Blog : Green Tips

A Personal Note from the Green Alliance

By Mike Bellamente | Apr 8, 2016 | in

GA Friends and Members,

First off, thank you for your patience throughout the transition of the Green Alliance. The hiatus was intended as a way to tip our cap to GA founder Sarah Brown, while affording us time to hear from members and businesses on how best to grow our community moving forward.

While our aim is to keep the spirit of the Alliance intact (low-carbon economy, goodwill towards men/women, etc.), there will be some changes that you may not have expected, or that may catch you off guard completely. Heads up!

Rest assured, GA 2.0 will still offer plenty of social events(yes, click it), discounts and compelling content. That said, our primary goal is to make Green Card discounts more accessible to a broader audience. To that end, we are announcing the following changes to our fee structure for individual members:

Emerald Lush, An Organic Approach to Adaptive Lawn Care

By Mike Bellamente | Sep 14, 2016 | in

This article first appeared in the summer 2016 issue of Coastal Home magazine

By Mike Bellamente

When Rye, New Hampshire, resident Ann Parziale first decided to take a chemical-free approach to caring for her lawn, climate change was hardly among the top reasons for doing so.

“We are serious vegetable and flower gardeners, but we had neglected our lawn for many years,” Parziale explains. “It had deteriorated to the point that it was pretty ugly. Also, we had a healthy grub population that turned into Japanese beetles, which proceeded to eat my flowers and some vegetable leaves.”

It was time to call in a professional, but Parziale was loathe to introduce chemicals that would upset the natural ecosystem she and her husband had worked so hard to cultivate in their gardens. “One thing I’ve learned over the years is that nothing exists in isolation,” says Parziale, whose property abuts nearby Berry Brook. “The chemicals don’t stop at the lawn’s edge and say, ‘Hey, we’re not wanted in the vegetable patch.’ What we put on our lawns and gardens affects not just the soil, but all the local inhabitants including the birds that eat the worms, grubs, and insects.”

 

Celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15

By Katelyn | Nov 7, 2015 | in

America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Every year on November 15, event organizers educate neighbors, friends and colleagues through thousands of events. Keep America Beautiful has created guides, tools, templates and tips to make it easy to organize your local school or community event.

Keep America Beautiful is a national nonprofit organization working to inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Keep America Beautiful was established in 1953 and has made it their goal to provide the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, increase recycling in America, and beautify America's communities.The organization is driven by the work and passion of community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals.

Organizers have planned both private and public events around the country, find an event close to you today! Those interested can also register their own event and take the pledge to recycle more. Learn more about America Recycles Day and don't forget to celebrate on November 15!

The Buzz: Five Tips for a Bee-utiful Lawn

By Katelyn | Aug 12, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

Honeybees are dropping like flies. According to Greenpeace, wild and domestic honeybees pollinate about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, yet - despite their vital role in helping create much of the food we eat – the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports American honeybee keepers lost 42 percent of their colonies for 2014-2015, with losses of 34 percent for 2013-2014, 45 percent for 2012-2013, 28 percent for 2011-2012, and 36 percent for 2010-2011.

“Simply put, we need honeybees and we need to do something about their dramatic decline,” said Jason Lefebvre of Purely Organic Lawn Care, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “The good news is that every one of us with a lawn can take a few simple steps to look after the pollinators. In turn, bee-friendly landscaping is inherently safer for our kids, our pets, and ourselves.”

Here are Purely Organic’s five steps for a bee-utiful lawn.
 

Set your Sights on Back to School with Harbor Eyecare Center

By Anne | Aug 12, 2015 | in

According to the American Optometric Association, 80% of learning is visual. Visual acuity, or ability to discern letters and numbers from various distances, is an absolutely essential component of effective learning. Comprehension and retention of information relies heavily on visual health and function. In the spirit of bolstering scholarly pursuits, Harbor Eyecare Center is offering a special “Back to School” discount of 25% off a complete pair of glasses to teachers and students. Additionally, the Harbor Kids Sports Package, including recreational specific frames with single vision polycarbonate lenses, is now on sale. This package is a perfect utilitarian accessory to any fall student-athlete’s competition kit.

Harbor Eyecare Center’s friendly physicians and opticians offer a wealth and duality of expertise on both the function and fashion components of proper eyewear. Choose new frames from a variety of name brand frames and return to class in style this fall. One such brand offered, Modo, is an Italian designer eyewear company that has differentiated itself from other high fashion brands by offering a sustainable and socially responsible line of frames, the Eco line. Frames from this green line are made of bio-based

or recycled materials to ease the environmental burden of global commodity production. Each set of frames sold additionally fuels socially responsible programs to address vision and health needs around the world. The campaign “Trees for the Future” plants one tree in Cameroon, Africa for every Eco frame sold. To date, this initiative has facilitated the planting of over a million trees in the region, nourishing the soil and empowering local farmers with a sustainable income source. The second charity that the Eco line supports is “Buy a Frame, Give a Frame” which matches each frame purchase made by donating a full set of glasses to a needy vision patient in Nepal.

In addition to actively seeking out and carrying products with social and environmental benefits like the Eco line by Modo, Harbor Eyecare Center as a business, has committed to sustainability through addressing operational consumables and waste diversion in-house. The facility has implemented a comprehensive office recycling program in addition to sourcing office supplies from green vendors. Harbor Eyecare Center is a Green Alliance Business Partner.

Are your Pets Tired of Ticks? Looking for Natural Alternatives?

By Rich | Jul 30, 2015 | in

By Rich Collins

New England is graced with somewhat unusual climate conditions – harsh winters often followed by beautiful, somewhat dry spring. But with these weather patterns come an onslaught of biting insects – ticks in particular – that target pets and their owners across the East. It’s well known that ticks carry Lyme and other types of debilitating diseases, as they lie in wait on tall grasses readying themselves to hitch a ride on cats and dogs. Pet owners often have their dogs and cats vaccinated against ticks; however, the nightmarish insects can still travel into our homes via pets and feed on humans.

So what can homeowners do to protect their dogs and cats, as well as themselves? The first solution is to avoid grassy or wooded areas entirely. But during the summer months, it’s not feasible to avoid the outdoors throughout the seacoast and the Great Bay (a known tick hotbed) area.

To determine what options are available, it’s best to turn to professionals. Locally, The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat offer choices on a variety of natural products, from holistic pet foods to natural flea and tick remedies. Co-owned by husband and wife team Dawn and Jeff Price, The Natural Dog is a holistic and organic pet supply store specializing in direct, personal customer service, advice, and a host of natural product alternatives. Located at 801 Islington Street in Portsmouth’s revitalized “West End” neighborhood in Gallagher Plaza, the store is a local resource for pet owners who prefer a more holistic approach or have dogs and cats with special diets or needs.

Top 5 Tips to Clean Up Snow-Damaged Landscaping and Prepare for Summer

By Ken | May 20, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

This was a rough winter for many around the Seacoast, including area trees and shrubs.

“As a result of the winter we just had, with such heavy snow loads, we're seeing an enormous amount of tree and shrub damage,” said Ben Woods, Project Manager for Site Structures Landscape, Inc., an eco-friendly, community-minded landscape resource based in Eliot, Maine. “And this type of damage requires unique actions.”

Woods shares Site Structures’ Top 5 Tips for landscaping clean-up after a very snowy winter:

1. PRUNE RIGHT: Prune broken tree branches back to a healthy bud or where one branch attaches to another;

2. PRUNE CLEAN: When pruning, make each cut a clean cut—when you do, the branch will heal faster and is less susceptible to insects or diseases;

Tips to be more Sustainable

By Sarah Mahoney | May 16, 2015 | in

The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program is challenging restaurateurs to make their businesses more sustainable. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to deploy, just something environmentally responsible and efficient. Following are four suggestions from industry experts on easy practices to implement:

  1. Recycle your cardboard to help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, says Jeff Clark, program director for the NRA’s Conserve initiative. Cardboard takes up about 25 percent of the space in your trash dumpster, so this one practice can eliminate the need for a large receptacle. Also, if the material isn’t contaminated, it could have significant value and a second life as something else, like paper cups.
  2. Conserve water by establishing a baseline to understand how you’re using water, says Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact for Starabucks Coffee Co. Don’t just look at your water bill. Take a look at all of the water components in your restaurant. Learn where the most significant usage is and tackle that immediately.
  3. Reduce your food waste at the source by tracking and monitoring how much is produced, says Andrew Shakman, founder and CEO of food-waste prevention company LeanPath Inc. Get your employees to record what goes into the trash, and meet regularly to review the data and discuss ways to prevent that waste from occurring in the future.
  4. Some companies are interested in converting your used fryer oil into biodiesel, which could result in extra revenue. Negotiate rates and services with your local grease haulers or biodiesel production companies. Also, there are haulers who will provide storage containers and clean grease traps as part of your contract. In some cases, they will clean the grease traps for you. When sewer lines get clogged with a buildup of fats, oil and greases, sewage back-ups can occur.

Local Painting Company Leads Green Revolution

By Sarah Mahoney | May 16, 2015 | in

It's time to start your spring and summer painting projects! This story is re-posted to give you some incentive to start those up.

By Mark Quirk

PORTSMOUTH - During the infancy of the American colonies, a grassroots militia calling themselves the Minutemen spearheaded the American Revolution and fought for the change that lead to the formation of the United States. Today, Sean Sturk and Chris Tufts lead a revolution of their own on the same soil those colonial men and women did centuries ago, even borrowing the revolutionist's name.

Tufts and Sturk are the owners of Minute Men Painters, a green painting company ushering in a revolution in the industry with environmentally-friendly paints and lacquers for their residential and commercial projects. Minute Men Painters use latex-based, waterborne paints and lacquers, a change from the oil-based paints commonly used in homes. However their biggest obstacle isn't the size of the project, but people's resistance to change. That's why Tufts said part of the Minute Men process is to educate their customers to the advantages of waterborne products.

Yankee Thermal Imaging Runs Home Improvement Special Through April

By Katie | Apr 10, 2015 | in

Believe it or not, spring is trying its hardest to make an appearance (did it really snow this week, or was that just a bad dream?). While the April showers prep our yards for new life, isn't it time you prep your house for the predictably unpredictable weather of New England? 

Yankee Thermal Imaging wants to help you with all of your spring home improvement projects. With a hefty incentive program, YTI is making it a no brainer -- get your home insulated and weatherized, and receive a gift card towards any home improvement project you want. 

Through the end of April, Yankee Thermal Imaging is offering a $250 Lowe’s gift card for any Green Alliance members who have weatherization and insulation completed within the month. A weatherization and insulation project delivers an airtight and efficient living area, by closing the building envelope. This decreases the amount of times a furnace needs to kick on, by keeping a more constant temperature and eliminating draft, thus saving the homeowner money.

Yankee Thermal Imaging (YTI) has one goal: to make the Seacoast more efficient. Using state-of-the-art thermal cameras and a highly trained staff, YTI has improved the efficiency of scores of homes and buildings throughout the region. YTI prides itself on being a one-stop shop for all efficiency needs, from the diagnostic energy audit, to installation and weatherization.

Yankee Thermal Imaging Supports Home Improvement with Incentive Program

By Sam | Mar 31, 2015 | in

As spring slowly makes an appearance, the thought of cold weather preparation is replaced by thoughts of flowerbeds and herb gardens. Yankee Thermal Imaging plans to help kick start their customers’ springtime home improvement dreams with a hefty incentive program.

This April, Yankee Thermal Imaging is offering a $250 Lowe’s gift card for any Green Alliance members who have weatherization and insulation completed within the month. A weatherization and insulation project delivers an airtight and efficient living area, by closing the building envelope. This decreases the amount of times a furnace needs to kick on, by keeping a more constant temperature and eliminating draft, thus saving the homeowner money.

GA Members Get Free Admission to The Seacoast Home and Garden Show

By Katelyn | Mar 10, 2015 | in

Get ready for spring with free admission to the Seacoast Home and Garden Show! The snow is slowly melting and New Englanders and eager to get outside to start planting and cleaning in anticipation for warm weather. There is no better way to prepare for spring than a home and garden show featuring more than 200 vendors, and free admission (regularly $8) only sweetens the deal. That’s right, Green Alliance members will receive 1 free entrance ticket by presenting their Green Card at the door! The Green Alliance will have a booth at the show, as well as a number of our green Business Partners…stay tuned to find out who, and we encourage folks to stop by and meet the GA staff!

The 21st annual Seacoast Home and Garden Show will be held Saturday March 28th and Sunday March 29th at the Whittemore Center Arena in Durham with 200+ exhibitors showcasing home products and services. Venders featuring building and remodeling services, kitchen and bathroom products, and outdoor landscaping techniques will show visitors the best ways to update their home for the spring season. Green Alliance members will especially enjoy the various venders featuring environmentally friendly cleaning products and home and garden services.

Ice Damage: Protect the Environment While Protecting Your Homes

By Corey | Feb 26, 2015 | in

It’s no surprise that with this winter delivering its spate of major snowstorms, homeowners are facing the problem of dealing with ice dams and leakage into their houses. Ice dams form when the roof temperature is above freezing, typically a result of poor insulation, and when the temperature of the overhang and gutters is below freezing. The water from melted snow turns into ice at the soffit area and runs down the cold part of the roof causing ice dams and outsized icicles.

Prevention of ice dams first comes with proper roof insulation. Green Cocoon offers “green” spray foam made from polyurethane plastic and cellulose insulation made from recycled paper that provides long-lasting insulation to lower heating and cooling energy costs by half, compared to traditional insulation products. Yankee Thermal Imaging can also save homeowners the trouble of roof damage by identifying where homes are losing heat and helping make energy efficient upgrades through energy audits.

Another problem plaguing homeowners during winter storm season is fallen trees onto homes. In addition to their focus of pruning and removal of trees with the least invasive approach, Cornerstone Treecare is clearing snow off roofs and removing ice dams using a climbing method of belaying off trees without damaging their very sensitive bark.

For quick fixes, the most common solution to melting damaging ice is rock salt due to its effectiveness and affordability. However, rock salt has detrimental environmental effects that will harm surrounding vegetation, wash into water ways, increase salinity, and can potentially contaminate drinking water. It’s also corrosive to metals and concrete and harmful to pet’s paws. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to rock salt that are kid, pet, and environmentally friendly.

Local Farmers' Markets Open for the Winter

By Mike | Jan 8, 2015 | in

There’s no need to let a little snow get in the way of shopping at your local farmers’ market. The Berwick Winter Farmers’ Market run by Green Alliance sustaining member Jessica Sheldon features over 20 different vendors selling a wide variety of goods including produce, handmade toys and crafts, candles, and even pies. The Berwick Winter Farmers’ Market is open for business from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Town Hall in Berwick, Maine one Sunday a month from now until April. An environmental fair will be held on the final market day on April 26th, which the Green Alliance will be attending. To learn more about the Berwick Winter Farmers' Market, please click here.   

Jenaly Technology Group Green IT Item of the Month

By Madalyn | Nov 25, 2014 | in

Jenaly Technology Group, Inc. is not you average IT company. They are dedicated to providing affordable IT solutions for businesses big and small while also providing much needed commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly choices.

The IT industry is notorious for needing a large amount of resources and energy for their products. Jenaly is striving to control and shrink its environmental impact. They accomplish this by providing systems management services which drastically reduce the amount of energy computers use and also provide effective document management skills which reduces the amount of paper required by an individual or a professional office. Jenaly themselves hope to one day be 100% digital.

This Holiday Season Shop Green!

By Patrick Haigis | Nov 21, 2014 | in

 

Free Home Energy Workshop in Rye

By Madalyn | Oct 10, 2014 | in

Button Up NH and the city of Rye are hosting a free home energy workshop on November 19 from 6:00 pm- 7:30 pm. The event will be held at the Rye Public Library at 581 Washington Rd.

Many homes have leaks around windows and doors, so it is important to assess the extent to which your home is (or isn't) energy efficient. Assessing the energy efficiency of homes and buildings save on unnecessary, excessive expenses spent on heating.

Learn how you can make your home more energy efficient by beginning to understand the science to building. There will also be a number of do-it-yourself energy saving tips that you can use in your home.

Button Up will be partnering with Energy Star and participants are can take part in a home performance with the Energy Star Program. There will be $100 energy audits with up to $4000 in incentives.

Drafty House? Yankee Thermal Imaging Can Help

By Katie | Sep 4, 2014 | in

Our region is filled with the oldest properties in the country and while we enjoy the charm and appeal of our homes, we also find ourselves cranking up the heat or feeling embarrassed having people into our drafty house.

Yankee Thermal Imaging’s Home Comfort Savings Plan gives homeowners the maximum savings on the most common energy and heat loss areas in their home. Now through September 30 ANYONE in the Green Alliance community (you don't have to be card carrying member) gets $150 off this super Home Comfort Savings Plan simply by mentioning this post. Just email matty.silva@yti.biz to get your $150 off! Learn more here.

So what is the Home Comfort Savings Plan (Instant Savings Program)?

Within the six hour process of delivering you a more comfortable home, Yankee Thermal Imaging completes a full energy audit (to diagnose problem areas), air sealing of your home, LED light bulbs, a programmable thermostat, weather stripping around windows and doors, aerators, insulating hot water lines, and a carbon monoxide detector. The savings for each year surpass $500 while contributing to less wear and longer life of your heating system and hot water heaters.

To learn more email matty.silva@yti.biz and mention the Green Alliance to receive $150 off Home Savings Plan! 

Aucella is offering 20% on select services for Green Alliance Members

By Sam | Jun 30, 2014 | in

As you may know, Aucella Heating & Cooling is one of our newest Business Partners here! You may know a little bit about how geothermal HVAC systems, but do you know about all the other things you can put in your home to maximize efficiency and comfort?

Aucella can install things like high efficiency boilers, furnaces, and water heaters, solar thermal hot water and space heating. Choosing radiant flooring means not only no more cold tiles in the morning, but no more dusty vents either. Or how about the Ecobee Internet Thermostat, which allows you to control your house’s climate anywhere you go, directly from your smartphone or tablet? Take a look at some of these products Aucella offers.

Green Tips from Ultra Geothermal

By Ali | Jun 13, 2014 | in

This week's Green Tips come from Green Alliance business partner, Ultra Geothermal, a renewable energy company that specializes in geothermal heating and cooling.

1. Programmable thermostats are great for fossil-fuel run heating systems. For a geothermal system, however, it is best to maintain a constant temperature in your home to minimize costs, making programmable thermostat less than ideal.

2. Geothermal can save up to 80% off heating and cooling costs, by using the natural heat from the earth to heat and cool your home. This means you will have more money to spend on other energy efficieny products, like a Solar PV system to run the heat pump.

3. Burning 1 gallon of fossil fuel releases 20 pounds of CO2 emissions. Geothermal can help you minimize your emissions.

4. Air-sourced water heaters are a great option to de-humidify your basement. They also heat hot water for 70% cheaper than other water heating methods.