Green Collar Careers: Colonial Stoneworks Owner, Adam Bennett

Mar 6, 2015

Originally published in The New Hampshire.

By Ken Johnson

At just 30 years old, Colonial Stoneworks owner Adam Bennett has established himself as an experienced, skilled stoneworker, creating works of beauty with nature through what he refers to as "green hardscape."  Bennett's company utilizes natural stone, an inherently greener product than energy intensive concrete for their hardscape projects.  Not only does natural stone look nicer than concrete, but the stone doesn't degrade like concrete allowing for a beautiful hardcape that will remain for years.

Bennett tries to obtain as much of the materials used through local sourcing as possible. The granite used by the stone-working company is sourced from the former Milford, New Hampshire quarry and Bennett puts an emphasis on finding and using reclaimed materials, sourcing from new subdivisions and property owners, instead of allowing discarded materials to go to waste.  Bennett will also obtain stone directly from a customer's property, if desired, for a greener option.

Bennett treats each job as a unique project, listening to customers' desires for the project and offering design consultation and assistance. More than just doing his job, Bennett also takes time to educate customers on the sustainability of natural stone and the sustainable benefits of utilizing locally sourced stone.

Read the full story, on page 14, on here!

Winter Is Still Growing Season for Acorn School Students

Mar 5, 2015

Originally posted on Portsmouth Patch.

By Corey Lim

STRATHAM – Appreciating nature is about embracing all its variability. Especially in New England, it can be sunny and 45 degrees one day, then snowy and freezing the next. Loving nature is wishing for the first elegant snowfall of the season, despite spending hours shoveling the driveway for weeks to come. It is the excitement of seeing the smallest of flowers in bloom, regardless of spring showers having you carry an umbrella at all times. It is the summer sun wrapping you in a warm embrace, even though the beads of sweat are dripping faster than can be controlled. And although you have to pack away all your swimsuits, the irresistible crunch of stepping on leaves of orange, yellow, and red will surely compensate the goodbye of another season.

With the winter still sending mounds of snow our way, it’s inevitable for students especially to get a case of cabin fever. However, wintertime is no exception when it comes to getting the students of Acorn School outside and enthusiastic about learning. A winter day at Acorn finds students and teachers sledding on a “magic carpet” or taking a walk down their nature trail to see what changes the cold weather has brought to the trees and animals.

The pre-K and kindergarten children of Acorn School learn to connect with the environment at an early age, with each student being encouraged to enjoy the benefits that come with each different season. Finding home in Stratham, N.H., the school has taken advantage of its beautiful surroundings to form a curriculum and philosophy that instills a sense of environmental appreciation in their students. The students of this unique school are exposed to their surroundings through nature-based learning. Much of the learning is done through the experience of being outside, whether it is composting, gardening, or visiting animals. In addition to the school’s initiatives on outdoor education, Acorn is highly committed to being an example of the three R’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Read the full story on Portsmouth Patch here

Local Tech Company Does Its Part to Protect Digital Information

Mar 3, 2015

Originally published on Seacoast Online and Portsmouth Patch. 

By Mark Quirk

PORTSMOUTH – The recent snow storms in the Northeast should serve as a reminder that Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with.

And while severe weather can cause serious damage to physical property, it’s just as dangerous to digital property. That’s why measures should be taken to protect both. Since 1997 Jenaly Technology Group, Inc., has helped individuals and businesses with the latter.

MJ Shoer, the company’s president and virtual chief technology officer, says changing weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable and more severe. Storms such as hurricane Sandy that walloped the New York City area and masses of snow, like what we’ve been experiencing here in New England this winter make the risk of impact on your IT infrastructure more possible.

These storms have caused power outages, and physical collapses, which could compromise information stored digitally on a computer or server. Companies and individuals need to prepare for these kinds of emergencies with plans for two things: disaster recovery and business continuity. Jenaly helps with both.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online here and Portsmouth Patch here

RGGI Supporters Keep Eye on N.H. Legistlature

Mar 3, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald.

By Craig Robert Brown

CONCORD – A series of bills that would repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Renewable Portfolio Standard are going before the New Hampshire House and Senate.

The Republican-led committee on Feb. 5 voted to amend House Bill 208 presented by state Rep. Richard Barry, R-Merrimack, who originally brought the same concept to the table in 2011 and again in 2012. The amendment would keep New Hampshire in RGGI, but rebate all RGGI auction proceeds to ratepayers instead of using part of the rebates, as it currently does, to invest in low-income and municipal energy efficiency projects.

The first vote before the House was held Feb. 18, which resulted in a decision to stay in RGGI with a 201-154 vote to stop investing any funds in energy efficiency. The bill will still go before the Senate, where it could pass, before being presented to the governor.

"If it does [pass] there's going to be a real ramp down of all of these good programs, and New Hampshire is going to face another interruption in its market development," said Kate Epsen, executive director of the New Hampshire Sustainability Energy Association. "A lot of businesses will be harmed and a lot of jobs will be lost."

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald here

Weather Disasters Topic of Seminar

Mar 3, 2015

Originally published in the Portsmouth Herald and on

By Mark Quirk

PORTSMOUTH – The recent snow storms in the Northeast should serve as a reminder that Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with.

And while severe weather can cause serious damage to physical property, it’s just as dangerous to digital property. That’s why measures should be taken to protect both. Since 1997 Jenaly Technology Group, Inc., has helped individuals and businesses with the latter.

MJ Shoer, the company’s president and virtual chief technology officer, says changing weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable and more severe. Companies and individuals need to prepare for these kinds of emergencies with plans for two things: disaster recovery and business continuity.

“It’s almost irresponsible not to have a plan in place,” Shoer said.

Shoer will be one of the speakers during a seminar on how climate change can impact business being sponsored by the Green Alliance, with which Jenaly is a Business Partner, on March 12. Other speakers include Marsha Haines of the American Red Cross and Roger Stephenson of the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup.

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald here and on here

Meet a Green Alliance Business: NHSolarGarden

Mar 2, 2015

Originally posted on Seacoast Online.

Who: NHSolarGarden

What: Demand for locally sourced solar power has grown and NHSolarGarden, one of the first companies to promote group net metering, offers a solution that makes solar affordable for everyone.

Founded by Andrew Kellar, NHSolarGarden matches group members interested in purchasing solar power with land and property owners who act as hosts for solar arrays. NHSolarGarden develops a solar array to power one location, the host site, which shares its excess power with another location, like a residence, business or school, through existing utilities like N.H. Electric Coop, Unitil and Eversource Energy (formerly Public Service of New Hampshire). Groups made up of individuals also receive a host's excess energy when they join NHSolarGarden. Members get bi-annual Solar Rebates, equivalent to one cent per kWh off their current electric rate; essentially incurring no upfront costs to invest in local solar and in fact saving money off their regular electric bill. NHSolarGarden customers keep their same electric bill and enter into long-term plans with fixed-rate programs and never have to worry about rate changes.

By joining NHSolarGarden, group members support the development of clean, local power while bringing economic benefits to local farmers and landowners who lease their land for solar installations. NHSolarGarden will even build separate solar systems for greenhouses so farmers can grow crops year round while generating solar energy on their land. NHSolarGarden also installs arrays on structures including landfills, malls, self-storage facilities, mill buildings and warehouse rooftops and require as little as 7,000 square feet for a potential solar lease space. The company handles all development and equipment costs and any utility logistics. NHSolarGarden offers a novel avenue toward energy independence by allowing individuals to invest in locally generated solar power and reduce their electricity costs while doing so.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online here.

Local Companies Work Together to Better Seacoast, Planet

Mar 2, 2015

Originally published on Seacoast Online.

By Kristyn Lak Miller

GREENLAND – Each day, roughly 1,785 people rely on COAST’s fleet of 24 buses and trolleys to get where they’re going throughout the seacoast region. And the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) works with RiverWorks Printing for much of its strategic, and sustainable, printing needs. Working together since 2009, these two local businesses strive to save the planet while also saving seacoast residents money.

“As a sustainable transportation provider, it’s very meaningful for us to work with like-minded businesses that are focused on increasing the sustainability of their business operations,” says Rad Nichols, Executive Director for COAST. “RiverWorks is a reliable and professional partner. They’ve been very accommodating in meeting our unique printing and installation needs, and they stand behind their work, which has been of the highest quality.”

Greenland-based RiverWorks Printing was founded in 2009 and has worked on many projects with ATA (Alternate Transit Advertising), which focuses on exterior bus advertising aimed at helping raise money for thirteen public transit systems throughout New England, including COAST. It was through ATA, that RiverWorks was introduced to COAST. Specializing in large-format commercial printing for its local and national clients, RiverWorks has forged a unique, green niche to provide a full suite of eco-friendly, sustainability-driven options, from biodegradable banners and recyclable posters to fully recyclable banner stands.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online here.

Green Collar Careers: Green Maids Owner, Johnmark O'Brien

Feb 27, 2015

Originally published in The New Hampshire.

By Anna Murphy

Johnmark O’Brien, owner of Green Maids, has been cleaning up grime since 2009. O’Brien started his green cleaning company with the mission to keep harmful chemicals out of the community and local environment’s waste-stream. It was a mission O’Brien embarked upon while a college student. Based in York Harbor, Maine, Green Maids now services the New Hampshire seacoast as well as southern Maine.

To ensure his company promotes and uses only the best products, O’Brien conducted years of research on the dangers of household cleaning products and the chemicals they release into the air, water and soil. He has also developed a highly effective Green Clean process that removes dirt and household pollutants and is safe for humans and animals. All cleaning products used by Green Maids must either be Green Seal Certified or guaranteed to be all natural, biodegradable, earth friendly, non-toxic and safe for home and office use. Green Maids uses only products that have not been tested on animals and come from environmentally responsible manufacturers and retailers. The Green Maids cleaning team makes their rounds in a Toyota Prius hybrid.

In addition to their eco-friendly cleaning practices, Green Maids actively gives back to its community, conducting three to four beach clean-ups each year. With sustainability at the forefront of each decision he makes, O’Brien says that every action taken, no matter how small, builds toward a greener future.

Read the full story, on page 8, on here!

New Green Housing Development Replaces Decayed Public Housing

Feb 24, 2015

Originally posted in the Portsmouth Herald and on

By Ken Johnson

PORTSMOUTH – A decayed public housing development has been replaced by a new affordable green town house and apartment complex thanks to Petersen Engineering; a Portsmouth-based engineering firm that specializes in energy efficient mechanical engineering.

Built in 1951, Fairfax Gardens was a 150 unit public housing development in Taunton, Massachusetts that had fallen into disrepair. The development was cramped, not accessible nor energy-efficient. The units were overrun with mold and pests, and their finishes were severely deteriorated. According to an evaluation prepared by The UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative, drug sales and use were also a large problem at Fairfax Gardens. Shortly after this evaluation, under a HOPE VI Revitalization Grant, the complex was demolished and, along with undeveloped land Parcel 6-A a mile away, was rebuilt into a green affordable housing complex.

Local Group Proposes Ordinance on Single-Use Plastics

Feb 23, 2015

Originally posted on

By Michael Bizier

PORTSMOUTH – On February 3, the New Hampshire chapter of the Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics (RAP) coalition proposed a reduction of single-use plastic bags to the Portsmouth City Council. The ordinance, which aims at reducing plastics pollution, is currently awaiting votes before it is brought before the council for final ruling.

Formed in 1984, the Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit, nation-wide organization aimed at protecting the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches, The NH chapter was formed in 2007 and is involved in monthly beach clean-ups, removing anywhere from 50-90 pounds of trash from the shoreline. In March 2013, the NH chapter formed the RAP coalition with several groups and businesses including Green Alliance, Zero Waste Portsmouth, Seacoast Science Center, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, and The Gundalow Company. Both The Gundalow Company and the Blue Ocean Society are Business Partners with the Green Alliance, a union of businesses and consumers educating the public about the goods and services they use, and encourage more sustainable choices. The GA represents over 100 local green-leaning businesses and has put its weight behind the ordinance to reduce single-use plastic bags in Portsmouth and is using its bullhorn to educate and advocate around the issue.

Read the full story on here.