Blog : Miscellaneous

Six years on, Acorn remains a green beacon

By Mary | Mar 5, 2014 | in

acornsalonBy Jim Cavan

Six years ago, Acorn Organic Salon opened with a single mission in mind: to provide customers with a bevy of animal-friendly, sustainable products and services that spoke to the Seacoast region’s ever-greening sensibilities.

Since then, the Dover staple has survived and thrived thanks to a love and loyalty lacking in today’s increasingly impersonal commercial landscape.

Now, Laura McKay and her crew are setting their sites on the next big challenge: a new Sixth Street storefront opened in December – right below a well-traveled natural foods store and a mere stone’s throw from Acorn’s flagship haunt on Central Avenue.

According to Mackay, the impetus for the move was twofold: more space, and greater visibility.

“We saw it as a fresh start,” says Mackay. “At the old location, even though we were right on Central Avenue, we were kind of blocked by the trees. Here, while it’s more residential, we’re right in front of a four-way intersection, so the visibility is even greater. And the fact that we have a space that fit what we were looking for.”

The impact of a more intimate space – economically as well as environmentally – cannot be discounted: According to Mackay, she’s paying hundreds of dollars less per month on electricity. That’s no small thing when you’re trying to run a small business.

A very green Seacoast Home & Garden Show

By Patrick | Mar 5, 2014 | in

By Michael McCord
Green Alliance Writer

Carrie Barron, the co-producer of the 20th annual Seacoast Home & Garden Show, says that with each passing year the popular event has attracted more green vendors and even greater consumer interest in sustainable goods and services.

The 2014 Seacoast Home & Show is slated for its typical spring welcoming dates of March 29 and March 30 at the Whittemore Center on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Last year, the event drew a record crowd of more than 6,500 and Barron, along with fellow co-producer Beth Alles, believe the 2014 show will be just as popular to consumers seeking a diverse range of ideas, good and services for their homes.

In 2013, the show unveiled a large gardening marketplace, more artisan space, a Meet the Chef Series and green-focused seminars as part of its regular programming. Overall more than 220 exhibitors are expected and one trend has organically emerged – the growing number of vendors who offer sustainable services and products to meet consumer demand. “More consumers care about sustainability and how it helps the local economy. They want local grown produce and to work with local companies. There are a number of local companies that are new and different,” Barron explained.

The organizers of the Seacoast Home & Garden Show have partners with the Green Alliance, the Portsmouth organization committed to connecting green-minded consumers with the businesses striving to decrease their environmental footprint. For the second straight year, the two organizations will work closely to spread the word about a wide range of sustainable services right in our regional neighborhood.

Barron said the partnership has tapped into the network of Green Alliance members and business partners and added a growing roster of green-minded vendors to the show. The Green Alliance businesses that will be at the 2014 show include Green Alliance itself, Eco Firebox, Green Cocoon, Proulx Oil and Propane, EZ Bikes, Yankee Thermal Imaging and Seacoast Energy Alternatives.

Granite State of Mind

By Mary | Mar 5, 2014 | in

By Jim Cavan

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 below.
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.

A priority of giving at Green Cocoon

By Patrick | Mar 5, 2014 | in

By Michael McCord
Green Alliance Correspondent

“I’m living the dream” is one of Candace Lord’s favorite sayings. It also expresses a charitable philosophy for Green Cocoon, the Salisbury, Mass.-based sustainable insulation company where Lord is general manager. “We want to help others live the dream,” Lord said.

As the seven-year-old company continues to grow, it has also become deeply involved in greater Seacoast region community and beyond. For the second straight year, Green Cocoon will be the main underwriter for the 8th annual Hope for Youth Gala to support Seacoast Youth Services in Seabrook. The event includes live and silent auctions, dancing and games and will be held March 22 at the Ashworth by the Sea hotel in Hampton. All proceeds will go to Seacoast Youth Services which provides a wide range of outreach programs for youths and their families.

“This is an awesome event and we have seen firsthand that Seacoast Youth Services is an organization to back and be very proud of,” Lord explained. “They (Seacoast Youth Services) approached us and we are glad they did. They have a unique type of engagement that gets through to kids. We saw kids build a boat and the amount of labor they did. I know it sounds corny but these kids truly are our future and we want them to succeed.”

Founded in 2007 by Jim Materkowski and the late Peter Strattner, Green Cocoon specializes in green insulation for both residential and commercial applications. Lord says the company has become “the go-to” provider for clients seeking a sustainable solution to the common need for quality insulation. “We are now in an echo chamber of referrals from contractors who call us to work on increasingly complex projects. We also hear directly from homeowners who are building a new house and want us to insulate us,” she said.

Green Cocoon is a business partner of the Green Alliance in Portsmouth and the company has boasts a wide range of sustainable insulation options from spray-foam made from soy beans and recycled plastic bottles to BATT insulation fashioned from recycled denim, and also a line of recycled newspaper cellulose. Lord says the company has also made a quite broken through to customers on the financial side by offering a remarkable ten-fold return on investment for a combination of sustainable action and cash savings.

Chinburg Properties Green Story

By Madelaine | Mar 4, 2014 | in

Did you know that every business/organization in The Green Alliance undergoes a full and transparent Sustainability Certification? GA takes a look at what makes the business green and where they have room to improve. Check out Chinburg Properties' Green Story below and learn more about what makes them green! To read all of Chinburg Propertie's certification documents, click here.

Founded in 1987 by University of New Hampshire graduate Eric Chinburg, Chinburg Builders has since grown to become one of the Seacoast’s most trusted and recognizable building companies in the areas of residential and commercial construction. Over 25 years the company has expanded into land development, general contracting and property management. The company recently changed its name to Chinburg Properties, with the tagline: Develop, Build, Manage, to more accurately reflect the expansion of the business. Along the way, the company has embraced a decidedly green ethos and progressive development philosophy oriented to the region’s unique history and local heritage.

In 2002, Chinburg began devoting more attention to building Energy Star homes featuring myriad efficiency-guided measures and features. In 2010, the company made a commitment to begin rendering all of their new homes to Energy Star standards. The latest green milestone was the successful development, build out and sale of 19 homes at Laurel Court, Portsmouth’s first 100% high performance home neighborhood. These homes earned an average of 52 points on the HERS rating system, with an average energy savings of $1,200 per year per home.

In 1997 Eric Chinburg developed a vision and a passion for the redevelopment of New Hampshire’s crumbling mill buildings. Chinburg Properties has now recycled historic treasures paramount to the Granite State’s unique industrial and architectural legacies, including Newmarket Mills in Newmarket, Millport in Portsmouth, Washington Mills and Cocheco Mills in Dover, and Canal Street Mill in Somersworth; 11 mills in all. “We’ve learned a lot in the process of saving these buildings,” says Jen Chinburg. “Newmarket Mills is the culmination of this knowledge, fixing abandoned buildings that are falling apart but have inherent beauty and restoring them to a place of usefulness and importance in the community.”

The Lighting Center Combines Quality Products with Efficiency Education for Costumers

By Patrick | Mar 3, 2014 | in

Through the years, The Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric has always taken it upon itself to do more than just provide customers with the largest selection of residential lighting products in Northern New England.

Instead the company prides itself by operating various programs and initiatives that make it easier for seacoast residents to become more energy efficient.

The Lighting Center offers a wide range of services to their customers including free lighting audits for their commercial clients, a wide selection of energy efficient lighting, as well as sharp discounts for clients who choose to convert their lighting to fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). However, not all the services they provide involve making sales.

ReVision Energy Celebrates Solar Installations in Durham

By Mary | Feb 28, 2014 | in

Green Alliance Business Partner ReVision Energy has teamed up with the Durham Energy Committee to install solar panels in three of Durham’s town buildings. They are hosting two separate events to celebrate and spread solar awareness. On March 6, the two businesses will co-host a community mixer and pot luck at the Durham Public Library located on 49 Madbury Road.

Several Durham restaurants have generously offered to provide food for the pot luck. The event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ReVision Energy is going to make a donation to the Cornucopia Food Pantry of Waysmeet Center in Durham following the dinner. This event will certainly spark conversion about solar energy in the local community. Those interested in attending the delicious pot luck should contact Kimry Corrette at or (603)-679-1777.

Get Ahead: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference

By Patrick | Feb 28, 2014 | in

With the severe impacts of climate change becoming increasingly apparent, local planners and decision makers must learn to adapt.

Antioch University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are hosting a conference to address the Northeast’s preparedness for climate change events.

The LOCAL SOLUTIONS: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH from May 19 to May 21. The event will include an inspiring line-up of over seventy speakers and twenty-five workshops. The purpose is to teach decision makers and local planners what must be done to brace for severe weather and climate impacts while building healthy and resilient community plans.

The hands-on and interactive programs will assist participants in measures like conducting vulnerability assessments, identifying and protecting natural and societal mechanisms that maintain resilience, and creating plans that allow a community to adapt to impacts.

Movie Night! Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?

By Mary | Feb 28, 2014 | in

KITTERY -- Have you heard about the global bee crisis? Honeybees all around the world started to mysteriously disappear from their hives back in 2006. Will the bees vanish completely?

To find out more about this phenomenon, come to the Kittery Community Center on March 14. The KCC is located at 120 Rogers Road in Kittery, Maine. Traip Academy is hosting an informal gathering to view the film "Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?" The movie will begin at 7:00 p.m. and last until 9:00 p.m. A discussion and opportunity for Q&A will follow.

NhSolarGarden Hits the Ground Running

By Patrick | Feb 28, 2014 | in

STRATHAM – For most newborn businesses, much like a newborn child, getting off the ground and taking those first steps can be cumbersome. NhSolarGarden is proving to be somewhat of a prodigy; as soon as they declared themselves open, word began to spread throughout newspapers across the state, and interest in their group net metering strategy skyrocketed. They are continuing to gain momentum and support for its innovative and localized solar solutions.

Owner Andrew Kellar has never faltered in his long history of impressive green careers. Not only did he help to co-found the Green Alliance and Simply Green Biofuels, he has also worked very closely with several progressive organizations including the Green Launching Pad, which helps local startups bring environmental solutions to the market.

Pocos and 2 Ceres Street to Host WXGR's Jet Setter Gourmet Lounge

By Mary | Feb 25, 2014 | in

PORTSMOUTH – Join two Green Alliance Business Partners, Poco’s Bow Street Cantina and 2 Ceres Street as they co-host the Jet Setter edition of the WXGR’s Gourmet Lounge for this year’s Portsmouth Beer Week. The night will be filled with up-beat music, delicious food and plenty of beer. The Gourmet Lounge will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, February 28. Smuttynose and Great Rhythm Brewing will also be featured at the event.

Each restaurant will host their own live-cooking demonstration of international foods. Poco’s features Mexican cuisine and 2 Ceres is known for their seafood and chicken entrees. Smuttynose will feature their Finestkind IPA and Great Rhythm Resonation Pale Ale. Taste the difference between the Smuttynose ales as you sample the restaurant’s special dishes and listen to WXGR. The first 80 people to attend WXGR’s Gourmet Lounge will enjoy complimentary pairing samples.

Eco Firebox Brings Centuries-Old Technology to the Seacoast

By Patrick | Feb 24, 2014 | in

ELIOT – Nothing beats the pleasure of coming in from shoveling the cold wet snow off your driveway, making a hot cup of tea and sitting down in front of a fire to rest. Being able to put your feet up and watch as the flames deliver you to a warmer place is the ultimate form of reward for your strenuous effort outside. You just can’t get the same aesthetic enjoyment from the other methods of heating your home.

With the unstable market price of heating oil more than tripling over the past 20 years, now may be an advisable time to switch to a more efficient and environmentally friendly means of keeping your house warm through the winter.

Green Alliance Business Partner Les Veilleux and his invention, the Eco Firebox, have changed the way we think about wood-burning heating elements.

Smuttynose Beer Week Events

By Mary | Feb 22, 2014 | in

The historic city of Portsmouth is sometimes referred to as the capital “Beer City” of New Hampshire. Portsmouth has a huge beer culture because it is home to some of the best breweries in New England. 

As part of Portsmouth’s annual Beer Week, Smuttynose Brewing Company has decided to host some exciting beer-tasting events. Beer Week begins on Saturday, February 22 and lasts until Monday, March 3. Each year, a combination of breweries, shops, and restaurants collaborate to create a fun celebration of local beer.

Smuttynose’s first event of the week is a “Hotter Than Hell Brunch” at the Blue Mermaid on February 23. They will serve a a four-course brunch paired with Smuttyhouse favorites for $45.00. Smuttynose beers like the 2014 Big A IPA and 2010 Farmhouse Ale will be on the menu. The following day, Smuttynose will team up with the Black Trumpet, one of the most scenic spots on the Portsmouth waterfront. A creative cuisine will be paired with four great Smuttynose beers. The selection includes 2010 Really Old Brown Dog and Bouncy House v2.0.

Portsmouth Short Film Night

By Mary | Feb 21, 2014 | in

Do you love comedies, documentaries AND dramas? Come watch an assortment of films at the Portsmouth Short Film Night on February 28. PSFN is celebrating their second year of film screenings starting at 7:00 p.m. at Portsmouth Public Media TV. PPMtv is a community accessible center located at 280 Marcy Street in downtown Portsmouth. PSFN's lineup for the night includes a variety of genres. A discussion and Q&A with the filmmakers will take place following the screening. Enjoy the show with popcorn and refreshments provided by a local business. The event is free and open to all, whether you happen to be an independent filmmaker or just a movie fanatic.

Building a Strong Team Starts at the Foundation

By Patrick | Feb 21, 2014 | in

With spring right around the corner and business picking up for some, it is imperative to select the correct employee when hiring.

According to Green Alliance Business Partner Cultural Chemistry, the criteria for selecting the perfect employee does not only cover skills and experience relative to the job. Instead, this new-age human resources firm believes that ensuring that the candidate is a good fit culturally is just as important.

An employee may be the perfect match on paper but it is difficult to gauge whether they will expedite or disrupt the productive flow of an organization. Cultural Chemistry aims to help you find a fit for your organization that is perfect in every sense of the word.

The negative impacts of a bad hire can often resonate within a company long after the person has departed. Selecting the right person is especially important when factoring in the time wasted with the process and the financial costs.

Habor Eyecare's Recyclable Line

By Mary | Feb 21, 2014 | in


Green Alliance members receive 20% off any complete prescription from Habor Eyecare Center. To find out more about HEC, click here!


Meet a Green Alliance Business: ENH Power

By Madelaine | Feb 20, 2014 | in

Who: ENH Power

What: ENH Power, part of the Provider Power family of companies, serves residential and business customers in New Hampshire, purchasing electricity directly from the New England Power Pool, offering competitive, fixed rates to consumers. ENH Power works with a growing contingent of Community Partners, helping to raise both money and awareness for a range of causes — from school departments and towns to church committees to animal welfare agencies. ENH also offers green energy options including Coal-Free and Pure Green plans — both designed to help customers fit both their budget and their green ideals.

Where: 1465 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth


What makes us green:

Encourages customers to help support local community.
Have undertaken considerable charitable initiatives.
Offers coal-free and pure green power options.

Green Alliance Members get ENH Power’s 6-month Coal-Free Plan for the lower price of its 6-month Standard Rate! To become a GA member, click here

Promising Much, Obamacare Does Not Always Deliver As Advertised

By Herb | Feb 20, 2014 | in

Green Alliance Staff Writer

Well-known are the start-up problems with Obamacare — aka the Affordable Care Act. However, government officials are telling us that once the initial bugs in the system were solved, people seeking affordable comprehensive health-care coverage would be able to find it.

But is that really the case in New Hampshire and Maine? For a naturopathic doctor in New Hampshire that has not been true. And for a Maine chiropractor, it’s too early to tell.

People who do not have health insurance, are looking to change insurance policies or do not have access to coverage through their employer can sign up for health insurance during open enrollment until March 31. Federally funded subsidies to help people pay for the cost of their insurance are also still available, according to a joint press release by Covering New Hampshire, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s office, the N.H. Dept. of Insurance, and Anthem Insurance.

“For many, their new health insurance plans include the comprehensive health care they were looking for at a lower price than they had previously paid,” the statement said, adding, “Thousands of people have also contacted Covering New Hampshire, the state’s official source for information and assistance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, looking for information about obtaining health coverage in the new year. These people are learning that regular doctor visits, medications, important preventative health screenings and other treatments are now more reasonably priced through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Under the Affordable Care Act, 51 percent of currently uninsured nonelderly people in New Hampshire are eligible for financial assistance in gaining coverage. About 62,000 (more than one in three) uninsured people from New Hampshire are eligible for tax credits to help them purchase coverage in the Marketplace.

Mirror Image Reflects on Hot Rod Project

By Patrick | Feb 20, 2014 | in

Green Alliance Staff Writer

GREENLAND -- Imagine tearing down I-95 with the wind in your hair and the sun beaming down overhead. Beneath you the purr of your dream car plays a nice complement to the blaring radio. Sound like a fantasy to you? Greenland's Mirror Image Automotive has helped Frank Day make his a reality.

Green Alliance business partner Mirror Image is well known for combining collision repair and mechanical maintenance under one customer-friendly roof. Previous customers have likened owner Jason Battistelli to a lawyer that goes to bat for customers – fending off the knuckleballs thrown by big insurance companies.