By Emily Norloff
Green Alliance Writer
A safe and healthy home. That is what Community Toolbox offers their customers. With their three-tier business model, and team of volunteers, Community Toolbox is a non-profit that works like none other.
“We do something special here,” said Cheryl Van Allen, Community Toolbox's Executive Director. “There is a gap in the community's need for affordable repair work and we're here to fill it.”
In June, Community Toolbox celebrated the approval of their 501c3 nonprofit status from the state of New Hampshire with an open house at their Retail Outlet.
The event served as an opportunity for the public to see first-hand how Community Toolbox approaches a project. Dressed in matching light-blue t-shirts, Community Toolbox's team of volunteers were on-hand to answer the public's questions regarding how the Retail Outlet receives the products it sells and the type of work the volunteers do on home projects.
Also in attendance were those members of the community who have received help through Community Toolbox's Fix-It program. Though the open house was short, lasting roughly an hour, the event marked an important moment in Community Toolbox's history.
When building or renovating a home, many are focused entirely on the aesthetics of the construction, choosing between fancy wood flooring and granite countertops. What these homeowners may not realize is the potential the framework and surface or “skeleton and skin” of the home hold for green, environmentally friendly installation options. The “skeleton and skin” of a home accounts for everything from paint, lighting, installation and heating options to name a few. Little Green Homes are experts at taking these sustainable options and making them a reality in your home.
Little Green Homes are focused at providing clients with the most energy efficient, most durable and quality materials to improve any homeowners living experience. To decrease the environmental footprint of your home, Little Green Homes have three criteria in mind. First, they only incorporate sustainable and/or recycled materials. This avoids the use of synthetic materials in your home by using natural materials that don’t interrupt the ecological balance of the area they are extracted from. Secondly, the conservation of water and electricity is extremely important in the construction of a Little Green Home by incorporating Energy-Star rated appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Last but not least building “not so big” homes that meet the homeowner’s needs without excess space and materials.
The Green Alliance and the Gundalow Company are teaming up this summer to get Seacoast area residents out on the Piscataqua River. Become a member of the Green Alliance (for only $35) and get a free ticket aboard one of the Gundalow Company’s sails! With sail tickets valued up to $40, there is no better time to join the Green Alliance Community! The membership pays for itself instantly!
The Green Alliance and the Gundalow Company will also be giving away two tickets weekly all summer long. Thursday, July 10 the Green Alliance will put up a question that can be found on the GA facebook page. The first person to correctly answer the question will receive two tickets for any of the Gundalow Company’s public sails!
The Gundalow Company is a business partner of the Green Alliance, working to bring sustainability to the Seacoast Area. This non-profit strives to connect community members with the historic icon of river commerce, while simultaneously working to encourage a sense of environmental stewardship for the region’s waterways.
Living a life of adventure means that injury is inevitable at some point. Unfortunately, that time has come for adventure seeker Forrest Frizzell. While skiing the diagonal at Huntington’s Ravine on Mount Washington, Forrest, boyfriend and great friend of Green Alliance photographer Lenka Flaherty, broke his back.
In an effort to take some of the financial burden of the injury off Frizzell’s shoulders, a fundraiser has been organized. The fundraiser will be held on July 19th at Skydive New England in Lebanon, ME. It will start at 8 a.m. and go until sunset. There will be raffle tickets available all day; prizes include a free tandem jump, two half day rock climbing tours, half day sea kayaking tour, private tour and tasting and Baxter Brewing Company, a free one year Zev Yoga membership, a Green Alliance membership, discounts on skydiving equipment, and many more goodies!
So you’re watching the World Cup, thinking “Eh, these guys are a bunch of hacks. I could play better than them!”
Alright, maybe not, and if you did think that, you’re probably wrong. You know what you can do though? Play FootGolf, which is pretty much what it sounds like.
If you haven’t heard yet, FootGolf is sweeping the globe, starting in Europe in 2009, to the United States, and eventually New England. Sagamore Golf in North Hampton is the first in the area to offer the game, which involves kicking a soccer ball across a regulation golf course, and into a soccer ball-sized hole. The rules are the same as golf, but perfect for soccer players and people of all ages who want to get the golf course experience.
The Green Alliance is proud to welcome Lenka Flaherty Photography!
Flaherty first fell in love with the medium of photography as a child in the Czech Republic. Watching her parents snap photos as they traveled inspired a life-long passion within Flaherty to try and capture the beauty of the nature with her camera lens.
"Nature to me is what is important, it's the place where we live, the place we enjoy, and to me mountains and woods and rivers give me satisfaction to be in and around," said Flaherty.
Flaherty earned her Masters in Environmental Engineering before moving to the United States in 2003 where she pursued her passion for photography at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester. She studied with some of the top names in the wedding photography industry including; Kevin Focht, Doug Gordon and David Ziser.
Today Flaherty is one of the most requested photographers in the area. Her portraits and wedding portfolio gorgeously capture her clients' happiest moments. With her travel and environmental photography, Flaherty hopes to inspire all those who view her work to recognize the beauty of our planet's natural landscapes and wildlife and work to preserve it.
Six years ago, Acorn Organic Salon opened with a single mission in mind: to provide customers with a multitude of animal-friendly, sustainable products and services that spoke to the Seacoast region’s ever-greening sensibilities. Today that mission is still very much alive, just in a different place. Situated neatly underneath Dover Natural Marketplace, the move seems fitting.
Though the new location is smaller than Acorn’s flagship location, owner Laura MacKay is embracing its charm.
“People like the new location a lot better,” she said. We have more sunshine here, a better view, we’ve had people come in before that have lived in Dover their whole lives and never new we existed because we were hidden in our old location.”
Downsizing in space unfortunately also meant downsizing in services. Due to lack of space and demand, Acorn Salon no longer offers manicures and pedicures.
“We still sell the nail polish, but we did have some customers who were bummed out because nail salons are such a toxic environment, however were focusing on what we do best and love to do, and that’s hair,” she said. The new space has also enabled them to cut down on energy costs. “We rewired this location to provide us with just the amount of energy we needed, no more, and no less.” By doing so, they are saving hundreds of dollars monthly on utilities, according to MacKay.
Some things really are just as good as they seem and Our Town Energy Alliance is one of them! For over a decade the OTEA has prided themselves on being able to help their members save money all while helping them to also reduce their lasting impact on the environment.
When Dan and Cate saw that the price of heating oil, propane and kerosene was on the rise they wanted to start the OTEA to help people find energy and fuel at cheaper costs. The OTEA was started in 1999 with the primary idea of helping senior citizens save on heating cost in the cold winter months. However, since then the OTEA has grown to help all types of families and commercial and non-profit businesses.
For a small membership fee, the OTEA works as a third party to research pricing plans and find the optimal amount of savings for their members. The OTEA works only with trusted oil-vendors that have proven track records in the past.
The way you save comes from strength in numbers. OTEA members pool their purchasing power and are able to negotiate lower prices with the energy vendors. They takes all of the needs of their members and seek out and talk to the vendors for them. From there, the vendors make an offer to the members and they can either accept or deny the offered price. If they accept the members work with the vendor directly like they normally would and if they choose to deny the offer, they will have to wait to the next round of bidding.
Zev Yoga of Exeter NH is putting on a Women's Self Defense Workshop "Grace under Pressure". Are you ready to unlock your inner warrior? Attend this class for $25 per person, or $40 for a combined mother/daughter fee. If you are interested in this great informational class attend it on Saturday, August 9 from 9 - 10:30 a.m. at the Zev Yoga studio. Some of what you will learn in this class includes; what to do if you are being assaulted, the key to mastering control of your emotions and energy, how to find composure in chaos and how to handle your attacker regardless of your strength or size. Attend this class to learn about these topics and more!
Seacoast resident Chris Yonker will be teaching this class and is a 7 degree Black Belt in Sanchin Ryu Karate. He has been instructing this American/ Okinawan style of karate since 1990, and holds weekly classes through Exeter Parks and Recreation. Chris takes a fun, dynamic, and grounded approach to Self Defense and Personal Mastery.
To view more information about Zev Yoga, and their class schedule visit their website here!
Green Member card holders can purchase a one month trial membership at any Zev Yoga studio for $25! Annual memberships start at $25/month for new members and $40/month for returning members as well!
In the beginning of 2013, the Redhook Ale Brewery kicked off their community give-back program. The program was designed to help local nonprofits raise extra funds and give them the opportunity to increase awareness of their cause. For the year of 2013, the brewery donated ten percent of its total restaurant sales on Tuesdays to various local charities, choosing one charity for each month of 2013. A year and a half later, the program is still going strong.
The goal of the program is to build relationships with local charities so that the brewery and the local community have more opportunities to give back. The requisites of the program were that the charities were local and meaningful to the brewery so that the program could have the most impact to our community.
This month’s recipient is Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity. Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that works to build and renovate decent, affordable homes to those in need. Their mission is simple, to eliminate poverty housing in Southeast New Hampshire. SENH Habitat for Humanity ReStore raises money through donations and programs such as Redhook’s as well as through SENH Habitat for Humanity ReStore. SENH Habitat for Humanity ReStore offers donated, new and reusable building materials.
The Green Alliance prides itself in bringing businesses and consumers together under one sustainable roof. On Thursday, July 11th, that roof will be on the Piscataqua River, as the Green Alliance and NHPTV will team up with the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company for a cruise on the M/V Thomas Laighton.
“This is probably the biggest party we have all year,” says Green Alliance Director Sarah Brown. “We’re ecstatic to have NHPTV on board with us as well. Not only is it a great party, but it’s a great opportunity for sustainable businesses to meet up with sustainable people, which is our greatest goal and achievement.”
NHPTV Manager of Community Relations Bryn Burns was excited for the station to collaborate with the Green Alliance in putting on the event.
“The Green Alliance does so much good for the local business community, ourselves included,” says Burns. “This a great opportunity for us to let everyone know about our environmental programming; nature gives us such opportunities for education, which has always been a priority for us.”
The cruise, exclusive to Green Alliance business and consumer members, promises a full night of drinks, dancing, live local music, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Those who wish to attend may sign up for a membership at www.greenalliance.biz.
It has been nine years since Shane Carter founded Ridgeview Construction, a sustainable building and remodeling company. Ridgeview knows how to transform any customer’s standard, inefficient house into a sustainable home. From blueprints and preparation to construction and finishing touches, Carter and his team consider every small detail. Ridgeview doesn't operate according to the “more, cheaper, faster" philosophy of other building companies, instead paying careful attention to design and precision.
Ridgeview Construction works on small-scale renovations, large scale customized homes, and everything in between. By discussing priorities and expenses with customers, Ridgeview can determine the right plan of action that is cost-efficient and offers clients the aesthetics and green options they desire. Each job is done in a sustainable manner and incorporates Low Impact Development strategies when dealing with road and driveway construction, storm water drainage and hydrology management, all while protecting the surrounding environmental resources.
Many companies today strive to be international or corporate, and model their business around a “bigger is better” mentality. However, for Favorite Foods, the sentiment is more quality over quantity.
Owners Chris and Jeff Barstow pride themselves on their company’s strictly local business policy. Favorite Foods focuses on helping support local independently run schools, markets, restaurants and other small New Hampshire seacoast businesses by efficiently providing them with fresh food and competitive prices.
In 2012, Favorite Foods installed a system of 572 solar panels to their roof. The energy generated runs their industrial size coolers and freezers that take up space of seven Olympic sized swimming pools. Their use of LED and CLF light bulbs, sensors that detect movement and shut of lights and machines not in use are only a handful of things the company is doing to follow their green dreams. Compared to national competitors, Favorite Foods’ carbon footprint is significantly lower and is continuing to drop.
Today, families across New Hampshire are watching their favorite shows on New Hampshire Public Television; people everywhere are streaming Nova, Frontline, and American Experience on nhptv.org. Teachers utilize NHPTV materials to expanding learning opportunities for their students. While technology shifts and television changes, it is comforting to many knowing that NHPTV remains committed to the programming its viewers have come to know and love. The commercial free programming is engaging minds, connecting communities, and celebrating the region in an educational and entertaining way.
Since becoming an independent nonprofit in 2011, NHPTV is now fueled solely by its viewers and donations. Each donation goes towards keeping the system running smoothly and programs playing consistently. Many of NHPTV’s educational resources and workshops are offered free of charge to educators, parents and children. Their station offers a wide range of topics: literacy, health care, childhood obesity, bullying, aging, and the environment. NHPTV is partnering with New Hampshire communities and organizations to spread the word of these important topics.
The UNH Dairy Bar has stayed the same in size but grown considerably in sustainability since UNH Dining reopened the Dairy Bar with a green image in mind. With the heat of the summer in full swing there is no better time to enjoy some famous Gifford’s Ice Cream at the UNH Dairy Bar. With almost six years of experience under their belt the Dairy Bar knows how to make a great lunch with taste and the environment in mind.
The Dairy Bar is located at the Durham Train Station on the UNH campus. They have taken sustainability to the next level in recent years through recycling and composting programs, carefully researched and chosen products, produce grown on campus, approximately 75% of food sourced locally, and countertops made from recycled glass.
In recent years as part of an effort to increase sustainability UNH Dining invested in two high tunnels for the use of the UNH Dairy Bar and other dining locations. The high tunnels allow UNH Dining to grow produce right on campus. This not only decreases food miles but also enhances taste and freshness. The high tunnels have been a collaborative effort between UNH Dining and the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at UNH. This program has also enabled students to get involved through a class called Food Production Field Experience. In this class students get a hands on approach to food production as well as offers labor assistance to high tunnel manager.