A continuation of Green Alliance member Rebecca O'Brien's own blog following No Impact Week, a one-week carbon cleanse to reduce New Hampshire's contributions to climate change.
Sunday, May 1 – Tuesday, May 3:
The whole point of this week-long experiment is to embrace the first daily challenge and tackle it head-on throughout the week, it’s a cumulative challenge. The first challenge of the NH No Impact Week-long experiment is CONSUMPTION. Folks running this experiment suggested that we: type up a list of all the stuff you “need” to buy this week. Figure out if you can purchase them second-hand, borrow them, or make them yourself. Great idea, but remember my pre-“diet” binge? I bought all the things I thought I needed last week – new black flats and a bike for my daughter. As for this week, besides needing to buy food, that is it. My list for this week includes: cheese, cereal, wipes, milk, veggies, fruit, dog food, and fish. Although the consumption of food is of course completely allowed during this week-lng experiment, I’m still conscious of the consumptive nature of the type of food and household items I purchase in regards to packaging. Here is my plan with regards to the grocery list above – I’m not going to make dog food but I’ll be sure to buy it in a package that could be recycled. As for the wipes, I’m going to use extra paper towel that we have in the house and make my own (water and tea tree oil). And what may you ask will I do when I need a paper towel? Instead of paper towels I’ve been using small rags and hand towels. And, remember the good ol’ fashion hankie? Yes, perfect for toddler snots.
Next challenge for the day (Monday)/week is TRASH. It was suggested that we: fill [up a bag] with all of your trash, recyclables, and food waste. If you’re out of the house, carry your trash home with you. Ok, I did this and probably looked hilarious on the bus on the way to Boston as I put waste from lunch back in to my backpack (yogurt and Reesse peanut butter cup) but I did it. I have to say that TRASH and WASTE are something that my family does a good job paying attention to on a daily basis as we compost most of our by-products and recycle a lot of items. But this being the daily challenge, I paid extra special attention and apart from the Reese peanut butter cup, I ate much healthier throughout the course of the day buying items without any packaging (Equal Exchange Café in Boston was a great place for this) and drank my tea and water in a mug provided by Oxfam – also easy place to work when conscious of waste.
It's about that time of year when college students are moving out of apartments, dorms, fraternities, sororities and houses. What do those college students do with their old TV sets, printers, and computers? Many of them simply leave them on the curb to be sent to a lousy landfill. Why not put those unwanted technologies to good use for a good cause?
E-Cycle is an event designed by Project Evolution to reduce electronic waste, while raising money for a local charity. This year, on May 7th, people will have the opportunity to rid of their electronic wastes while contributing to their local community, rather than their local landfill! Drop-off your e-waste at the side parking lot of Carpenter's English Florist and Garden Center at 220 South Main Street in Newmarket. Project Evolution will collect TVs for only $10, and you can find a suggested donation list for all other items at projectevolutionnh.org. The event also includes raffle items and an opportunity to learn more about how to recycle your technology responsibly! For more information, call (603) 292-5496 or email email@example.com.
All of the profits will go to the Roots and Shoots program at Newmarket High School, whose purpose is to provide opportunities for students to realize their full potential in an environment that is accepting and comfortable. The administration, staff, parents and students commit to working together in order to create a community of "life-long learners." For more information about the Roots and Shoots Program, click here!
Project Evolution is a non-profit organization that hopes to promote technology while bringing communities together by exchanging ideas mainly focused on arts, education, community building and historic preservation. To learn more about Project Evolution NH, visit projectevolutionnh.org.
Bill Rogers of Now or Never Media is at it again! This time, he takes to the Stonyfield 5K, where he ran into the company's CE-Yo, Gary Hrishberg. Hirshberg talks about our duty to become more sustainable, and even gives a nod to our friends at Earthtec! Check it out.
Habitat for Humanity has long been known for its work on behalf of affordable housing. Now, two of the Southeastern New Hampshire chapter’s projects are adding their own, green twist.
Southeastern New Hampshire Habitat is currently completing construction of a two-family duplex on Silver Street in Rochester. Along the way, they were aided by Shane Carter and Ridgeview Construction, a company known for its environmentally-friendly methods and approaches to home building.
The Deerfield-based Ridgeview helped with much of the site work, excavation and foundation, and is poised to help with the frame. The end result? The two most recent Habitat homes will end up with EnergyStar certification.
Both Ridgeview and Habitat’s ReStore – a repurposing outlet boasting everything from paint to plywood to furniture, located in Dover – are longstanding members of Green Alliance, through which Southeastern Habitat President Tom Boisvert and Shane Carter met.
“Shane and I had talked a few times about working together on a Habitat house,” said Tom Boisvert. “He always wanted to help with a project, and when that opportunity finally came, he jumped at it.”
Long before any official partnership was formed, Carter would often donate materials and supplies leftover from renovation jobs to the ReStore, all of whose profits go directly to Habitat for Humanity.
To say the past week was a busy one for Revolution Energy would be an understatement.
Last Tuesday, Revolution’s Mike Behrmann was one of roughly ten small business owners to attend Representative Frank Guinta’s (R-NH) forum at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce – a meeting that wasn’t without its fair share of heated exchanges and debate.
Then on Wednesday, the Dover-based alternative energy company met with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Govoner Lynch and UNH President Mark Huddleston in Hudson, New Hampshire to discuss the future of federal funding for green tech in New Hampshire.
All the while, they’re completing a 60 kilowatt solar system at the East Kingston Elementary School. Slated to be finished by June, the system is expected to save the town of East Kingston upwards of $12,000 a year.
Despite having broken ground in December – a tough time of year for this or any other kind of construction – as well as having limited space in which to “shoe horn” the system, the project went off without a hitch, according to Mike Behrmann.
“In order to make the best use of the funds available, we had to start in December, but that hasn’t prevented it from being a smooth project,” said Behrmann. “Everyone involved has been great, and the quick time frame was better than just about any of us expected.”
East Kingston was able to make a large up-front payment towards the system, thanks to a grant provided by the State of New Hampshire through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Program, supported by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In just five years, Dr. Nathan Swanson has established Newmarket Dental as the Seacoast region’s premiere sustainable dental practice, offering everything from corn-based rinse cups to biodegradable toothbrushes made from recycled plastic. Now, Swanson has invested $30,000 in digital x-ray technology, a move he says is already paying dividends for the environment and public health.
“Patients who get digital x-rays are exposed to 1/3 the radiation of conventional x-rays,” Swanson is proud to report.
Going digital has helped Newmarket Dental to minimize hazardous waste. Gone now are the sheets of lead once used to absorb excess radiation found in traditional x-ray film. Swanson and his staff no longer have to spend time developing x-rays, a process that involved chemical fixers and developers. “At least one of those chemicals was definitely hazardous waste,” he notes.
Digital imaging technology also makes it easier for Swanson’s patients to see cavities up close while they are still less than a millimeter in size. “X-rays used to be a postage stamp size image on film,” he explains. “Now the image comes right up on the computer and can be blown up to the size of the screen.” As a result, patients are better able to understand what procedures are needed immediately, and what realistically can wait awhile. It’s a change that fits in well with Swanson’s emphasis on providing patients with all the details they need to make more informed decisions about their dental health.
Watching a receptionist thumb through the pages of voluminous scheduling book used to be the norm for patients waiting to schedule their next appointment at the local dentist’s office. “The whole thing had the organization of a paper sack,” Swanson says of the old file-keeping model. At Newmarket Dental, scheduling and insurance processing are now done electronically, saving time, paper, and ultimately money.
Water season has arrived in the Seacoast. That means increased water usage for many property owners and managers during lawn and garden season. It also means higher water bills.
Home, auto, and boat insurance are the types of products and services we buy, but hope to never use. As such, many people know little about how the insurance business works.
Rebecca O'Brien is a Green Alliance member, who really enjoys frequenting our business partners, and is proud to flash her Green Card downtown. On top of buying green, Rebecca is participating in and blogging about No Impact Week, a one-week carbon cleanse to reduce New Hampshire's contributions to climate change. The initiative is based on the film No Impact Man, and the No Impact Experiment. Are you up for the challenge? Click here to participate in No Impact Week along with Rebecca and countless other Granite Staters looking to lower their carbon footprint.
Friday, April 29 – morning of Sunday, May 1:
When launching in to a diet, there are those that count down the days before starting say dawn on Sunday, and then cram as much chocolate and ice cream in as possible before beginning the day with a boiled egg and a piece of toast. Or, others believe that if you have the itch to start, then just well, get on with it. Well, I’ve been kind of stuck in those two worlds the last several days while “I think” a lot about starting but have not actually started.
So, let’s begin with some confessions…I had the itch to start this experiment on Friday when all I was thinking was IMPACT and my first challenge, CONSUMPTION. I know I needed to buy new shoes for work this weekend, toyed with the idea of swinging by Goodwill to buy some used ones and then immediately gave in and bought new black flats – darn! I can’t even keep a promise for one afternoon! Ok, so I just ate all the prerequisite pre-diet pint of ice cream. So, to mitigate this foul move, I decided to save energy and electricity by not opening my garage door when I got home. I instead, went in the house via the front door, and my key got stuck in the lock. Ok, not off to a good start…but boy have I been paying attention to how much I “consume”.
Father-son business might seem like quaint relics of centuries past. But one New Hampshire building company is proving that keeping it in the family – combined with a decidedly 21st century focus: green – is as good a recipe for success as ever.
Launched in 2007 by Roger and Ethan Korpi, Eco Sound specializes in a more conscious method of building homes – one that takes as its chief goal the long term durability and sustainability of the finished project.
Indeed, Eco Sound makes no bones about it: they want your home to stand for hundreds of years, in the process making you admit that there are companies out there who can still “build ‘em like they used to”.
Whether it’s sourcing wood from FSC and SFI certified forests, incorporating super-efficient insulation, or subcontracting with local outfits who themselves specialize in using non-toxic paints and locally sourced materials, Eco Sound has in three short years built a solid reputation based on principles of quality and efficiency as timeless as the idea of the “family business” itself.
“We feel like there’s been a much stronger desire in terms of people incorporating more green products and high efficiency approaches into the construction of their homes,” says Ethan. “Obviously doing so can come at a cost, but we try and help people find that balance between efficiency and how they always dreamed their home to look like.”
Many on the Seacoast are familiar with the “farm-to-table” movement – the philosophy whereby restaurants seek to get more of their ingredients from local sources.
Now, Southern Maine residents and business – including the GA’s Clay Hill Farm – are adding their own little twist. Call it “farm-to-lunchroom”.
Throwing their weight behind a program nearly a year in the making, the York-based restaurant recently purchased a 300-pound side of beef from Archer Angus farm in Buxton, Maine. In return, Archer Angus provided a $50 credit to the York School Department’s lunch program, in the process helping bring a local, organic, and free range option into its lunchroom.
Originally launched as a way for residents to help support the farm-to-table movement, last month Clay Hill Farm became the first business to participate in the program.
According to Jennifer Lewis-McShera, co-owner of Clay Hill Farm, the restaurant’s involvement came about more by chance than anything else.
“We actually heard about the residential program as parents in the local schools,” recalls McShera, whose restaurant and wedding venue has of late taken to incorporating more local food into its own menu. “When we contacted the folks at Archer Angus, they were a little surprised, because they hadn’t had any businesses interested in participating at that point.”
“Luckily they were excited to have us on board, and we were excited to help do our part to support local farmers,” she said.
Clay Hill plans to include a special cut of Archer’s meat for a proposed summer special insert menu, which McShera hopes will feature 100 percent local fare.
Fans of the book and documentary film No Impact Man will want to pay close attention to the Green Alliance blog next week. From May 1 to May 8, Rebecca O’Brien of Portsmouth will be posting regular updates about her experience as a participant in NH No Impact Week, a truncated version of Beavan’s effort to live in New York City with no environmental impact.
“The No Impact Experiment is a one-week carbon cleanse that allows you to experience the difference lowering your impact can have your quality of life, community, and planet!” according to the initiative’s website, where anyone can sign up to join the hundreds of Granite Staters who will be participating.
Going green is no experiment for O’Brien, a Green Alliance member who spends her days helping nonprofits achieve their missions, and ensure their programs are sustainable. Lately, O’Brien has been doing her part to support the local economy by frequenting local GA member businesses in Portsmouth. “I have been flashing my Green card downtown!” she is happy to report.
Greenovations is now offering handmade, 97.7% recycled copper sinks from Premier Copper Products. In addition to their beauty, the benefits of copper products are innumerable. Purchasing a copper sink ensures longevity because copper has the ability to regenerate itself infinitely. You'll have no need for superfluous cleaning products, since copper contains natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties - a sink that essentially cleans itself.
Additionally, copper produces patina, an environmental barrier that protects the sink from rusting and becoming aesthetically unappealing. As if you needed another reason to love copper, it is eternally renewable and recyclable, so that your old copper sink (should you ever choose to get rid of it) would take up significantly less room in the landfill than most other types of sinks would.
What's more, these copper sinks are affordable and available locally at Greenovations, a business that has no trouble finding innovative, sustainable products to sell. Christopher Ring, owner of Greenovations is proud to offer the greenest of green products, including no-VOC paints, and home insulation made entirely from recycled denim and cotton. For more information about Greenovations and their extraordinarily unique products, click here.
The folks from A Perfect Move and Gentiques would like to thank everyone who attended last week's Chairs for Charity Auction. It was a huge success, with $1600 being raised to help benefit the Children's Literacy Program. Click here to see video footage taken from the event!
The money raised will help purchase books to give away to local children ranging in age from 3-6 years. The following are the dates and locations of the upcoming Summer Story Hours. If you know of a family who’s children could benefit from an activity like this, please extend a personal invitation to one of the hours. There is no cost – that has been covered by your support of the Chairs for Charity Auction!
Story Hours are complimentary, open to the public, and appropriate for children ages 3-6 years old with a caregiver. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-438-0421 for any of the locations and dates:
- Camp Kittery Estates June 23, 2011 11 am; Camp Stories and activities in Celebration of National Camping Month 220 State Road Kittery, ME
- July 20, 2011 11 am; The Mark Wentworth Home 346 Pleasant Street Portsmouth, NH -- Theme to be announced!
- August 25, 2011 11 am; Langdon Place of Dover 60 Middle Road Dover, NH -- Theme to be announced!
- September 22, 2011 11 am; Sentry Hill of York Harbor 2 Victoria Court York Harbor, ME -- Theme to be announced!
Disappointed that you missed A Perfect Move's Chairs For Charity event? Or did you love it so much that you cannot wait to participate in another fundraiser event hosted by A Perfect Move? Or maybe you are beginning to think about some spring cleaning, and you really need somewhere to donate your unwanted treasures...
A Perfect Move's non-profit thrift boutique, Gentiques will be hosting a Giant Blow Out Yard Sale to benefit Kittery's 5th grade D.A.R.E. graduation! Donate your items, or browse the yard sale and find some more treasures to add to your selection. The sale is to be held on May 7th, from 9am to 4pm at Gentiques on 240 U.S. Rt. 1 in Kittery. For more information, contact Kellan Maloney at email@example.com or call (207) 438-0421.
A Perfect Move has been extensively recognized for their community and sustainability initiatives. They provide free Customer Care to help customers sort through their belonging to make sure nothing goes to waste, and often donate customers' unwanted items to local thrift stores. The company employs a policy that is as green as can be - reduce, reuse and recycle. They manage their offices and enterprises as sustainably as possible, and use reused boxes, furniture from local thrift stores to furnish their office, and organic cleaning products for the office. For more information about A Perfect Move, click here.