News : September 2010

History meets energy efficiency for home tour

Sep 27, 2010

From the Portsmouth Herald

by Deborah McDermott

James Petersen loves old houses, loves the hardiness and the history of them. And the mechanical engineer is also an energy efficiency pioneer of sorts, having spent 25 years working on sustainable projects — long before they became vogue.

For the past year, he's been working on perhaps his most ambitious project yet — combining these two passions into an 1804 Maplewood Avenue house that he converted into his company's headquarters.

"The tension between energy efficiency and historic preservation is of great interest to me," Petersen said. "This building gave us a unique opportunity to see how we could integrate the two."... Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald by clicking here!

7 more city businesses sign on to Zero Waste effort

Sep 22, 2010

From the Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH — Zero Waste Portsmouth has signed on seven local businesses in support of its Downtown Portsmouth Zero Waste Project. Ross Engineering, Applegarth Garden Design, Little Green Homes, Minute Men Painting, Ricci Lumber, Simply Green and Optima Bank teamed to fund a zero waste station for placement in Market Square... Read the full story here!

Vertical garden grows downtown

Sep 22, 2010

From Portsmouth Herald

By Rachel Forest

PORTSMOUTH — Softly flowing tussock grass and curly, burgundy-hued coral bells are two plants that you'd come across on a walk through a New England forest, but it is a surprise when those plants grow on a brick wall on the side of an urban restaurant building.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, a team including landscape designer Charles Hugo of South Berwick, Maine, installed steel frames to hold about 50 2-by-2-foot panels filled with soil and native greenery on the facade of Cava Tapas and Wine Bar on Commercial Alley.

Now, a vertical garden grows on the brick wall, the result of an environmental and beautification project that took a village to create. Led by Coastal Home Magazine, a group that included landscape designers, electricians, irrigation experts, nurseries and a company that has developed a system that makes constructing these gardens much easier, worked together to create the "living wall." The garden, which organizers claim is the first outdoor vertical garden in northern New England, will be officially unveiled Thursday in an invitation-only ceremony.... read the full story in the Portsmouth Hearald here!

Closing the Loop

Sep 8, 2010

From Taste Magazine

By Jim Cavan

Minutes past six on a frigid February morning, Rian Bedard picks through a yellow wastebasket full of garbage in the quiet alley behind the Portsmouth Brewery.  The mercury flirting with zero, Bedard's gloved hands are happy to find a warm, albeit brief relief as they rifle through a day or two's worth of lukewarm restaurant scraps: everything from fruit rinds to pulled pork to near-rotten sauces and chicken scraps.  The real culprits are harder to find - the coffee stirrers, rubber bands, crayons, plastic bags, and bottle caps serving as the slippery needles in the slimiest of haystacks.  Setting aside these undesirables -- compost heaps unfortunately have no use for plastic, wax, or glass -- Bedard and his partner, Marcel Miranda, will repeat the process several times this morning, stopping at the Portsmouth restaurants that have left the requisite yellow baskets outside their back doors.

Bedard and Miranda will toss the wax and plastic bits and bring what remains--anywhere from 100 pounds to multiple tons of would-be waste--to select local facilities, where it will join already mountainous mounds of compost... To read the full story click here!

Weeds Concede

Sep 8, 2010

From Coastal Home

By Jim Cavan

In the world of organic lawn care, Paul Tukey is like a rock star. A very polarizing rock star.

Tukey has engineered the nation's highest-profile organic makeover on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; produced and hosted his own national television show on HGTV; recently made his first movie (A Chemical Reaction); and his book is considered by many to be the authority for a new, fast-growing, green-lawn-care consciousness. He has been on Good Morning America and The Martha Stewart Show, and he's one the most sought-after speakers and lecturers in his field.

But for all the accolades and exhaustive media attention, Tukey's stardom is as much maligned as it is lauded. To some in the chemical lawncare industry, he is an "eco-terrorist."  He sometimes receives angry, threatening e-mails from people who worry that Tukey is going to make their backyards illegal... To read the full article click here!

Built to Last

Sep 8, 2010

From Coastal Home

By Jim Cavan

When Marc and Cheryl Batchelder decided to build a home that was as energy-efficient as possible, they didn't just go for he gold - they went for the platinum.

In July of 2009, the newly minted Batchelder home, located on Lawrence Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) Platinum certification, the organization's highest mark. 

The home was the 216th nationwide to achieve such recognition. When the project began there were only 28 Platinum-certified homes throughout the country.  Such a jump in LEED-certified projects -- a wave the Batchelders were more than happy to ride -- speaks to the growing and fervent demand for the more energy efficient, carbon-neutral homes.... To read the full article click here!

Local media company takes green message to many platforms

Sep 7, 2010

From The Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH — In a media landscape where the Internet is as indispensable as it is convenient, trying to find the most effective means of keeping someone's attention is as crucial as grabbing it. The more serious the topic, the more important it is the interest be immediately piqued.

At least one Seacoast media company said it has figured that out. Portsmouth-based Now Or Never Media is working to change how global climate change information is transmitted, and how it can bring people together. The team: two local activists. The message: climate change is here and happening now. The outlet: anything new and exciting. The goal: nothing short of changing the world.

Now Or Never Media manager and producer Melissa Paly and director Bill Rogers said now is the time to address climate change. While they began working with each other nearly a decade ago, it wasn't until 2006 when their work took an activist tone. Teaming with photo-journalist turned filmmaker Peter Vandermark, in 2007 Rogers collaborated with local filmmaker Tom Jackson to produce their first video, "Out of Balance." The film took a critical look at Exxon Mobile and its role — along with principals in the Bush administration — in influencing energy and climate change policy.

Click here to read the full story!

Boston Green Fest Wrap-Up

Sep 1, 2010

By Scott Szycher

From Beyond Economics

Fellow Green Group Boston member Mark Hoffman and I (Scott Szycher) had the pleasure of attending the Boston Green Fest last week, including the Green Jobs Forum on Thursday at the Massachusetts State House. I thought there were some tidbits that apply to the Seacoast region, and the Green Alliance community.

The Green Jobs Forum actually focused on several problems facing Boston. It’s densely populated, with a lack of “green” space for its residents to farm in, and its children to play in. As a result, one of its biggest challenges revolves around the issue of food: how can the city increase its residents’ access to fresh, locally grown food? Click here to read more.

York, Maine, cabinet makers bring old-fashioned quality to bear

Sep 1, 2010

From Portsmouth Herald

By Jim Cavan

YORK, Maine — In the middle of a recession, you might not expect to see a high-end cabinetry studio turning a healthy profit

But York- and Newburyport, Mass.,-based Jewett Farms & Co. said it is doing just that. Jewett represents a quintessential Yankee philosophy: making the most out of what you have and making it as beautiful as it is long-lasting. For folks at the Newburyport-based studio and showroom in York, everything is about maximizing resources, particularly local resources, and leaving nothing behind.

According to Jewett partner Elena Ruocco Bachrach, the company's commitment to quality goes hand in hand with its equally strong commitment to green and sustainable business practices. "We're driven with quality and longevity in mind, things we consider very green in and of themselves," she said. "And beyond that, the materials we use are the best and greenest available."... Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald!