Blog : Green Initiatives

Green Story: Newmarket Dental Sets Green Trends in Unlikely Industry

By Corey | May 19, 2015 | 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. You can read the full certification documents for all of our business partners on their indivdual pages. Check out Newmarket Dental's Green Story below.

Describing how he came to be a “green dentist,” Dr. Nathan Swanson’s analogy is, for a lack of a better term, quite cinematic: “I started noticing how much garbage was piling up in the back of the medical complex just between a few offices,” Swanson explains. “And then I multiplied that out by the fact that there are 5 similar complexes in the city of Exeter alone. Then I multiplied that out by how many there were in the state, the country, the world. Basically it was like one of those scenes in the movie where the camera pans out Google Earth-style super far and you recognize and appreciate the true scope of the scene.”

Meet a Green Alliance Business: New Hampshire the Beautiful

By Corey | May 19, 2015 | in

What: Composed of a team of grocers and beverage companies, New Hampshire the Beautiful (NHtB) came together to expand recycling efforts across the state. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit has poured millions of dollars into helping towns and cities clean up litter and expand their recycling programs, and has made landmark achievements in making New Hampshire more environmentally friendly.

For small towns, the biggest hindrance to a successful recycling program is the lack of startup money. NHtB organizes fundraising efforts to cover startup costs for materials such as plastic recycling bins, cardboard balers, glass crushers, storage containers, and just about anything else a town might need to start its recycling program.

In addition, NHtB's popular "Blue Bag" program provides plastic bags to towns and nonprofit groups to organize town and highway litter cleanup efforts. NHtB will also design, build and install signs at transfer stations to help residents sort their recycling.

NHtB recently began a collaboration with the Northeast Resource Recovery Association, an organization that provides networking and educational opportunities about recycling and sustainability, to further their outreach. NHtB is supported by members of the N.H. Soft Drink Association, the Beverage Distributors of New Hampshire Association and the New Hampshire Grocers Association.

Sustainability Success for NHBSR

By Corey | May 7, 2015 | in

Tammy Jordan of The Employee Engagement Group (credit: Annie Card Creative Services)The New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) brought together over 200 people representing 115 companies and organizations to learn new sustainable business best practices, address stakeholder engagement and discuss their opportunities and challenges. As the number of businesses is ever growing, business owners are discovering the integral link between social responsibility and the bottom line. NHBSR is the business organization driving the social responsibility agenda in New Hampshire.

Their "Think Bigger and Dig Deeper" event featured a combination of expert panels on Energy Efficiency, Metrics to Marketing, Culture and Community Connections allowing participants to "Think Bigger" and facilitated Huddle Up sessions to "Dig Deeper". The panels were lauded for their truth in sharing challenges and discussing opportunities at a feasible level. 

Spray Foam Insulation Offers a Reputable Career

By Sam | May 4, 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.

Student apartments save, in more ways than one, with geothermal

By Ken | May 4, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

From the outside, the Rivers Edge Apartments, an off-campus student apartment building located on Main Street in downtown Durham, looks like other similar residences. However, the apartment building, on the north west side of the University of New Hampshire's campus is vastly different from other student apartments; Rivers Edge Apartments was the first campus building, and in Durham, to utilizes geothermal system technology for heating and cooling. It's an alternative energy source that provides the familiar comfort of traditional heating and cooling systems, according to Melissa Aho, president of Ultra Geothermal, Inc.

“Geothermal heating and cooling systems – also called geoexchange or ground-source heat pumps – provide all-season comfort by tapping the energy that is naturally stored in the earth,” Aho said. “This energy isn't just renewable: it's constant. Conventional furnaces burn fossil fuels, depleting precious resources and polluting the air. A geothermal system draws the earth's natural warmth into the home, through the use of a geothermal ground source heat pump.”

WIN a Green Alliance Membership at Kittery Community Market

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 30, 2015 | in

The Green Alliance has partnered with Kittery Community Market to give away a Classic or Family Green Alliance Membership every week from June 7th through October 4th, 2015, meaning that there will be a total of 18 memberships given!

All you have to do to enter to win is attend the market any Sunday between 10:00 a.m. to 2p.m. and register at the KCM booth. 

This membership is valued at $35 per year and with your Green Card or Green Families Club Membership, you can get great discounts at participating local, sustainable businesses.

For a list of Green Alliance Business partners, click here.

For more information about the Kittery Community Market, click here.

My PDF Forms from SnAPPii

By Mike | Apr 30, 2015 | in


Green Alliance members save 20% on Snappii development fees! Not a member? Join here!

Green Collar Careers: Progressive Asset Management Investment Adviser Mike Smith

By Ken | Apr 29, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy once said that, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better." These words ring true at Progressive Asset Management Group (PAM Group) the socially responsible investment division of Financial West Group, a company working to make a difference through socially responsible investing. For many, the idea of being sustainable is limited to recycling, using biofuel for home heating, buying an eco-friendly vehicle and participating in environmental events, like neighborhood clean-ups. But few people know that they can also go green by making their investments (IRAs, individual accounts, 401Ks etc.), socially and environmentally responsible as well through a firm like the PAM Group.

One of the PAM Group's core beliefs is that companies which don't follow socially and environmentally responsible practices have a greater overall potential for liabilities and hidden costs which are eventually passed on to their investors. But companies which manage pollution, which have an eye towards being energy efficient, which treat their employees well, are better managed than those which don’t address these factors. And better managed companies in turn tend to outperform.

Jeff Hiatt: A Bottom Line Approach to Sustainability

By Corey | Apr 28, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

For Jeff Hiatt, environmental stewardship is as simple as helping businesses, both big and small, stabilize their energy expenses.

Since 1995, Hiatt, founder of Performance Business Solutions in Hampton Falls, estimates he has helped hundreds of clients save millions of dollars through the firm’s multi-phase consulting approach. His time-tested analysis formula matches rigorous expense reviews and energy efficiency programs that can add to a company’s bottom line.

“I enjoy the dual positive of making an impact on the environment and the economy,” Hiatt said. “By implementing green solutions and green tools, my clients will use less energy and that helps their bottom line. It helps sustain the future of the company.”

New Hampshire is not the most robust state for green energy projects, especially when compared to its neighbors. Hiatt said New Hampshire's solar programs leave little to be desired with fewer tax incentives.

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. 

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.

Local Businesses Keeps Green as it Grows

By Mike | Apr 15, 2015 | in

By Mike Bizier

PORTSMOUTH - John O'Brien's cleaning company is more than just green in its name, from the products its employees use down to their uniforms, O'Brien has ensured his company is true to its name. Six years after it opened, Green Maids starts the next chapter in its history as it expands into a new location at Regeneration Park in Portsmouth.

Outfitted with uniforms made from organic material, the most environmentally safe cleaning products and equipment available, and a Toyota Prius for travel, Green Maids puts sustainability into every aspect and every decision of its business. Their new location reflects those same strict sustainability initiatives.

In late January, Green Maids moved into Regeneration Park. Formerly a Toyota dealership, the renovated building at 3612 Lafayette Road provides office space for six other eco-focused businesses, and is environmentally friendly itself. The building boasts numerous sustainable initiatives like motion sensor lighting to reduce energy usage, solar panels, a robust composting program, and an advanced rainwater filtration and purification system.

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Hayseed Restaurant

By Corey | Apr 14, 2015 | in

Who: Hayseed Restaurant

What: Since first purchasing the Towle Farm property for its new facility in Hampton, Smuttynose Brewing Company always planned to have a restaurant on campus. That plan became a reality in 2015 with the opening of Hayseed Restaurant. Two of the farm’s original structures, an 18th Century barn and a Victorian farmhouse, remain intact. The latter of which was moved 85 yards across the property and renovated to accommodate the restaurant. Renovations to Hayseed were done to improve sustainability while preserving the house’s organic character. The red oak wood used for the tables and bar was milled from trees on the brewery’s farm during its construction. Hayseed is also outfitted with energy recovery ventilators that supply fresh air for the interior of the building and recover thermal energy from the conditioned, exhaust air system. There is also a condensing, gas-fired water heater on-site to provide domestic hot water quickly. And the system can store the water for long periods of time without losing temperature, operating at a thermal efficiency greater than 90 percent. And when it comes to the menu, Hayseed's food is sourced from local farms and fisheries whenever possible with some of its produce grown on-site. All food scraps are composted and plastic, glass and cardboard materials are recycled using a single stream system. Hayseed also offers compostable to-go containers, which are delivered through Favorite Foods, a sustainable restaurant supply company. Hayseed also offers compostable to-go bags and cups.

Green Collar Careers: Green Alliance Director, Sarah Brown

By Ken | Apr 8, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

Efforts to become a more green and sustainable culture proliferate the news these days, but often that information is lost amongst the headlines. Though political coverage of climate change and rampant ecological disasters make the front page, seldom were stories about companies incorporating greener business practices given top-billing. Sarah Brown noticed this lack of attention in the media and decided that it had to change if communities were going to become more sustainable. In response, Brown established the Green Alliance, an environmentally-conscious business union, that raises the awareness of sustainably-minded businesses and helps connect them with green-minded consumers.

“We decided from day one that we wanted an outlet for people, whether they were business owners or consumers, to put their money where their values were,” Brown said. “And we wanted people to realize that going green didn’t have to mean going broke; that going green could actually save you a little of it too and for businesses it could increase their profits.”

Brown, who has worked for CNN at the New York bureau, NBC as a Moscow bureau assignment desk editor, and for Associated Press TV as a Moscow bureau producer, started The Green Alliance in the living room of her Kittery, Maine, home in 2009. When it started, The Green Alliance had two Business Partners, Simply Green Biofuels and Purely Organic Lawn Care. Now, the Green Alliance, headquartered in Portsmouth's historic Franklin Block Building, boasts upward of 100 Business Partners and nearly 4,000 individual community members.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival Inspires and Unites Green Businesses

By Mike | Apr 1, 2015 | in

PORTSMOUTH - Since 2003, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival has informed audiences of current environmental issues. As the largest environmental film festival in North America, it is Wild and Scenic's mission to spark conversation throughout the country to discover resolutions of these issues.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival isn’t just restricted to one location however. In just a three month application process, Wild and Scenic On Tour can bring the festival to local communities throughout the country.

In the seacoast of New Hampshire, the festival will be held on Friday, April 24 at the Music Hall Historic Theater in Portsmouth at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $16 at the Music Hall Box Office, with an extra $5 for online purchases. About 500 attendees are expected, and there will also be a free raffle with donated prizes from local businesses.

For the past four years, the Southeast Land Trust (SELT) has brought the festival to Portsmouth. The group was founded back in 1980 as a nonprofit conservation organization determined to protect the outdoors for future generations. SELT serves 55 communities in southeastern New Hampshire and has over 13,000 acres of land in conservation in Rockingham and Strafford Counties.

Favorite Foods: Family Success that Includes Sustainability

By Mike | Apr 1, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

Chris Barstow has a philosophy that has served his company Favorite Foods well for more than a quarter century. “If we help our customers do more business and become more profitable, then we will reap the benefits.”

Barstow is the president and chief executive of Favorite Foods, the Somersworth-based restaurant supply company that has carved a profitable niche in a highly competitive industry that includes giants such as Sysco, US Foods and Performance Food Group.

Barstow admits to not seeking individual recognition and says credit goes to the 53-employee team. The $37.5 million annual revenue firm provides supplies to local, independent restaurants as well as some state prisons, military installations, private schools and food manufacturers.

Favorite Foods also has an entrepreneurial backstory worthy of an academic case study. Barstow, a Pennsylvania native, was working in Silicon Valley as a high-tech distributor for Texas Instruments when his brother, Jeff, founded the company. When he came for a Maine vacation to visit his brother he was already at a career crossroads.

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Integrated Fitness of Dover

By Sarah Mahoney | Mar 30, 2015 | in

What: Owner, Jonathan Arnold took a financial risk when he started Integrated Fitness, a private fitness facility providing personal training and group exercise classes, in 2010. His goal was to help others take control of their health and lead a more sustainable lifestyle, by providing a comfortable atmosphere focused on whole-body wellness. During Integrated Fitness's first year, Arnold booked 20 to 30 client hours. Today, Integrated Fitness has seven instructors running 110 client hours each week.

The facility's popular Weight Loss Challenge classes, which are designed for beginners as well as for those preparing for fitness competitions, has helped clients lose a collective 4,000 lbs since Integrated Fitness's inception. Arnold believes that weight loss can be achieved naturally without the need for surgery. Additionally, Integrated Fitness has won four different team awards from fitness competitions in powerlifting and bodybuilding.

Eversource Sells PSNH Power Plants and Steps Toward Clean Energy

By Corey | Mar 26, 2015 | in

Eversource Energy, which recently bought-out Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), will sell the former company's power plants throughout the state. Through this agreement, Eversource agrees to sell PSNH's hydro facilities and fossil fuel plants including the Merrimack Station in Bow, the Newington Station in Newington, and the Schiller Station in Portsmouth. By selling these plants, customers are no longer expected to be responsible for paying the continued operation of the plants and the costly investments to meet environmental standards. Customers will also no longer pay the existing regulated rate of return on plants.

Closing the plants, which contain mercury and burn fossil-fuels, has long been the goal of environmentalists throughout the state.

Susan Chamberlin, the Consumer Advocate for the Office of the Consumer Advocate in New Hampshire, stated that the agree “provides significant savings for residential taxpayers and resolves outstanding disputes without protracted litigation."

However, according to a report by NHPR, if the sale price for the plants is too low, it could cause their assessed value to drop significantly, causing a large amount of loss of tax revenue in Bow and Portsmouth.

The sale agreement includes a protection plan for the 280 unionized employees, non-represented affected employees and towns in which the plants are located. Buyers must also agree to keep the plant in service for at least 18 months following the purchase and honor existing Collective Bargaining Agreements.