Blog

Local Artists Share Craft With Students

By Ken | Jan 16, 2015 | in

The Brixham Montessori Friends School is an independent school for children two to 11 years of age in York, Maine that combines the Montessori tradition with the Quaker-inspired Friends movement and green practices and sustainability. They are currently having an artist-in-residence program, while their art teacher is on maternity leave. Local artists are sharing their talents with the students. So far, BMFS has had a clay sculptor and a painter and they currently have a paper maker in residence.

BMFS has recently completed work on a small greenhouse on their property and have been doing insulation work within the school to fix some heat leaks. The Montessori tradition allows for independence and freedom of choice with a child's natural psychological development and the Quaker-inspired Friends movement teaches the value of peace, simplicity, community, and equality. BMFS goes even further in child development by bringing an increased emphasis on green programs to their students; including composting, recycling, environmental awareness/stewardship, and sustainable living. The curriculum itself includes using the natural land around the school with seed planting, bird watching, and vernal pools.

Reclaimed Granite Becomes Another Source of Beauty

By Ken | Jan 16, 2015 | in

Colonial Stoneworks, owned by Adam Bennett, creates beauty through nature utilizing “green hardscaping.” Bennett is currently hard at work on a project that he is doing utilizing granite blocks that have been reclaimed from a train depot in Concord, New Hampshire giving a new life to these majestic pieces of nature.

Every job done by Bennett is a unique project and Colonial Stoneworks listens to the customers desires and offers design consultation and assistance. Colonial Stoneworks utilizes natural stone, which is inherently greener than energy-intensive concrete for their hardscaping projects. Not only does natural stone look nicer than concrete, but stone doesn't degrade as concrete does allowing for a beautiful green hardscape that will remain.

Colonial Stoneworks tries to obtain as much of their materials through local sourcing as possible. Much of their granite is sourced from the former Milford, New Hampshire quarry and Colonial Stoneworks places and emphasis on reclaimed materials. Colonial Stoneworks also reclaims materials from new subdivisions, instead of allowing them to go to waste, and from local property owners. They will also obtain the stone from customers property, if desired, for a greener option.

The Great Bay Stewards Continue to Preserve the Seacoast While Educating Locals and Visitors

By Katelyn | Jan 14, 2015 | in

The Great Bay Stewards enjoyed yet another successful year in 2014 and there are high hopes that the trend will continue in 2015 for the Seacoast New Hampshire organization. In the past year, the Stewards launched the “Buy A Board” Campaign, aimed at raising funds to replace the quarter-mile boardwalk at the Great Bay Discovery Center. The boardwalk has been in use for more than 20 years and is a popular piece of their school field trip program, as well as a destination for scientists, walkers, and bird watchers because it serves as one of the few Great Bay access points open to the public. Going into 2015, the Stewards plan to wrap up their efforts to rebuild the boardwalk and greatly appreciate donations from the public to replace it. The public is encouraged to join the Stewards through their “Buy A Board” Campaign to keep the area open for visitors to enjoy.

In 2014, the Stewards also started “Soak Up the Rain Great Bay” to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution in the area. A rain garden was installed in October at the Woodman Museum in Dover and has proven to be efficient in reducing runoff into Dover’s stormwater drainage system. The 15th Great Bay 5K and 10th Art of Great Bay art show were held in 2014 and are sure to once again be popular events in 2015. Events and programs sponsored by the Great Bay Stewards live on thanks to the members of the organization who help protect and preserve the Great Bay. Becoming a member of the Great Bay Stewards ensures that the organization is able to keep the area open and educate residents and visitors about the special New Hampshire Seacoast environment.

Smuttynose Preps Opening of New Restaurant at Towle Farm in Hampton

By Craig | Jan 13, 2015 | in

In May of last year, Smuttynose Brewing Co. settled into their new home on Towle Farm Road in Hampton, New Hampshire. Built on an old farmstead, the larger, more sustainable facility has preserved and honored much of the original structures on-site while also expanding the company's distribution. Part of its preservation includes turning the former farm-house into a restaurant that offers sustainably sourced food. Word of Smuttynose's new restaurant spread throughout the seacoast and state almost as soon as they purchased the property years ago. Now the company is happy to say that the Hayseed Farmstyle Restaurant, located at 105 Towle Farm Road, will open in early February of this year.

When it opens, the restaurant will seat 95 with additional seating for 35 in the seasonal beer garden. Hayseed's design will incorporate much of the sustainable practice that has long been at the forefront of Smuttynose's business model. Its zinc-topped bar is made of natural wood, including red oak taken from the restaurant's Towle Farm location. Menu items will include ingredients sourced from local seacoast farms and fisheries, and from gardens at Towle Farm. And, of course, it will have beer on tap. With over two dozen taps featuring Smuttynose, Smuttlabs and select guest beers, the restaurant will also offer cask conditioned beers, vintage bottles from the Smuttynose Big Beer Series and growlers to go.

900 Degrees Pizzeria Gets Clean while Staying Green

By Sarah Mahoney | Jan 13, 2015 | in

By Anna Murphy

EPPING - 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, located in Manchester and a second location in Epping, has been a paragon of sustainable business practices for the past seven years. There is a sense of sustainability from the moment you walk in, be it the reclaimed, efficient décor, the fresh food made with organic ingredients whenever possible, or now, the use of all green certified cleaning products.

The pizzeria strives to lessen its environmental impact whenever possible. A Green Alliance member, 900 Degrees owner Priscilla Lane-Rondue has held sustainable living close to her heart for her entire life.

“For me, going green is always my first choice,” said Lane-Rondeau. “I truly believe in it.”

Recently, 900 Degrees made the switch to cleaning with green certified cleaning supplies, thereby keeping the harsh chemicals found in most commercial-grade cleaning products off the table tops, out of the kitchen and out of their waste-stream. In the photo to the right, Zulma is modeling pots and pans green cleanser, one of the green certified cleaning supplies that the restuarant uses.

“We’re all really excited to be doing the right thing,” says 900 Degrees employee Pat Holland, “Everyone, employees and customers alike, have been really receptive to the changes.”

Rally Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

By Sarah Mahoney | Jan 13, 2015 | in

Interested in taking a stand in the fight against climate change? A "Reject Keystone XL - Now" rally against construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will occur in Market Square in Portsmouth on January 13th, 2015. Rallies against the pipeline will take place throughout the country on the same night, with the rally in Portsmouth being the only one scheduled in New Hampshire. There are many contrasting views of the projected pipeline, comprising of individuals as well as environmental organizations. The main concern is the high risk of oil spills that could follow the construction of the pipeline, as well as the contribution to the already existing problem of climate change.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is an anticipated extension of the pipeline that extends from Alberta, Canada to Cushing, Oklahoma, and then to the Gulf of Mexico. TransCanada, a Canadian company, has came up with the solution of building a larger-capacity and more direct link to the existing pipeline from Alberta, which is now known as the Keystone XL.

Rallies have taken place across the country in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline for several reasons, with the main concern being the risk of dangerous leaks along the 1,700-mile route. Despite objections from property owners, this pipeline will most likely intrude on property rights and runs the risk of leaks at any given point.

900 Degrees Pizzeria Featured in New Hampshire Wine Week

By Corey | Jan 12, 2015 | in

This year, participants of New Hampshire Wine Week will have the opportunity to pair their expansive selections of wine and beer with the popular comfort food of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria.The week spans from January 26 through February 1, and is centered on bringing wine industries, educational seminars, and gourmet food to New Hampshire – and you don’t even have to be a wine expert to take part in the festivities. 900 Degrees will offer specific selections of wine, including Went Vineyards Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Punto Final Malbec 2012, and Villa Antinori Toscana 2011.

Sustainability Common Thread amongst Entrepreneurs at Portsmouth Dojo

By Craig | Jan 12, 2015 | in

By Mark Quirk

When Bill Buckley and Tom Pray met it was nothing short of fate in every sense. The two, both owners of local businesses, found an instant connection in their backgrounds, beliefs and common core values of sustainability. The timing was perfect too. Bill wanted to train in karate (which Tom teaches), while Tom wanted to practice the Taiji and Qigong that Bill is passionate in teaching. Now they both offer their services, as well as yoga, under one roof at Gateway Taiji, Qigong & Yoga studio on 875 Islington St. It’s a sort of one stop shop for martial arts and meditative healing based exercise.

“This is unique,” said Pray, who has been teaching Shotokan Karate since 1987. “You don’t find that blend of teaching anywhere.”
Gateway Taiji, Qigong and Yoga is a center for practicing and exploring the ancient energy arts. Its large studio provides a spacious, sunlit, inviting environment for ongoing classes and special seminars in a renovated mill building. A major focus of the renovation was to improve energy efficiency. The original concrete and asphalt roof was replaced with a lightweight foam and rubber solution. The exterior walls were filled with the same foam. These improvements are expected to substantially lower the building’s heating costs. The lights in the new studio are all LED, further reducing the energy footprint of the building. The space also operates on solar power. Last but not least, students learn and practice in 100 year old historical site given new purpose and life.

Pray operates Ecotech, a sustainable pest service out of Eliot, Maine. Both Buckley and Pray's businesses are partners with the Green Alliance, a union of local, green businesses and community members, but the two met through Buckley's wife Rebecca.
About three years ago, Pray was taking a yoga class with Rebecca Gould. As the two talked, Pray mentioned he taught karate. Rebecca shared with Tom that her husband had once studied Shotokan Karate and wanted to get back into it, and he also learned Buckley taught Taiji and Qigong. The rest is history.

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Kennebunk Savings

By Corey | Jan 12, 2015 | in

Who: Kennebunk Savings

What: The principles that defined Kennebunk Savings Bank when it was founded in 1871 still hold true today. As an independent, mutually owned organization, Kennebunk Savings prides itself on being responsive to its local market, community and customers. A key commitment to meeting those community needs is Kennebunk Savings’ signature program, the Community Promise, a pledge to contribute 10 percent of its earnings back to nonprofit organizations.

          Since 1994,the Community Promise program has contributed more than $9.5 million to organizations that provide arts and culture, civic programs, educational, environmental and human services.Kennebunk Savings also strives to be a green bank, providing customers with up-to-date technology such as mobile and online banking to reduce client commutes and paper waste. Kennebunk Savings has replaced all incandescent lights with high efficiency CFL and LED alternatives at its branches, along with instituting a company-wide recycling program and initiative to print less paper. All plumbing fixtures are energy efficient, requiring less water, and programmable HVAC units further prevent energy waste. Additionally, Kennebunk Savings takes strides to ensure both the outdoor lawn treatment and indoor cleaning products at its branches are either natural or organic. The company also conducts regular giveaways for its used furniture and office equipment, donating office supplies to Ruth's Reusable Resources in South Portland, Maine, and unused furniture to nonprofit organizations.

Just One Thing Voting Now Open

By Mike | Jan 8, 2015 | in

Can we count on your vote?

Since May the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) has collected video and written testimonials for their Just One Thing campaign. Now NHBSR wants you to vote for the best submissions. NHPTV will produce the winning Just One Thing stories that will air on the network in March and April of 2015. The three categories winners will be judged on are: most creative sustainability solution, greatest community impact and greatest employee impact.

Voting is open now through January 9. There are three separate categories to vote for different forward-thinking sustainable businesses. You can read our story in the first category under the question: What story shares a creative approach to a sustainability challenge or opportunity? Read our story and vote now by clicking here!

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.   

Zev Yoga Introduces Sprouts Children's Yoga Series

By Katelyn | Jan 7, 2015 | in

When we make a list of our New Year’s resolutions, we often find ourselves writing something like “hit the gym more often” or “lose 10 pounds,” but a couple weeks into the year the list is forgotten at the bottom of a desk drawer. This year take a slightly different route and consider the health benefits of practicing yoga. For those looking for a healthier lifestyle in 2015, yoga is the ideal exercise to strengthen and calm the body, mind, and soul all at the same time. It’s a workout for people of different ages and experience levels.

Zev Yoga offers classes for all levels, from beginner to expert, and starting January 25 will host a special children’s yoga series. Sprouts Children’s Yoga is aimed at increasing flexibility and focus, while creating a fun environment for children to learn and grow. The series will be taught by Amie Reagan who is certified in yoga and earned degrees in both early childhood development and childhood psychology. She has firsthand experience in how breathing exercises and meditation can impact children at home and in the classroom. Reagan funneled her background in yoga to the school environment by teaching yoga in her own pre-k classroom, and over the years has introduced yoga to people of varying ages. Zev has become one of the most popular yoga studios in the seacoast and with locations in Portsmouth, Exeter and Dover; it’s easy for residents to find a time and location that fits their schedule.

Aucella Heating & Cooling Announces Winner of Winter Heating System Giveaway

By Mike | Jan 7, 2015 | in

 Originally posted to Digital Journal

Aucella Heating & Cooling, one of the leading heating and air conditioning specialists in the Seacoast area, announced the winner of the company’s Winter Heating System Giveaway contest. Contest entrant Mark from Kingston, N.H. will have the opportunity to have Aucella install a brand new heating system valued at as much as $5,000. Like other qualified entrants, contest winner Mark had an existing heating system that was at least 15 years old, and his will be replaced by a new, highly efficient one specially selected by Aucella Heating & Cooling.

900 Degrees Pizzeria Gets Clean while Staying Green

By Mike | Jan 7, 2015 | in

By Anna Murphy

900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, located in Manchester and a second location in Epping, has been a paragon of sustainable business practices for the past seven years. There is a sense of sustainability from the moment you walk in, be it the reclaimed, efficient décor, the fresh food made with organic ingredients whenever possible, or now, the use of all green certified cleaning products.

The pizzeria strives to lessen its environmental impact whenever possible. A Green Alliance member, 900 Degrees owner Priscilla Lane-Rondue has held sustainable living close to her heart for her entire life.

“For me, going green is always my first choice,” said Lane-Rondeau. “I truly believe in it.”

Recently, 900 Degrees made the switch to cleaning with green certified cleaning supplies, thereby keeping the harsh chemicals found in most commercial-grade cleaning products off the table tops, out of the kitchen and out of their waste-stream.

“We’re all really excited to be doing the right thing,” says 900 Degrees employee Pat Holland, “Everyone, employees and customers alike, have been really receptive to the changes.”

The staff uses cloth rags laundered off site to wipe up spills and messes, keeping paper towels and other waste out of landfills. The only paper towels in the restaurant are those in the bathrooms.

Being green is something that was instilled in Lane-Rondeau in her youth. She attributes this to her parents, who lived through the Depression, reusing materials and growing their own food.

Meet a Green Alliance Biz: Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance

By Mike | Jan 7, 2015 | in

Who: Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance

What: Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance provides home, auto, health and life insurance to more than 1,500 clients throughout Massachusetts, Seacoast New Hampshire and southern Maine. In addition to offering a localized experience for its clients, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance is committed to being one of the greenest agencies in the region. Incorporating a paperless agency management system nearly a decade ago, the firm sends up to 95 percent of quotes through e-mail. Documents are digitized as PDFs to reduce paper waste and Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance recycles all printer and toner cartridges.