Red Hook Brewery to produce own electricity

Jun 25, 2015

As originally seen seen in the Portsmouth Herald.

By Jeff McMenemy

PORTSMOUTH — Redhook Brewery is moving forward with a plan to install a co-generation system to produce its own electricity at the company’s Portsmouth brewery.

Tietjen Hynes, an engineer with Redhook Brewery, said the system could be up and running and producing electricity at its plant on the Pease International Tradeport as soon as October. “We’re hoping to offset about 10 percent of our energy use during the year, which is exciting,” she said Wednesday. The company has been working on the system for at least three years as part of its efforts to continue to be as sustainable as possible, Hynes said. “It’s a priority for our business,” Hynes said about Redhook’s sustainability efforts, which include having a corporate sustainability manager. The company’s plan is to use the methane gas generated by its wastewater plant on site to create electricity, Hynes said.

The plant has always treated its own waste before shipping it to the city of Portsmouth’s wastewater plant at the tradeport, Hynes said.
In the past, the methane gas they created by treating the brewery’s plant was simply “flared off,” Hynes said, but once the co-generation system is up and running, they’ll be able to use the methane to produce 500 megawatts per year of power.

The Pease Development Authority’s Board of Directors recently approved Redhook’s plans for a co-generation system.
Maria Stowell, engineering manager for the PDA, said Redhook has always treated its own waste, because brewery waste is typically high in biological oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids.

“It’s very common for breweries, they call it strong waste,” Stowell said.

Read the full story on Portsmouth Herald.

Green Businesses Team Up to Take the Bite Out of Golf

Jun 24, 2015

Originally Published in Seacoast Online, The Hampton Union and Fosters.

By Mark Quirk

There will be a few more traps at Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club this summer, but golfers need not worry, these traps will be installed to enhance the playing experience.

This summer Tom Pray of Ecotech Pest Control Services, LLC is working with Sagamore-Hampton to test his Fly Cage at the 18-hole course. The Fly Cage, developed by Pray over the last year to control horseflies, greenheads and deerflies, will be positioned at two of the course's holes with two traps at each hole to test the cage's effectiveness.

“I want to put some out and see which spots will be best,” Pray said.

Richard Luff, the president of Sagamore-Hampton said he'd like to start testing at some of the holes on the course's back nine. Holes 10, 11 and 12 wind through the woods and that's where Luff said the deer-flies are most prevalent, especially in the morning.

“In those early morning rounds they can chase you around and make it unpleasant,” Luff said.

Luff said he has tried several other options to control the deerfly problem in the past, but none were successful. He hopes installing the Fly Cage will have better results.

The Fly Cage is a trap designed to catch biting flies in the family tabanidae, which includes greenheads, deerflies and horseflies. The trap does not use chemicals and is environmentally friendly, something both Ecotech and Sagamore advocate for. Pray built wooden greenhead traps when he was a student at the University of New Hampshire, earning a B.S. in entomology, and based his new design on those early precursors.

It's tent-like structure, with a black ball hanging at the bottom, can easily be set up and broken down.

Read the full story in the The Hampton Union, Seacoast Online and Fosters.

GA Team Member, Anne Twombly, Recieves Woman of the Year Nomination

Jun 23, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald.

Senior Anne Twombly of the University of New Hampshire women's track and field team has been nominated for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Woman of the Year award, the school announced Friday.

Now in its 25th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

The announcement comes after Twombly was a part of a historic year for both the cross country and track teams at UNH.

The cross country squad won its second America East Championship in as many seasons as the Exeter native and former Blue Hawk star finished fifth overall (17 minutes, 51 seconds) in the 5,000-meter race. Her successful season earned her the inaugural America East Elite 18 award that honors the highest achievement in academics and athletics by a student-athlete in each America East sponsored sport. The conference finish led to her first NCAA appearance of the year where Twombly competed in the 6,000-meter race (21:28.8) at the Div. I Northeast Region Cross Country Championships.

During the indoor season, the distance star placed first in both the 800-meter race (2:09.42) and the mile (4:52.79) to help her team place fourth overall at the America East Indoor Championships (Feb. 20-21). She earned All-American second team status following a 14th place finish in the 800-meter race at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships (March 13-14).

Read the Full Story in the Portsmouth Herald.

6 Tips to Get a Green Lawn, In a Green Way

Jun 23, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald.

By Kristyn Lak Miller

The quest to have a green lawn is a deep-rooted desire for many Americans, growing the lawn care industry into a multi-billion dollar business in the United States.

“As the saying goes, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side,’ but we think it’s more important that the grass is healthier on your side,” said Jason Lefebvre of Purely Organic Lawn Care, based in Portsmouth. “The beauty is that, with the advancement of organic lawn care practices and products, your healthy lawn can also be gorgeously green.”

Lefebvre shares six tips for getting a naturally green lawn:

1. GROWING: There are several varieties of grass plants and it’s important to grow the right one for your environment — for instance, don’t plant shade-loving grass in your sunny front lawn.

2. WATERING: Water your lawn two to three times per week, spending 20 to 30 minutes per zone. By saturating the soil, the grass roots reach deep to get water — building the roots provides grass with drought tolerance and the capability to survive hot days.

3. FERTILIZING: Over-application of fertilizer is common, and too much fertilizer can kill grass, wastes product and money, and can leach out and contaminate watersheds — make sure to follow the application directions for your organic fertilizer.

4. FIGHTING WEEDS: There are both pre-emergent and post-emergent products that can prevent or eliminate weeds. If you have weeds, choose the least toxic product you can find and spot-spray where needed, trying to avoid blanket spraying your entire lawn—also make sure the product you use isn’t a non-selective herbicide, which will kill the weed and the grass.

5. FIGHTING PESTS: Pests like ticks and mosquitos are potentially dangerous nuisances, and it’s possible to eliminate them by applying natural essential oils — unlike conventional treatments, areas treated this way can be re-entered just 15 minutes after the application, and treatment is often effective for 30 to 60 days.

6. BEING GREEN-ISH: If you aren’t able to control issues like weeds with organic products, you may have to use a conventional solution —often a single application will do the trick and you can return to the organic/natural products in the future, ultimately ending up with a completely organic lawn.

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald.

Solar-Powered Greenhouse Showcases Alternative Energy

Jun 23, 2015

Originally Published in Foster's Daily Democrat.

By Crystal A. Weyers

With some help, Micum Davis has installed a geodesic dome greenhouse, 26-feet in diameter, in his own backyard.

Functioning with the aid of a few small solar panels and some very innovative tactics, the greenhouse was able prevent several of Davis’ herbs and vegetables from dying during the long, cold winter.

“The snow sheds right off of it and the wind cruises around it,” he said during a solar solstice celebration sponsored by Seacoast Area Renewable Energy Initiative (SEAREI) at his home on Saturday.

Although held on the day before the actual solstice, when the sun is at its northernmost point in the sky, SEAREI Program Director Doug Bogen said solar panels actually work best in the winter.

“The colder weather lets the electrons move faster,” he said.

Davis’ dome utilizes solar panels to power an exhaust fan, an undersoil heating system and a water-circulating feature. The greenhouse itself is heated directly from the sun and then self-monitors its interior temperature.

“It’s designed to keep the coldest nighttime temperature 30-degrees warmer than the outside temperature,” said Davis, a SEAREI board member. “It always has a direct line with the sun because it’s round and it operates without any fossil fuels.”

During the celebratory event, Davis was planning to install a simple solar-powered waterfall in the dome’s 1,200 gallon tank, which helps cool or heat the interior depending on the season.

“I’ve always been interested in doing things efficiently,” he said. “It seems like there’s a lot of waste in a fossil fuel-based economy. It’s a no-brainer to harness the energy of the sun now, when it hits the earth, rather than waiting millions of years.”

The dome, which Davis refers to as his “hot house,” came as a kit from a Colorado-based company called Growing Spaces and cost $16,000.

“I think it’s only a matter of time,” said Davis’ wife Jennifer Wilhelm of the need to convert to more renewable energy sources. “We can either change our energy sources by choice or be forced to do it.”

With a convoy of Toyota Priuses lining the driveway, others in attendance were like-minded.

Read the whole story on Foster' Daily Democrat.

Socially Responsible Investing reaches new asset high

Jun 23, 2015

Originally Published on Portsmouth Patch.

By Michael McCord

The popularity of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for investors who want to express their progressive values has reached a new high.

According to the most recent trends report by The Forum on Sustainable & Responsible Investment (US SIF), the total of U.S. assets under management using SRI strategies dramatically increased by 76 percent from the period of 2012 to 2014. Overall, those SRI-strategy assets rose from $3.74 trillion at the beginning of 2012 to $6.57 trillion at the start of 2014.

The explosive growth of SRI-targeted investing does not surprise Mike Smith, the Newmarket-based representative for the Progressive Asset Management Group (PAM Group).

“We’ve been watching this trend for a while and this comprehensive report really puts it into perspective,” Smith said.

Since US SIF began tracking SRI trends in 1995 – the recent report is its 10th edition – SRI assets have grown 929 percent, or an annual growth rate of 13.1 percent.

“The assets engaged in sustainable, responsible and impact investing practices at the start of 2014 represent nearly 18 percent of the $36.8 trillion in total assets under management tracked by Cerulli Associates, ” the report stated. “These assets now account for more than one of our every six dollars under professional management. The individuals, institutions, investment companies, money managers and financial institutions that practice SRI seek to achieve long-term competitive financial returns together with positive societal impact.”

Read the full story on

A Field Trip to Remember

Jun 16, 2015

Originally Published on Portsmouth Patch.

By Michael McCord

A group of Traip Academy sophomores had an eye-opening experience during a recent field trip to Mary’s Dogs Inn.

The students from the Kittery, Maine school worked hands-on in every operational facet at the facility which is a boarding facility and quarantine stopover for rescue dogs from the South.

Mary Doane, who founded Mary’s Dogs in 2011, said she was happy to have the 10 students spend a full school day at the facility. It was the first field trip of its kind to the facility which opened in 2014. The field trip came at the end of a quarantine period for many of the 20 dogs in residence and Doane said the students saw how important and involved canine rescue work can be.

“They brought great energy and curiosity. It was so interesting to have that many young people around the Inn at the same time,” Doane said. “They were all helpful and got to take part in all the activities. They also learned about the mission of Inn and how we are doing what we can to change the culture (of often speedy euthanasia) in the South.”

The idea for the Mary’s Dogs field trip was initiated by Melinda Shofner, a school counselor at Traip Academy. Students take part in a Learning Service Project program which combines real-world experience with community service. Shofner has been a volunteer at Mary’s Dogs since February of 2014 and she thought it would be a great experience for the students.

“It was important for them to see the whole process and to understand the whole issue of rescuing dogs and raising funds to have them spayed and neutered in the South,” Shofner explained. “We began researching and planning in October and we talked about it for weeks.”

Read the Full Story on

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Petersen Engineering

Jun 16, 2015

Originally Published on Seacoast Online.

Founded in 1992 by James Petersen, Petersen Engineering was a one-person firm for many years. The firm now employs seven including four licensed professional engineers. The core work of Petersen Engineering is the design of HVAC, plumbing and fire protection systems for multi-family, commercial and industrial buildings.

Long known as a leader in sustainability the firm specializes in energy efficiency, renewable energy, integrated design practices, building science and building enclosure technology. In 2010 Petersen Engineering completed a deep energy retrofit on its company's offices on Maplewood Avenue in a historic 1804 federal-style building. The more than 200-year-old building now uses only 30 percent of the energy used by code compliant new office buildings while at the same time not sacrificing modern amenities or the historic character of the building.

Petersen was recently awarded the 2015 Engineer of the Year by the NH Chapter of the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for the firm’s progressive designs and for service to the community. Some of Petersen Engineering's current work includes the upgrades to the Portsmouth wastewater treatment plant on Peirce Island, a 100,000-square-foot addition to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., and new construction of the Lewis Gathering Center corporate retreat in Kensington, which expects to achieve Passive House Certification, reducing the energy required for heating a building by 85 percent.

Petersen also does pro bono work, currently designing an expansion of the Seacoast Waldorf School in Eliot, Maine, to serve children pre-K through Grade 8, and designing and managing the replacement of mechanical systems at the Portsmouth Indoor Pool in a public/private collaboration with Save the Indoor Portsmouth Pool and the city of Portsmouth. 

Read the full story on Seacoast Online.

Eco Sound Builders Co-Owner, Peter Robie

Jun 16, 2015

 Originally Published in

By Ken Johnson

When Peter Robie first met Ethan Korpi back in 2004, their shared vision to build structures utilizing sustainable and efficient methods made them bond instantly. Both Robie and Korpi shared a background of being highly trained in building and carpentry. They created a southern division of Eco Sound Builders on the Seacoast in 2008, an offshoot of the original business founded by Korpi and his father, Roger, in the Lakes and White Mountain region.

The goal of Eco Sound Builders' two divisions is to build quality homes and buildings that are durable and sustainable throughout New Hampshire. Wood used for each project is sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified forests, super-efficient insulation is used, and the subcontractors Robie works with specialize in using non-toxic paints and source their materials locally whenever possible. Working with sustainable technology, and building materials, is something Robie has specialized in since earning degrees in Civil Technology and Environmental Conservation.

Not limited to new buildings, Eco Sound Builders will renovate existing buildings to bring them up to Eco Sound’s high standards of performance. Recently, they renovated an older building in Portsmouth's historic South End district, keeping within the city's tight regulations for work on historic properties while making the home green and much more energy efficient. When it comes to renovating an older, historical property, Eco Sound will perform an energy audit, add a thermal 'envelope' wrapping, and other green and sustainable aspects.

Robie does more than just run a green and sustainable building company, he takes Eco Sounds' principles home with him. Literally. Recently, Robie built a new energy efficient, high performance home for his family in North Hampton, incorporating sustainable elements such as insulated concrete forms, energy efficient windows, a high level of insulation, a solar hot water system, a super-efficient boiler and a heat recovery ventilator to provide fresh air into this super-tight home.

Read the full story on

Peterson Engineering Awarded Engineer of the Year

Jun 16, 2015

Originally Published on Portsmouth Patch.

by Ken Johnson

James Petersen, principle engineer and founder of Petersen Engineering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was named the 2015 Engineer of the Year by the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE.

In a recent release, the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE said they are, “pleased to present their Engineer of the Year Award for 2015 to James Petersen with our thanks for his outstanding works. We hope that others in our profession will see him as a role model for others to follow.”
In the nearly three decades he’s worked in the industry, Petersen has forged a reputation as an engineer concerned with quality and sustainability for every project he’s done.

“I’ve been working away for 29 years trying to make buildings better,” Petersen said. “And most of the time it is hard work and when you get a surprise recognition like this it feels pretty good.”

ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers) is the primary professional organization for people who work in HVAC engineering. Petersen has been a member with ASHRAE since he started working in HVAC in 1986, and has been a member of the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE since its inception in 1987.

 Petersen’s nomination for Engineer of the Year was endorsed by his clients, organizations he has done pro-bono work for, and his employees. Petersen holds a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and is a registered professional engineer in seven states and Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1992, Petersen Engineering began with HVAC and plumbing design and has since grown to include building science, enclosure design and integrated design. A primary focus of Petersen’s when designing a project is to reduce dramatically the amount of energy needed for heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water. The engineers that work at Petersen Engineering have a common passion for improving energy efficiency in buildings.

Read the full story on Portsmouth Patch.