Meet a Green Alliance Business: Minute Men Painters

Nov 23, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald. 

In an industry progressively moving toward chemical-free products, Minute Men Painters leads the charge in using environmentally friendly paints, varnishes and finishes. Co-owners Sean Sturk and Chris Tufts made the decision to switch when a co-worker started to lose his sense of smell after being exposed to the harsh chemicals in oil-based paints.For Sturk, it was an eye-opening experience and one he didn’t want to subject his customers to.

According to the EPA, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea and can also damage the liver, kidney and the central nervous system. With little difference in cost to the homeowner, Minute Men Painters uses water-based, no or low-VOC paints as a default.

Read the full column on Seacoast Online

Hit the Reset Button: How Home Building is Changing for the Better

Nov 19, 2015

Originally Published on Seacoast Online and

By Craig Robert 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.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online and

Meet a Green Alliance Business: RiverWorks Printing

Nov 18, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald

At RiverWorks Printing, founder Jeff Cutter and print manager Danis Chamberlin are redefining the large-format print industry, by taking a holistic approach to printing and signage. They are offering new products that are visually appealing and environmentally friendly while still meeting the customers’ budget.

RiverWorks provides customers with a selection of both traditional and eco-friendly options, from biodegradable banners, compostable stickers, recycled stock posters to fully recyclable retractable displays to name a few. The company also offers an Eco-Decal material with petroleum-free adhesive-backed vinyl that is movable and gentle on walls.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online.

A Sustainable Approach to Golf Course Management

Nov 17, 2015

Originally Published on Seacoast Online and

By Michael McCord

The terms sustainability and golf don’t easily mix well. Golf courses have been known for decades for their excessive use of water and pesticides to create pristine green playing conditions.

But Richard Luff, the president and co-owner of Sagamore Hampton Golf Club in North Hampton, is part of a family tradition stretching back to the late 1920s that set itself part – so much so that Luff co-authored book on using ecologically sound methods pioneered by his father Peter.

“The variables we face in maintaining a golf course provide continual challenges on a daily basis,” Luff explained. “Coming up with alternatives to conventional methods that consider the short and long term sustainability of the golf course and surrounding ecosystem is very rewarding.”

The Luffs opened their first public golf course Sagamore Springs in Lynnfield, Mass. in 1929 and the second in 1962 in North Hampton New Hampshire. Richard Luff has been in the family business “all his life” and returned to his native Seacoast area after graduating from the University of Vermont. He said his father had decided long ago to apply the lessons of organic gardening to golf course management – in part because he saw the dangers of excessive chemical use that was becoming the norm in the 1950s and 1960s.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online and

When Socially Responsible Investing Becomes Personal

Nov 12, 2015

Originally published on Seacoast Online and

By Michael McCord

NEWMARKET – For Sarah Brown it was time to step up and take her own advice.

In this case, the advice meant an analysis of her investment portfolio to see if it matched her personal values. Brown, the director of the Portsmouth-based Green Alliance, said for years she had urged the same for friends and Green Alliance business partners.

“I’ve been talking to people for the last five years about becoming green in all quarters of their life,” Brown said. “I needed to walk the walk and do it myself.”

At the outset, Brown was simply seeking information to see if her investments matched her values. “I did not want to be investing in gun makers, fossil fuel companies, drug or gambling industry companies, or big-ag companies that promote GMOs,” Brown explained. “I don’t want my investments in businesses that give lots of money to right-wing causes or politicians. No investments in companies that promote LGBT discrimination or union-busting.”

Read the full story on Seacoast Online and

Dental Practice Bolsters Green Economy

Nov 12, 2015

Originally published on, Sunday Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online

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 Jon Piatt, a local woodworker from Newmarket who worked collaboratively over the last 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.”

Read the full story on ,Sunday Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online

Meet a Green Alliance Business: TVC Systems

Nov 11, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald.

TVC Systems is a Portsmouth-based control and information systems integration company specializing in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. TVC provides a way to control and/or monitor on site combined heat and power (CHP) systems for critical power plants, boiler plants, utility plants and other energy centers and buildings across varying industries, while helping those industries' power, heating and cooling systems to be up to 80 percent more efficient.

Its services include the study, design, implementation and maintenance of co-generation and tri-generation systems in plants that include boilers, turbines, reciprocating engines, heat recovery steam generators, electric and/or adsorption chillers, etc. CHP also reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, requires less fuel to produce a given energy output, avoids transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines and provides high-quality electricity and thermal energy to a site regardless of what might occur on the power grid. In many cases, energy produced can also be sold back to the local utility supplier. In 2013, TVC Systems was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency/CHP Partnership for its participation in 22 successfully implemented and completed CHP projects, resulting in significant power efficiencies and emission reductions. TVC is currently in the final design, startup and commissioning phases of four additional CHP projects and continues to upgrade and improve existing facilities.

Where: 284 Constitution Ave., Portsmouth


Phone: (603) 431-5251

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald.

The Green Story: McLean Communications

Nov 10, 2015

Originally Published on Seacoast Online

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.

McLean Communications rents office space in a renovated mill building in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire. As renters, McLean does not have control over major energy decisions. However, in New Hampshire Home Magazine, McLean has highlighted many energy-efficient homes. New Hampshire Home has annual Excellence in Design Awards; every year, there is a “Green Design” category. Alternative heat options are also covered in McLean articles, and on their website. The “Resources” section of the NH Home includes contact information for many renewable heating vendors in New Hampshire, like Green Alliance business Ultra Geothermal. Water conservation has also appeared in several McLean publications in recent years. An article called “Green Ideas for your Home” in New Hampshire Magazine outlines ways that consumers can conserve water, including upgrading appliances to low-flow alternatives.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online.

Locally-owned, Family Run; Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance Now Offers Commercial Insurance for Growing Businesses

Nov 5, 2015

Originally Published on Seacoast Online and

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.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online and

Favorite Foods Continues to Lead ‘Green’ by Example

Nov 3, 2015

Originally Published on Seacoast Online

By Rich Collins

For the past 27 years, Favorite Foods, a New Hampshire based food distribution company, made it its mission to provide superior quality food distribution and service to their clients, typically independent restaurants, in New Hampshire, Maine, and central and northern Massachusetts. Family owned and operated by son Kelly, father Chris Barstow, and mother Petra Barstow both have always held a strong belief that Favorite Foods could run both profitably and efficiently, with a company-wide focus to improve its overall environmental footprint.

Favorite Foods has had many green successes to date, including a massive 572 Panel, 140 kW Solar installation, and the Barstow family is focused on continuously lessening their impact on the environment, increasing energy efficiencies and continuing their mission to maintain a sustainable business. Locally, Favorite Foods has had a longtime relationship with the Green Alliance, a union of local, sustainable businesses and members working to unite the green community.

The company’s latest ‘green’ effort was prompted not only by its continuous drive to improve efficiencies, but also by the realities of the significant energy use involved in large-scale refrigeration.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online.