett is the owner of Windham-based Colonial Stoneworks, which provides services ranging from simple walkways and stairways to elegant fireplaces. On the surface, the services and skills Bennett offers might not seem that different from others in his field. Rather, it’s how the 28-year-old does it that sets him apart from the pack.

Colonial places a heavy emphasis on reclaimed and recycled materials, many of which are local. In many cases, the project fodder will come right from a client’s back yard – literally.