900 Degrees cranks up the heat on sustainability

Sep 13, 2016

 This article first appeared in New Hampshire Business Review. 

Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 DegreesPriscilla Lane-Rondeau is looking forward to opening a new restaurant while building on the sustainability practices that have become a hallmark of her brand. 

Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, said she hopes to finalize paperwork soon to open a new restaurant in Portsmouth by the end of the year to join her locations in Manchester and Epping. The new location in Portsmouth will likely be located along Lafayette Road, away from the crowded restaurant scene in downtown Portsmouth. Equally important, the new Portsmouth location will have enough space to add composting to her green legacy.

Dover brewery raises a glass to community

Jul 13, 2016

This article originally appeared in the New Hampshire Business Review

By Michael McCord

The 7th Settlement brewery offers many choices of handcrafted beer and food in Dover, but most of it all it offers a lesson in top-to-bottom sustainability.

Founded by David Boynton and Josh Henry, 7th Settlement opened its doors in November 2013. The journey was almost a full decade in the making as the former home brew devotees wanted to combine the best of microbrew quality with a local farm-to-table focus. One of those goals was to revive the importance of local pubs to their community (the company name pays homage to Dover’s status as the country’s seventh-oldest continuous settlement and oldest in New Hampshire).

Farm fresh organic on the go at Turnip the Beet

Jul 6, 2016

This article originally appeared in the New Hampshire Business Review

Chef, wife and mother of three, Allison Williams has parlayed a passion for cooking and a dramatic life change into Turnip the Beet, a venture that redefines the meaning of takeout with farm-to-fork meals to go.

In less than a year, Williams has developed a devoted clientele for her “Clean Eating” meals loaded with organic ingredients from local farms in the Seacoast region.

A former retail expert in the fashion industry, she had a life-altering experience when she undertook the Whole30 diet makeover and cleanse – a program that proponents say counteracts the unhealthy drawbacks of grain, sugar and dairy products.

Williams said that for years she had felt a consistent energy drain as she gained weight and suffered from frequent heartburn. Her new diet changed all that.

Grappone Automotive Embraces Sustainability

May 24, 2016

This article first appeared in Foster's Daily Democrat

By Michael McCord

CONCORD — At Grappone Automotive Group doing things a little differently isn’t just a slogan, but a daily fact of life for its team members, guests and the greater Concord community.

“We know there are a lot of better ways to get the job done, and it’s our mission to find as many as we can,” said Amanda Grappone Osmer, the fourth-generation owner. “If you’re allowing your team to be creative, that’s gigantic.”

Sustainability has become an expanding definition for Grappone Automotive Group which was founded in 1924. A few years ago, the Toyota-Scion dealership became the first Toyota facility in New England with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The renovated Toyota-Scion dealership met extremely high standards across six different categories, from environmental quality to innovation and design.

On her own initiative, Osmer immersed herself in learning about lean manufacturing techniques and was fascinated most by the focus on human capital. “The more you look at the world through a 'lean' lens, the more you realize how many great ideas aren’t being heard. For me, that’s the most egregious form of waste: the waste of human creativity,” Osmer explained. “When leaders don’t listen to the great ideas their teams have, who knows what kinds of environmental or other problems are going unsolved.”

As an example, Osmer doesn’t have to look far. Her collision center manager Moe Gagnon invented and patented a new paint stand apparatus that allows for a more efficient process for the painting of vehicles in the body shop.

“It’s ingenious. It cuts down on material waste, on everything from paint to the large amounts of paint tape, and it provides the painter with the ability to match panels more effectively,” she said. Gagnon had had the prototype idea of the Lean Line Paint Stand for a while but he was spurred to action by the relocation of the collision center – and a desire to find the most efficient way to maximize the process.

Green Alliance Changes Hands, Leaders

Jan 7, 2016

 This article was written by Brian Early and first appeared in Seacoast Online on Sunday, January 3rd 

PORTSMOUTH – The Seacoast’s environmental sustainability marketing firm, Green Alliance, has changed ownership as ofthe first of the year and is no longer led by founder Sarah Brown.

After six years of building a clientele of businesses and helping environmentally minded consumers connect to those businesses, Brown sold the company to Mike Bellamente and three other partners who hope to expand the brand of Green Alliance beyond the bounds of the Seacoast. Brown will remain a consultant to the business for the next six months to assist with the transition.

For Brown, leaving was based on two main reasons. One was family. She wants to spend more time with her three daughters who range in age from 12 to 16 before they finish high school and leave home. The other was that she started losing the drive that brought her to work every day. It starting becoming more of a job than a passion.

“It was time for me to move on,” she said. “I don’t just want to punch a clock.”
She knows other small business owners who continue to work for a business they are no longer passionate about, and she didn’t want to join their ranks.

Is the Christmas Goose Making a Comeback?

Dec 23, 2015

Sarah Brown, Director of the Green Alliance recently completed her second story on the rising popularity of the 'Christmas Goose' for National Geographic's 'The Plate'. 

A hundred years ago, a golden-browned goose was a familiar delicacy on December 25th. Scrooge thought it essential to add to poor Bob Cratchet’s table in A Christmas Carol, and a goose who lays golden eggs was a prize in the Jack In the Beanstalk story. But good luck finding one at your average American supermarket today.

The Christmas goose actually traces its roots back to the medieval European feast of Martinmas. St. Martin was revered in Roman times as a spiritual leader and patron of children and the poor. As legend goes, one evening, having learned of his consecration as Bishop, he hid in a barn to avoid what he saw as a title above his humble station, only to be revealed by the loud squawking of geese. Their punishment? Feast fare for centuries to come. But as farming life waned, so did the goose—an animal that requires a long maturation time, much grazing area and time and effort to cook. One New Hampshire farmer is working to bring them back.

Read the full story on The Plate

A Sustainable Approach to Golf Course Management

Dec 14, 2015

Originally published in the New Hampshire Business Review

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.

Global Warming Pushes Maple Trees, Syrup to the Brink

Dec 2, 2015

Sarah Brown, Director of the Green Alliance recently completed a story on climate change and its impact on the maple syrup industry in the Northeast for National Geographic's 'The Plate'. Check out the full story on 'The Plate'.

The polar bear is a powerful symbol of the effects of climate change in the Arctic. Here in New England, our symbol may soon be the sugar maple tree. Tapped for syrup for centuries and famous for its fall foliage, the sugar maple is stressed to the point of decline and many scientists studying this beloved tree believe rising temperatures are the cause.

Maple syrup’s use as a food was first recorded in the early 1600s, when French writer Marc Lescarbot noted that Native American tribes “get juice from the trees and distill it down into a very sweet and agreeable liquid.” The syrup lore goes like this: A chief threw a tomahawk at a tree and noticed the rich syrup dripping from it. His wife cooked that evening’s venison in the sweet syrup, and the rest is history.

Read the full story on The Plate.

Conservation, Construction and Community

Dec 2, 2015

Originally Published on and Seacoast Online

By Kristyn Lak Miller

NEWMARKET – “For many years, people built their homes on two or more acre lots,” says Steve Fournier, Newmarket Town Manager. “People wanted privacy and green space around them. The problem is that, by doing so, people did not know their neighbors. Rockingham Green creates the neighborhood atmosphere again.”

A few miles from downtown Newmarket, adjacent to Rockingham Country Club, Rockingham Green is a lifestyle community designed and built by Chinburg Properties, the 30-year-old development and construction firm based in Newmarket.

Set on 25 acres, with 40 acres of conservation land, this expansive space might have become a Wal-Mart if the town hadn’t stepped in. “We wanted to preserve our natural resources and wetlands,” says Diane Hardy, Newmarket Town Planner. “We asked Chinburg if they’d be interested in working on a community. Thankfully, the answer was ‘yes’.”

Comprised of 52 lots, none bigger than .47 acre, Rockingham Green’s custom homes are inspired by classic craftsman style; each, sized up to 2,300 square feet, is conceived in collaboration with project architect Wendy Welton of Art Form Architecture.

Read the full story on and Seacoast Online

Giving Energy Efficiency a Number That Matters

Dec 1, 2015

Originally published on Seacoast Online and

By Michael McCord

Since its founding in 2008, Yankee Thermal Imaging has helped hundreds of residential and commercial clients reap maximum benefits from energy efficiency efforts. Recently the New England based company has been working on compiling hard numbers to quantify their financial and environmental effectiveness.

The numbers are in, and the carbon footprint reduction they have helped their customers achieve is impressive. “Collectively, we’ve saved our customers about 1.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions annually since we’ve been in business and counting,” said Cara Eisele, Yankee Thermal Imaging’s business development manager. “We started compiling the data about six months ago, and we are really excited to let our customers know the impact they are making.”

Eisele said the money savings for their customers who follow through with enhanced insulation upgrades and energy saving measures have also been significant. Depending on current fuel prices, she explained, “we estimate customers have saved on average $850 annually on their utility bills, some are higher, some lower.” Translated into a pollution saving metric, Yankee Thermal Imaging estimates the combined CO2 savings achieved is the equivalent of taking between 220 and 240 automobiles off of the road each year.

Read the full story on Seacoast Online and