Hitting the Reset Button: How a Group of Eco-Conscious Builders are Reshaping Sustainable Building Design

By Katelyn | Nov 3, 2015 | in

By Craig Brown

On a small lot in Rye Harbor, not far from the rocky shoreline and the swell of the sea, sits a recent residential project that pushes the boundaries of sustainable design. The 2,400 square-foot home is replete with energy efficient technology that reduces heating and electricity bills, generates home energy credits, is environmentally-friendly and looks good doing it, too.

But are net-zero homes the way of the future, or just another trend in home building?

It is true that sustainable additions and renovations, to homes both old and new, have recently become popular in design just as stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops came into vogue a few years ago. But these energy efficient technologies have been around for years, according to Jesse Ware, founder of Futuro Construction, the builder of the Rye Harbor home.

“The technologies have been around for a while but were not economically feasible until the last five to eight years,” said Ware.

Ware, who received a LEED AP accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council, said that the home in Rye produces all of the energy it uses, and is kept cool during these hot and humid dog days of summer with an air source heat pump, which continues to work in subzero temperatures, providing heat for the home. Ware estimates that the homeowners save $3,000 in just heating energy costs annually.

Clean Energy & American Leadership: A Discussion with NextGen Climate's Tom Steyer

By Katelyn | Nov 3, 2015 | in

NextGen Climate's President Tom Steyer will lead a discussion hosted by NextGen Climate New Hampshire and the University of New Hampshire on the need for American leadership on climate change and clean energy. Climate change is already having an impact on the Granite State's vast and beautiful wildlife, as well as the tourism industry. Meanwhile, the clean energy industry is growing at a fast rate, creating thousands of jobs here in New Hampshire.

For the first time in over 20 years of United Nations negotiations, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate. France will play a leading international role in hosting the conference, and it will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies and non governmental organizations. 

The momentum around climate action is building in anticipation of the upcoming climate negotiations, but the work doesn’t end in Paris. By urging presidential candidates to set a goal of getting America to more than 50% clean energy by 2030, New Hampshire can influence our next president’s plan for how to address climate change—and our economy will reap the benefits of a new, thriving industry.

Welcome Positive Moms Magazine

By Craig | Nov 3, 2015 | in

On the Seacoast, and throughout New Hampshire, moms seek guidance about raising their families. From questions about proper nutrition, to finding the right school or daycare, making the right financial decisions, to where to take the family to have some fun, parents have a million questions. Which is why we're extremely happy to work with Positive Moms Magazine as a Business Partner, a publication devoted to answering some of those questions for moms by moms.

Founded in 2014, Positive Moms Magazine was created by local mom, Jill Sullivan Grueter, to provide fellow moms - and dads, too - with fresh and relevant content from local experts in health, wellness, parenting and other fields. Since that time, the magazine has firmly established itself as a valuable resource for women and men across Southern and Seacoast New Hampshire.

In addition to helping families achieve their maximum health and wellness, Positive Moms Magazine helps The Project Pawsitive Foundation raise much-needed funds to help deserving animal rescue facilities keep their operations up and running. To date, the foundation has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars and helped save more than 10,000 animals.

Enjoy a Fun Filled Evening and Support a Great Cause

By Katelyn | Nov 3, 2015 | in

On Saturday, November 7, the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire(SELT) will celebrate the 13th Annual Fall Foliage Fundraiser at the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center. This party is the Land Trust’s biggest event of the year and helps support the organization’s conservation and stewardship efforts.

The Fall Foliage Fundraiser will feature a silent auction with over 100 items donated from local businesses, and a live auction orchestrated by a professional auctioneer. The live auction will include many exciting items like a week stay at Mittersill Alpine Resort in Franconia Notch, a weekend stay slope-side at Sugarloaf, and Cabernet Lovers Dream Collection. The night will showcase live music by Sea Smoke, a photo booth, delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts as well as complimentary beer & wine.

Join the Green Alliance as a new Sustaining Member by noon on Friday, November 6 for two free tickets ($150 value) to this great event!

Making the Best Choice: Local HVAC Company Caters to Customer Demands for Sustainable Options

By Katelyn | Nov 2, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

At first glance, an HVAC company might not seem like an obvious promoter of sustainability, but it’s been the longtime guiding principle for Jay and Fay Aucella, co-owners of Strafford-based Aucella Heating and Cooling.

Since its founding over a decade ago, Aucella Heating and Cooling has been at the forefront providing and implementing green solutions for their diverse residential and commercial client base.

Jay Aucella says that customers are far more knowledgeable and focused on sustainable and cost-effective measures, especially as it affects their lives.

“We have found that when people are informed about their alternative options, they generally choose the best option for their health, the health of their community and the environment that surrounds them,” Aucella said. “We highlight these choices by offering the most efficient heating and cooling systems and educate our customers on the life-cycle costs of these systems. Reducing energy use for heating and cooling makes sense when you compare the life-cycle cost between standard and high-efficiency products.”

Dental Practice Bolsters Green Economy

By Katelyn | Nov 2, 2015 | in

By Anne Twombly

In a world where the vast majority of American manufacturing takes place overseas, there is still a place for the artisan craftsperson in Newmarket, NH. Jon Piatt, local woodworker has been working collaboratively for the past few months with the owner of Newmarket Dental, Dr. Nate Swanson, to furnish and adorn the dental practice’s new office space. By hiring local labor and utilizing found materials, Newmarket Dental is exemplifying the positive impact thoughtful businesses can have on the local economy as well as the global environment.

When Swanson moved his popular small practice, Newmarket Dental, from its tiny downtown Newmarket location to a larger, newer space, he made sure that every facet and function of the building was as efficient and sustainable as possible.

“I loved working in a 200-year-old building, but for the purposes of healthcare delivery, it just didn’t work,” he said. “We had to consider patient volume, clinical efficiency, disability access, and parking. The whole notion of moving into a building less than 10 years old may seem counterintuitive sustainably speaking, but now we’re getting other benefits like much greater energy efficiency.”

New Hampshire Homeowners See the Bright Side of Solar Energy Systems

By Katelyn | Nov 2, 2015 | in

By Craig Robert Brown

Not far from the seacoast, just over a half hour from downtown Portsmouth, is the sleepy town of Farmington. Much like neighboring towns Rochester and Dover, Farmington’s history is steeped in mill manufacturing.

Since those early days, Farmington remains a large farming community some of which, like Butternut Farm, continue to serve the community with freshly grown produce. Though the downtown has changed, the scenic views of mountains and lakes of Farmington’s farmland haven’t. Nestled amongst those rolling hills draped in winter's gleaming whiteness, is what at first glance appears to be another 19th Century farmhouse and barn. However, the property is anything but traditional.

Homeowner Jay Lawrie, a builder, and his wife, an architect, built the home to look just that way, to blend in with the surrounding heritage and history. One noticeable difference to the barn’s exterior, however, is the addition of a solar PV system that drives the air to water heat pump, which covers the homes heating.

“We don’t have any fossil fuels. We’re completely electric,” said Lawrie. “We’re aiming for [net-zero]. It’s working great.”

The home is grid-tied, meaning that the energy it produces feeds into Lawrie’s utility provider, which credits his monthly energy costs. With the system still relatively new, Lawrie is monitoring its progress to offset his costs.

“We’re banking kilowatt hours because we produce a lot more than we use. But in the wintertime, because we are electric heat, then we use more than we produce. So in the perfect world they’d be just about balanced,” he says. “It’s hard to tell. We’re constantly working on it.”

The PV system on the home has been running for nearly a year. It’s made the home very comfortable, according to Jack Bingham of Seacoast Energy, who worked with Lawrie on the installation of the two systems.

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Favorite Foods

By Katelyn | Nov 2, 2015 | in

Who: For more than 27 years, Favorite Foods has been the region’s go-to independent food distribution company, building a reputation with quality products, excellent customer service, and a focus on working with locally owned restaurants and businesses while remaining environmentally responsible.

Started in 1978 by brothers Chris and Jeff Barstow, Favorite Foods offers everything from small wares, paper products and cleaning supplies to dry groceries, meats, dairy products, and frozen goods. A large portion of those items are eco-friendly, locally sourced or compostable. In the recent past, the company added a 527-panel, 140-kilowatt solar installations to its warehouse.

The company recently underwent a dramatic overhaul of its refrigeration unit, partnering with Biotek Environmental LLC to audit the warehouse and help improve operations and efficiency. Favorite Foods also offers its clients a consultation on everything from restaurant and menu design to customer tastes and business development strategies.

Integrated Fitness Welcomes New Trainer

By Katelyn | Oct 30, 2015 | in

Integrated Fitness recently expanded with the opening of their second location in Epping and has continued to grow with the addition of new trainers at both fitness facilities. Jennifer Lake, an experienced yoga instructor and personal trainer, is the most recent addition to the Integrated Fitness team.

Jennifer Lake is an Ace Certified personal trainer and certified Yoga Teacher 200 E-RYT. She has over 6 years of experience providing professional, customized training sessions and coaching for her clients. Lake is a long time yoga practitioner (over 10 years), teaches yoga therapeutically, and released her premier DVD Active Chair Yoga in 2012. Her area of specialties includes: weight loss, functional training, core training, meditation/ relaxation techniques, personal development and yoga; but whatever the focus may be, Lake’s main goal is to help clients transform their relationship to themselves; body-mind-spirit.

Part of the success of Integrated Fitness comes from strict, one-on-one sessions and classes that challenge Integrated Fitness' clients to change their habits and concentrate on their body's health. To lead these comprehensive, and sometimes rigorous, classes, Integrated Fitness's trainers are specially certified to help clients reach their individual health goals; from nutrition consulting and weight loss, to building muscle and becoming more active.

To introduce the newest trainer to Integrated Fitness, Jennifer Lake will host a free meet and greet hour on Saturday, November 14 at 9:00 a.m., at the Dover location. The first 30 minutes will be a demo of her new class, Cardio Core and More, and the second half will be yoga.

Critical Vote to Support the Brave Boat Headwaters Preserve

By Katelyn | Oct 29, 2015 | in

On Tuesday, November 3, Kittery residents will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not town land will be protected through the creation of the Brave Boat Headwaters Preserve. A bond question will come before voters to determine if the land will be conserved to provide the community with opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature-based education while safeguarding clean water and vital habitats for wildlife.

In February 2015, the Kittery Land Trust closed a deal on 43 acres of donated woodland and fields off of Bartlett Road in Kittery. This addition of protected land in the town added to the efforts to protect Brave Boat Headwaters, a 150 acre plot of valuable land.

The 150 acre Brave Boat Headwaters Preserve will be an open space for residents and visitors to the area, as it will provide a public place for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the land will allow for nature based education opportunities for area children, as well as adults, and the preserve will protect the scenic views between Brave Boat Harbor and Bartlett Road.

Locally-Owned, Family Run: Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Now Offers Commercial Insurance for Growing Businesses

By Katelyn | Oct 27, 2015 | in

By Anne Twombly

After ten years of providing the insurance needs of their New England client base for auto, home, life and health insurance, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance (PAI) is now offering Commercial coverage for local businesses. With their new commercial lines focus, the local company is able to deliver competitive rates and customized plans for businesses as they have consistently for their personal insurance clients.

“It’s a new product for our agency,” says Jessica Roberts, Senior Account Manager at PAI and head of commercial lines, “we have a lot of long-term personal lines clients who depend on us to cover their homes and autos. They may have previously asked us to quote their business, now we have the means to take care of all their insurance needs in one place. It’s exciting!”

The International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) defines an “exposure”, in the insurance industry, as “The state of being subject to loss because of some hazard or contingency.” As they do with personal insurances, Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance identifies all of the possible exposures that a business client could be subject to in operations. In identifying the specific hazards to that business, the agent can then find the best possible coverage given their unique risk.

Through personalized consultation and careful assessment of the potential exposures to a specific line of business, Roberts can make sure that such losses are properly covered. Taking the extra time and doing the research is an important part of the job.

Oil and Water: Legends of Grassroots Action

By Katelyn | Oct 27, 2015 | in

In the 1970s, Aristotle Onassis of Olympic Oil tried to build a refinery in Durham with a pipeline through Rye to the Isle of Shoals, this would have been the world’s largest oil refinery. A small group lead by Nancy Sandburg, Sharon Meeker, Dudley Dudley, Phyllis Bennett and many others took up the cause to refuse the development. After months of controversy, residents rejected to change Durham zoning laws to allow the 400,000 barrels-per-day oil refinery and tank farm covering 3000 acres of the town.

On November 17 at 6:30 p.m., three of the early activists at the forefront of the fight will share their efforts, strategies and tactics. Nancy Sandberg and Sharon Meeker of Save our Shores, and Dudley Dudley NH Legislative Representative from 1972-1976 will explain how New Hampshire fought the refinery and Virginia Prescott of New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth” will moderate the event. This interactive event will explore how those original strategies are being implemented today in other struggles and community efforts.

The event is co-hosted by the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspire, connect, and support community-based environmental projects throughout New England. NEGEF helps local, often informal, grassroots groups and those too new to qualify for support from the private and community foundations and makes grants directly to these groups.

Green Story - McLean Communications: Sharing the Best of New Hampshire

By Katelyn | Oct 26, 2015 | in

Every Green Alliance business undergoes a three part Sustainability Certification. This certification serves to show 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 see the full certification documents for New Hampshire Magazine, The Square, and NH Home, all publications of McLean Communications, on their Green Alliance pages. Check out McLean Communications' Green Story below.

McLean Communications, a division of Yankee Publishing, is passionate about our state. As publishers of New Hampshire Home, New Hampshire Magazine, and The Square, the McLean team takes pride in our communities. “Our goal is to highlight why New Hampshire is so unique,” explains Sharron McCarthy, President/Publisher at McLean Communications. “Part of the reason we’re unique is because our citizens, businesses, and nonprofits are changing what it means to be green. McLean uses soy based inks and environmentally friendly finishes on our magazine products to assist in this mission."

Although each magazine caters to a different demographic, all McLean publications have embraced the environmental movement. Every spring, New Hampshire Home highlights sustainable construction and architecture in their “Green Issue.” New Hampshire Magazine raises awareness about environmental issues with stories about local business and nonprofit initiatives. Articles in The Square feature leaders from Seacoast communities who are helping to build a strong New Hampshire economy. With their magazines, McLean has the opportunity to promote sustainability throughout New Hampshire. 

My Breast Cancer Support Raffle - Win a Scooter from EZ Bikes and Scooters!

By Anne | Oct 21, 2015 | in
Love local scooter and electric bike source, EZ Bike and Scooters of Exeter? You could win one of their beautiful Mio 50 scooters by entering into the My Breast Cancer Support raffle. The drawing for the lucky winner of this $2,500 machine will be on October 31st. That means there’s still time to purchase tickets for a chance to win while donating to an awesome local cause that aids victims of cancer and their families in the greater seacoast area.
My Breast Cancer Support is a local non-profit organization dedicated to aiding the victims and families of breast cancer. Two thousand individuals in New Hampshire and Maine are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. My Breast Cancer Support focuses on mitigating the financial stress that the disease can inflict on families. Scientific research shows that high stress levels can actually interfere with the body’s immune system and have a negative impact on the course of the disease. My Breast Cancer Support’s website sums up this mission as; “we’re here to lend a hand, to ease a patient’s discomfort, and to help take the day-to-day stress out of their lives so they can focus their energy on getting WELL.”

Comedian Wendy Liebman Hits the Stage to Benefit NH Sierra Club

By Katelyn | Oct 21, 2015 | in

Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates, in partnership with the Boston Comedy Festival will bring Wendy Liebman to the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth on November 8, at 7:00 p .m.

Liebman has been seen on America's Got Talent, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, Jimmy Kimmel Live and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. She has also been a regular on the Late Show with David Letterman. Steve Scarfo, a Boston Comedy Festival favorite, will open the show.

10% of net proceeds from the show will benefit the New Hampshire Sierra Club. New Hampshire Sierra Club is a non-profit member-supported, public interest organization that promotes conservation of New Hampshire's natural environment by influencing public policy decisions—legislative, administrative, legal, and electoral. There are more than 10,000 Sierra Club members and supporters in New Hampshire and over 2.1 million across the country.

Richard Smith and his Portsmouth-based company, Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates, have a long history of representing musicians and music festivals from all over the Seacoast -- and the country. Cuzin Richard offers a vast array of music and entertainment services, event planning for weddings, family entertainment, corporate functions, graduations, organizing and managing of fundraisers, and more.