We’re happy to announce that EZ Bikes and Scooters will be with the Green Alliance for another year! That means another great year of storytelling and another great year of discounts.
In case you don’t know, EZ Bikes and Scooters offers an array of electric bikes, scooters, mopeds and more. An electric bike is one where the rider controls whether or not to pedal with their feet or use the motor, so it can be used to zip somewhere fast or just for exercise!
If you're a business or apartment complex owner who made substantial energy efficiency upgrades to your property last year, you will be glad to learn 2014 was a good year for reducing your taxes. On December 16, 2014, Congress passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which reinstated the Energy Policy Act of 2006. The reinstated act enables tax incentives for businesses and building owners for 2014. President Obama signed the bill when it was presented to him.
What does that mean for business owners? According to Jeff Hiatt of Performance Business Solutions, this could be a substantial benefit to your business.
The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (TIPA) reenacted a 50 percent bonus depreciation for energy efficient commercial buildings, and energy deductions. This allows building owners to take up to $1.80 per square foot for efficiency upgrades they made during 2014. Apartment building owners could get up to a $2,000 per unit Federal Tax Credit.
Why was the Energy Policy Act ever "off the table?" It's a puzzling question that started at its outset in 2006. At that time, the law stated that if a building owner made efficiency upgrades to buildings, he or she could take either a deduction or tax credit for having made that improvement to the building. That policy was in place until December 31, 2013 when it was supposed to "sunset," or disappear. However, this past December, Congress decided to act as if the sunset never occurred and reenacted the policy.
"The good news is, the policy is back in play for 2014," said Hiatt. "The bad news is, people who could have potentially moved on a project, might not have implemented that project because they thought the tax incentive was gone."
The Green Alliance has created a new column focusing on our individual members and their efforts towards a more sustainable lifestyle: Meet a Green Alliance Member. We want to hear from our members and learn about how they shop local and make more environmentally friendly decisions every day. Our first story featured Josh Denton, who has worked on sustainability initiatives both here in Portsmouth and beyond, check out his column on the GA Blog and in the January 2015 Green Families Club Newsletter.
As a member based organization, we not only care about, but rely on, how our members choose to shop locally and be more environmentally conscious. It benefits the GA to know more about our members so we can better meet their needs and tailor what we do to best fit what they are looking for in the GA. The background of individual members and what they do in the community is important to us and we enjoy learning how members make choices to live more sustainably. If you are a member interested in sharing more about yourself and interested in being featured on our blog and in a GA newsletter then we would love to hear from you!
Portsmouth's Harbor Eyecare Center will be hosting a Girl's Night Out Style Event on Thursday, February 19th from 5 - 7:30 pm. You and your friends can enjoy an evening to shop for fashion eyewear with Harbor Eyecare's team of professional frame stylists. This free and open event features special guest Bobbie Mirabito from New York eyewear company MODO. Mirabito will be showcasing eyewear styles from the entirely new MODO and ECO Collections. ECO is Harbor Eyecare Center's environmentally-friendly fashion eyewear, and is the only brand in the world that makes their frames from 95% recycled materials, with their cases made from recycled water bottles. It is also the only eyewear brand to recieve an Environmental Claims Validation from UL Environment, a world leader in product evaluation. ECO provides tangible support to Trees for the Future, and will plant a tree for every pair of glasses sold.
What: Located in Exeter, RiverWoods is not a stereotypical retirement community. Founded in 1994 by Seacoast residents, the nonprofit continuing care retirement community offers an impressive list of amenities, including independent, assisted living and skilled nursing, a wellness center, dining rooms at each of its three Exeter campuses, three pools and fitness centers, resident-run country stores and more.
Ahead of the curve in its industry, RiverWoods has a number of sustainability initiatives in place to make it one of the greenest retirement communities in the region. Upgrades to all three campuses include automated heating systems, LED and CFL lighting fixtures and a solar thermal system for heating water in kitchens. All three pools feature saline water instead of traditional chlorine.
RiverWoods also has its own group of sustainably minded environmental activists, known as the Sustainability Committee, who work to further green initiatives at all three campuses and in the surrounding community. The Sustainability Committee is working to increase recycling use throughout its three campuses and educates residents on the follies of using garbage disposals, advocating for individual composting instead.
"Fossil fuels are history, and renewable energy is our future" is the message that fossil fuel divestment supporters from all around the world are working to spread to as many people as possible. Internationally, renewable energy is cheaper than ever and the climate movement is on the rise. Global Divestment Day is intended to spread the word about taking action and demanding individuals and businesses as a whole to stray from the use of fossil fuels. The goal is to encourage people and institutions to move their public money away from fossil fuels and directly challenge the social license of the fossil fuel industry. College students are expected to hold flash-mobs, vigils, rallies, and sit-ins about their intentions to end their use of fossil fuels and support and participate in the movement of renewable energy. Faith leaders, administrators, business leaders, and individuals in general will work together to show the world that we are serious about the divestment movement and won't stop until we see results.
Winter has officially arrived! Folks all across New Hampshire and New England have been experiencing several inches and even feet of snow in the last week. Blizzard "Juno" struck and left New England with record low temperatures and accumulations of over two feet in some areas. "Juno" isn't the end of it, though. The snow is continuing and causing schools and local businesses to close, and there isn't an end in sight. The snow is predicted to continue this week and during the month at a steady pace. Our New England culture as caused us to spend the majority of these days outdoors and embracing the snow and possibly days off.
Starting now and running through tomorrow, Green Alliance is offering a "real winter" joining opportunity. Join the Green Alliance with a Green Families membership or regular membership for the reduced price of only $25.00 and support local green businesses and sustainable community initiatives. Receive members-only discounts with our local green businesses, and not only will you save money, but you will have the opportunity to stay connected with our monthly Green Alliance Gazette and our nationally recognized blog with stories focused on our business partners, community programs and local green events.
Film on Dependence on Fossil Fuels and the Military's Move to Renewable Energy to Screen on Seacoast
The Truman National Security Project will be presenting a screening of the film “The Burden: Fossil Fuels, the Military, and National Security.” The documentary, directed by Roger Sorkin, shows why the U.S. dependence on fossil fuels is the greatest long-term threat to national security and how the military is trying to move to renewable energy. Join The Truman National Security Project for the screening of this educational and important film. The website for “The Burden” states, “The film presents in stark terms the urgent need to accelerate our transition from oil in the name of strengthening national security. While many elected officials privately express concern about our environmental and energy challenges, many refuse to do so publicly for fear of the political consequences. 'The Burden' hopes to change this equation.”
The screening will be at The Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth on February 18th starting at 5:30 p.m. with the reception. Senator Jeanne Shaheen will give the opening remarks. The screening itself starts at 6 p.m. and is followed by a panel discussion of the film with Michael Breen, executive director of The Truman National Security Project, Hon. Sharon Burke, former assistant secretary of defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, and Rear Admiral Jonathan White, director U.S. Navy Task Force on Climate Change.
Portsmouth-based painter Jeannie Griffin-Peterka will be displaying her talents in the Drift Gallery's collaborative space for their January 4 - March 30 exhibition, at Zev Yoga Studio (16 Market Square, above Breaking New Grounds) in Portsmouth, NH. About her work, Griffin-Peterka states "“I start by putting color on the canvas, drawing with charcoal or paint, adding layers of paint and soon something will begin to emerge. I turn the canvas constantly so that it’s worked from all directions. I only decide at the end, which way it should hang. I’m currently working with multiple panels and joining them together in the back. I like seeing the energy between the panels and the sharp line made from joining the panels. There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing one or more freshly stretched canvases hanging on my studio wall and wondering what the final painting will look like.“
Zev Yoga Studio is known for using their studio as a community space, offering it for educational events and workships in addition to art exhibitions. Zev emphasizes a traditionally-rooted, holistically-minded approach to yoga which promotes overall health - the "sustainability" of the individual. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.
There were a myriad of names people called this week’s blizzard that swept the Northeast – Juno, Snowpocalypse, Snowmaggedon, Snowzilla, Colbie. Those aware of the detrimental and dramatic weather events caused by climate change have another name for the storm – Predictable. Those in denial about climate change's effects on winter weather will often claim if global warming is real, then what’s with all the snow? Climatologists such as Dr. Kevin Trenberth have explained repeatedly that a large contribution to these massive snow storms is in fact due to human-induced climate change. Trenberth explained that:
“The number one cause of this is that it is winter. In winter it is cold over the continent. But it
is warm over the oceans and the contrast between the cold continent and the warm Gulf
Stream and surrounding waters is increasing. At present sea surface temperatures are more
the two degrees Fahrenheit above normal over huge expanses (1000 miles) off the east coast and water vapor in the atmosphere is about 10 percent higher as a result. About half of this can be attributed to climate change.”
The Brixham Montessori Friends School in York will join other private schools throughout the seacoast region at the first Seacoast Private School Expo. The event will be held on January 31 from 10 a.m. to noon at Seacoast Waldorf School in Eliot, Maine. With an atmosphere similar to that of a college fair, the expo will give parents insight into the private schools they're interested in enrolling their children in, as well as give them the opportunity to meet face to face with teachers. During the expo parents can also meet with administrators to discuss issues such as financial aid, the application process, and student and community life. In addition to the different level of schools present - preschool, elementary, middle and high school - businesses focused on childhood enrichment activities will also be present to educate parents on outside school projects.
The expo is free and open to the public.
Originally founded in 1997 as the Orchard Friends School, the school expanded under the direction of founder Alicia Johnson-Grafe adopting the Brixham banner in 2000. Since the expansion, the private school has grown from teaching eight students to almost 100, including toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary students.
The 13th annual NOFA-NH Winter Conference is taking place at Rundlett Middle School in Concord, NH from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This conference includes workshops, farmer intensive programs, a keynote presentation from Janisse Ray on seed crops, networking and community-building opportunities, and a robust Green Market Fair.
The event will also feature the NOFA-NH Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, provide ample opportunities to network with local farmers, gardeners and presenters, and a robust Green Market Fair. Some of the day's activities include workshops on organic certification, legal issues for vegetable and fruit producers, balancing farming and family, scale-appropriate farm equipment, wild edibles, working with land trusts, agricultural policy, seed farming and much more!
A Green Alliance yearly membership is a great first step to show your support for local and green businesses, but what about people who want to further demonstrate their commitment? This is where the Sustaining Membership comes in to play. By joining the Green Alliance as a Sustaining Member you receive a lifetime membership to the GA and will enjoy discounts at 100+ local and sustainable businesses without every worrying about renewing your card. Every day is a great day to join the GA family of Sustaining Members, but today tops the others. In celebration of the first big snowstorm of 2015, Blizzard Juno, we are offering two FREE lift tickets to Cranmore Mountain to the first current member to upgrade from the basic GA or Green Families Club membership to the Sustaining Membership level!
Blizzard Juno brought nearly two feet of snow and what could be better than a day at Cranmore Mountain to enjoy the new powder? We are offering these two adult lift tickets to Cranmore ($128 dollar value) thanks to our Business Partner, New Hampshire Public Television. Our friends at NHPTV work to bring viewers local and educational programming, while they also strive to adopt sustainable business practices. Green Alliance members have the chance to win a variety of free passes to attractions in New Hampshire, through NHPTV, just one of the many benefits of the GA membership.
Can we count on your vote?
Every year the New Hampshire Business Review’s Best of Business (BOB) Awards Survey recognizes over 80 of the best businesses across the state in categories chosen by readers. This year, 900 Degrees Pizzeria is in the running for three separate categories: Best After Work Bar, Best Business Dinner, and Best Business Lunch. Voters can also choose to include the pizzeria in any category they see fit. Be sure to support your local green pizzeria! You can cast your vote here.
The ballot is open from now until January 31 at midnight so be sure to cast your vote soon. In order for your votes to count, you must vote for at least 15 different categories. The winners will be celebrated at the annual BOB Awards party at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on March 5, 2015.