Blog

Five Green Tips from Eco Firebox

By Mary | Mar 5, 2014 | in

This week’s Green Tips come from the folks at Eco Firebox, an Eliot company specializing in hyper-efficient, green radiant heat for your home! Learn more about EcoFirebox at www.ecofirebox.org.

1. Wood burns best when the moisture content is less than 20 percent. You can purchase a wood moisture meter to test the moisture content of your wood before you buy or burn it.

2. Season wood outdoors through the summer for at least 6 months before burning it. Properly seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and echoes a high-pitched "tinny” sound when smacked against another piece of wood.

3. Never burn coated, painted, pressure-treated, ocean driftwood, plywood, particle board, or any wood with glue on or in it. They all release toxic chemicals when burned.

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.

Contemporary Artistic Collaboration Raises Aesthetics of its Constituent Parts

By Madelaine | Mar 4, 2014 | in

PORTSMOUTH — Coalescing grace of human form with beauty in craftsmanship and expression, two local concerns are synergizing their respective strengths to feature local artistry.

The Drift Gallery now has exhibition space at Zev Yoga.

The idea seemed a suitable fit for both organizations’ principals. A few months ago, Jonas Zev Amberger, owner and teacher of Zev Yoga, contacted Ali Goodwin, the director and curator of Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, with an idea to collaborate. Jonas Zev and his wife Amylyn wanted to take further advantage of Zev’s beautiful studio space. It seemed fitting as the studio in a past life was once an Art Gallery. The partnership brings a new installment each month to Zev’s studio space. Public artist receptions will coincide with Portsmouth’s First Friday Art ‘Round Town gallery walk.

The Power to Choose: Your Options for Electricity

By Madelaine | Mar 4, 2014 | in

“There is confusion about energy supply choices, a lot of headlines about energy markets in the news, and people are wondering if they should switch to a competitive supplier. The answer is that switching makes a lot of sense for many consumers.”

— Christophe Courchesne, Conservation Law Foundation

RYE — Christophe Courchesne of Conservation Law Foundation and Julie Lapham of ENH Power will be making a presentation, “The Power to Choose: Your Options for Electricity” on Thursday March 6th at the Rye Public Library, starting at 6:45 p.m. Sponsored by the Rye Energy Committee, the presentation will aim to help attendees make choices about their energy use and suppliers with information regarding how they can save money and take advantage of new, cleaner options.

Courchesne is an attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. CLF has been working to protect New England’s environment since 1966, using law, science, policymaking and the business market to create innovative solutions to our region’s most pressing environmental challenges.

As part of its work to advance a clean energy future for New Hampshire, CLF helped initiate the EmpowerNH campaign, which is encouraging New Hampshire residents to consider making the switch to a competitive electricity supplier and provides supplier-neutral information resources on consumer options. EmpowerNH partners include environmental groups like CLF and competitive suppliers like ENH Power. The coalition also includes the Seacoast’s own Green Alliance, a green business union and consumer co-op that works to educate businesses and consumers on sustainability, and local renewable energy company ReVision Energy. EmpowerNH believes that choosing a competitive supplier benefits New Hampshire residents, businesses, the state’s economy, and its environment.

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.”

Green Collar Careers: Candace Lord, General Manager of Green Cocoon

By Theresa | Mar 3, 2014 | in

Green Cocoon offers eco-friendly and energy efficient insulation products for clients around New England. Launched in 2007, Green Cocoon found a niche in an industry not known for being kind to the environment. By offering innovative insulators such as soy-based spray foam, cellulose and denim, Green Cocoon has gained a loyal following. Their high-performance products offer supreme moisture protection, are long-lasting and have been proven to be safe for people, animals and the environment.

General Manager Candace Lord, 29, started work with Green Cocoon in 2011. Lord is passionate about the work her company does. “I love that we can help people and the environment,” Lord said. “Our products save our clients money by reducing their heating costs, which softens their impact on the planet. It’s a win-win for everyone.” 

Theresa Conn (TC): What do you like most about your job?
Candace Lord (CL): I love meeting people and building relationships with our clients. I also like that every day is so different. I get bored quickly, but luckily my job keeps me on my toes. On any given day, I could be doing accounting in my office, pitching our product over the phone or networking at mixers. I do 50 different things all the time, and I cherish that.

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.

Blue Ocean Society: Top Contender in Patagonia Crowdrise Challenge

By Mary | Feb 28, 2014 | in

PORTSMOUTH —  Are you passionate about protecting the environment and marine wildlife? Blue Ocean Society presents the perfect opportunity for you to show just how much you care.

The Blue Ocean Society is a Green Alliance Business Partner that recently got involved in an amazing opportunity to raise money for its organization. Patagonia and Moosejaw are offering a challenge on Crowdrise.com, a Web site through which people can donate money, for charities to compete in raising funds. The organization that raises the most funds by noon on March 13 will receive an additional contribution courtesy of Patagonia. The winner with the most donations on Crowdrise will receive a $5,000 donation. Second and third place charities will also get a monetary reward.  

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 kimry@revisionenergy.com 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.

This Month's Green Item: Green Printers

By Madelaine | Feb 27, 2014 | in

Jenaly Technology Group is unique IT firm, committed to providing affordable solutions for businesses, and making sustainable choices. Jenaly makes a conscious effort to do all it can to reduce its carbon footprint. It is a strong advocate of digitalizing documents (their own and those of their clients) in order to save paper. It advocates recycling and makes its green tips and advice public on its website. Each month it recommends a different “Green Item.” These items are simple eco-friendly items that you can incorporate in your every day life.

This month’s “Green Item(s)” is green printers! This is a smart ways to be green and save on your printing costs. Invest in a printer that automatically prints on both sides of paper, this is called “duplex printing.” Another easy tip is to print in “draft mode.” Your document will print faster and use less ink! Printers with these capabilities also save power and electricity.

Jenlay’s blog frequently offers these simple tips and more interesting stories about their business!