In these tight times, a Green Alliance Green Card is part of your family's austerity plan. It's a ticket to discounts at over 90 local green businesses, allowing you to save money on goods and services that you and your family need; from food, to apparel, to building materials, or even professional services like banking, insurance, or investments. You'll keep more of your hard-earned money while supporting the local economy and the sustainable entrepreneurs that are leading it to greener pastures.
Take a moment to read some of the articles in this month's Gazette; great examples of how the local business community, supported by consumers like you, is making a difference. You'll find articles on how businesses in industries not traditionally associated with sustainability - like insurance, apparel, investing, and building supplies - are doing their part to keep our community beautiful and healthy. Whether it's by going paperless, using alternative energy sources or using recycled material for manufacturing, these companies are going the extra mile to be as responsible and green as they can be.
Let's show the world what a green austerity program looks like!
Earthtec lands in downtown Portsmouth
Known for its out-of-this-world softness and the fact that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles, Earthtec apparel has finally returned to its roots in downtown Portsmouth.
Located at 76 Congress Street right in the heart of Market Square’s main retail district -- and right across the street from the new Green Alliance office -- Earthtec ’s new store is focusing on its own brand of apparel, including jackets, pullovers, hoodies, blankets, and socks. And if you can take your eyes off the colorful clothing inside the store that seems to beckon patrons, the store itself is an attraction to downtown’s many visitors.
Befitting a company that’s known for outdoor clothing, a rustic yet modern look dominates the décor, with original wood flooring, brick walls, and a bamboo butcher block top used as the checkout area. The renovation of the retail space entailed owner Dennis Randall reaching out to local contractors and retailers, including Portsmouth-based Greenovations and Newington-based Rockingham Electric, to support the local economy, and integrate their green building concepts into a location which merges style and sustainability.
“We wanted this store to be an extension of who we are and what we love," said Randall. “And we’re all about the outdoors, and sustainable clothing that looks good and keeps us warm and dry.”...read more in our blog here!
Use your Green Alliance Green Card to save 10% on everything in the store at Earthtec! Or, purchase a Green Card at Earthtec, and receive a FREE swag bag with $100 worth of GA gifts! Click here to learn more!
Rockingham Electric invites you to meet the new lightbulb
For more than a century, the light bulb has stood as a symbol of innovation and human ingenuity. Today, the light bulb is living up to that reputation by taking energy efficiency to a whole new level.
Sitting on the counter of The Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric is a display reading, “The new LED lighting from Philips is here, and it can change everything.” It contains Philips brand LED replacement light bulbs that use just a fraction of the energy of the traditional incandescents they replace. A 60-watt incandescent light bulb can now be swapped out for a12-watt LED. A 40-watt incandescent can be replaced with an 8-watt LED.
“Saving energy is as easy as changing a light bulb,” joked Jim Pender, President and CEO of Rockingham Electric.
And that’s just the beginning. Consumers will soon be able to replace their old 60-watt incandescents with a new highly efficient 10-watt LED light bulb from Philips. This groundbreaking replacement light bulb won Philips the Department of Energy’s first ever Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize in August. If every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the country were replaced with the 10-watt L Prize winner, Americans would save around $3.9 billion worth of electricity.
“The world of lighting is changing rapidly, probably more than any other category we work with,” Pender noted...read more on our GA blog by clicking here!
Save 10% on all items at The Lighting Center! Also, qualifying businesses are eligable for a FREE lighting audit with Rockingham Electric! Click here to learn more about the thousands of dollars in potential savings to be had with a GA membership!
Socially responsible investing a market safe haven
If the stock market was a roller coaster at Six Flags, you can bet the line to ride would be as short as the riders are risky.
Amidst a seemingly omnipresent specter of a double-dip recession here in the U.S., recent world market jitters have thrown into high relief the precarious state of the global economy.
But a lesser known – and lesser covered – phenomenon is beginning to resonate above the turmoil: The relative success of what is known as “socially responsible investing” (SRI).
According to the Social Investment Forum (SIF), 65% of the 160 socially responsible mutual funds outperformed their benchmarks in 2009. Meanwhile, a majority of large cap SRI funds – those which deal with companies valued in the billions of dollars – outperformed the S&P 500 over ten years. What’s more, SRI itself continues to grow every year, moving away from simply screening out specific industries like tobacco and weapons, and towards “positive screening strategies” which target socially and environmentally responsible companies and sectors.
In fact, according to SIF, SRI “now encompasses and estimated $3.07 trillion out of $25.2 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace today”. To put it another way, nearly 1 out of every 8 dollars under professional investment in the U.S. is involved in some aspect of socially responsible and sustainable investing.... read more here!
Green Alliance members receive a FREE portfolio review as well as a $50 gift certificate to the GA Business of their choice from Progressive Asset Management! Click here to learn more!
The paperless approach, with Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance
We all know ways we could be greener and more responsible. Some methods are simple, like making sure we throw that coffee cup in the right bin. Others, like choosing a bicycle over a combustion engine, take more effort. And then there are green technologies, like alternative energy or hybrid cars, with upfront costs many people can’t afford.
But, ideally, shouldn’t sustainable living come as easily as choosing the recycling bin? One seacoast business owner has found a few simple ways to use technology to not only conserve resources, but to increase efficiency as well.
Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance (PAI) has been a paperless business since signing its first policy in 2005, which is no small feat in an industry that’s known for piles and piles of paperwork. Their secret is really no secret at all: computers and the Internet. While these are technologies that are often blamed for impeding workplace efficiency, this isn’t a problem at PAI. Instead, the business takes advantage of a management program by a company called Applied Systems that is designed for insurance companies and allows them to use all the same documents, just digitally.
“I’m able to access clients’ documents immediately. I don’t have to go digging around in a file cabinet,” says Merwin. “In a small location, there’s no file space whatsoever.”... Read more on our GA blog by clicking here!
Green Card holders get a FREE tote bag for every policy purchased from Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance! Also, any GA member who purchases a policy will have a tree planted on their behalf through plantabillion.org!Click here to learn more!
In the midst of Native American Heritage Month, Visions impresses
They’re not superheroes. They might never trend on Twitter. Their profession – while certainly beholden to flairs of the artistic – is nothing if not workmanlike. They’re manner is unassuming; their demeanor, as friendly as it is humble.
But catch a firsthand glimpse of what occupies Nathan Johnson and Ernest Proper’s spare time – to say nothing of their encouraging business ethic – chances are what you see might surprise you.
Co-owners of the Portsmouth-based Visions Kitchens & Design, Johnson and Proper can both trace their lineages back to Native American roots. Lakota, to be exact (Johnson is Hunka – or adopted – Lakota, while Proper is Lakota Oglala and Miq Mac).
November being Native American Heritage Month, Johnson and Proper’s unique journey is one on which both are proud to reflect.
While Johnson was born and grew up here in the Granite State, the New Hampshire-born Proper – whose father served in the Air Force – spent time in locales as far flung as Wyoming and Texas. The two’s paths first crossed 13 years ago at a Boy Scout summer camp. Since then, they’ve become as close as family, with Johnson having joined Proper’s Native American music group, “Black Thunder Singers”. Two weeks ago, the group’s album, Black Thunder, was awarded a Native American Music Award for “Best Pow Wow Recording.”... read more here!
All Green Card holders receive a FREE initial consultation, as well as 15% off all qualifying cabinets and countertops with Visions Kitchens! Also, purchase cabinets or countertops, and Visions will pay for your 1st year in the Green Alliance!Click hereto learn more!
Middleton Building Supply a beacon for "buy local" ethos
In a tough economy, it’s understandable – smart even – for customers to want to save a buck. Which is a big reason why big box stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart remain prosperous despite the lean times.
But often forgotten in the week-to-week household budget calculus is where, exactly, that $15.99 for a hammer or gallon of paint actually goes. As it turns out, probably not where you thought.
“People need to realize that with the big box stores, most of that money gets funneled out of the local economy,” says Andy Carberry, Manager at Middleton Building Supply in Hampton. “It goes straight back to the corporations and to the stockholders.”
As it turns out, the statistics more than back up Carberry’s claims: According to a study conducted by Civic Economics, for every dollar spent locally, 68 cents remains in that business’ community, compared to just 43 cents of every dollar spent at big box stores.
For many communities – and doubtless for the Seacoast writ large – the difference could amount to millions of more dollars circulating throughout the local economy.
Circulating through places like Middleton – family owned and operated since 1962 – and hundreds of other independently-owned businesses. .....read more here!
Green Card Holders save 5% on all regularly-priced, in-stock items. Also, both Middleton Hampton and Dover locations are currently offering special deals on wood pellets and bricks! Buy one ton of wood bricks for $299, one ton of pellets for $269, or four or more tons of pellets for $259 a ton! Includes FREE delivery!
Melissa Aho: Entrepreneur, geothermal pioneer
Ultra Geothermal of Barrington was one of just six Granite State businesses honored at last month's New Hampshire Business Magazine’s 2011 Lean & Green Awards in Portsmouth. For company President Melissa Aho, the award is just the latest milestone in a journey that began a little more than three years ago.
In 2008, Ultra Heating & Cooling changed its name to Ultra Geothermal and completed its transformation from a traditional HVAC company to a cutting edge clean energy firm specializing in geothermal installation.
“In 2006, when I joined Ultra Heating & Cooling as an employee, we did about 30-50 percent of our business in geothermal,” according to Aho.
“I started getting phone calls from people interested in geothermal who found our website,” she said. “We began hosting free information sessions once a month. They were very successful, with 20 or 30 people coming to learn about geothermal and tour our facility.”
Soon, Aho found herself accepting invitations to speak about geothermal for local communities like Barrington and Dover, as well as from student groups at the University of New Hampshire.
“Education is a life passion to me and is the best part of my job – and I do it free of charge!” she exclaimed...check out the full story in our blog by clicking here!
Get a FREE electrostatic filter, complete with a 10-year warranty -- a value of $210 -- from Ultra Geothermal when you join the Green Alliance! Learn more here!
GA Businesses win big at 2011 Building NH Awards
Congratulations to the four Green Alliance Business Partners who were among the Granite State builders, architects, and homeowners named winners at the 2011 Building New Hampshire Awards.
Simply Green and TMS Architects were honored for the green features of their shared home, Regeneration Park. Ridgeview Construction and Ultra Geothermal, meanwhile, each won an award for residential building.
The announcements were made today at an awards breakfast held at the Residence Inn/Portsmouth Harbor Events & Conference Center, also a Green Alliance Business Partner, not to mention New Hampshire’s first LEED-certified hotel and conference facility.
Winning entries were selected in recognition of their work to build, remodel, or retrofit an energy-efficient, high-performance residence or commercial building. The award-winning projects were all designed and built to minimize their carbon footprint and impact on the environment. Energy Star, LEED, ReGreen, and National Green Building Standard certified projects were all granted equal consideration.
“The winners of the 2011 Building New Hampshire Awards are the people to watch,” said Kathy Poggi, principal of Seacoast Ink and producer of the awards program. “They’re the ones who are producing some of the most innovative, sustainable building and remodeling projects in the Granite State"... check out the full story in our blog by clicking here!
GA Green Card holders receive 10% off all labor as well as a FREE energy audit with Ridgeview Construction! Click here! Also save over $100 each heating season with Simply Green Biofuels, and receive a FREE consultation with TMS Architects!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
Climate change conference coming to Portsmouth
Why are storms becoming more powerful, causing unseasonal snowfall, heavier rainfall and flooding in New England and southern New Hampshire?
That’s just one of the questions a group of local and nationally recognized experts will answer at “Climate Change & New Hampshire’s Seacoast”, an all day conference being held at the Portsmouth Harbor Events & Conference Center on Thursday, November 17 from 9 AM to 5 PM.
The goal of the conference is to provide an opportunity for citizens to learn about how climate change is affecting the Seacoast region in a science-based, factual and non-confrontational setting, according to event organizer Farrell Seiler, Chairman of the New Hampshire Carbon Action Alliance. Seiler, 67, is a life-long Republican and has been involved in renewable energy and green technologies for more than three decades.
Keynote speaker is MIT Prof. Kerry Emanuel, one of the nation’s leading experts on hurricanes and extreme weather. Emanuel will discuss why hurricanes are becoming more powerful and more destructive, a topic Seiler believes is particularly relevant for Seacoast residents.....Read more by clicking here!
Green Card holders receive $20 off a ticket to the upcoming Climate Change Conference by clicking here! Not a GA member? Register for the conference here, and you'll receive a FREE Green Card with your registration!
Pepperell Mill an incubator for "live-work" model
Russell Caron wakes up in his upstairs apartment at Biddeford’s Pepperell Mill Campus. Once ready for work, the professional photographer’s commute involves little more than a casual walk down a few flights of stairs, where Russell Caron Wedding Photography resides.
His busy day of emailing or meeting with clients and editing wedding photos begins. Before long, a young couple arrives. Caron walks them through various photography options, taking them down to his ground floor photo studio – also in the mill – to showcase his extensive, well-honed portfolio. He listens to them excitedly describe their special day’s grand vision. All the while, the couple marvel at the window view of the mighty Saco River, along with the myriad 30”x40” canvas prints on Caron’s wall, accumulated over 10 years in the trade.
At lunch, Russell runs upstairs, whips up a sandwich, and changes his laundry to the dryer. Within half an hour, he’s back to work. When they day’s done, it’s downstairs to the gym for a quick workout, before celebrating with a salad and cold beer upstairs at the Union House Pub.
A true and proud testament to the “live-work” ethos, Russell Caron's day at Pepperell Mill Campus rarely involves a car. His carbon footprint? Magnitudes lower than when he was commuting 22 miles to Portland every day.... Read more here!
Green Alliance members save 10% on residential rental rates with Pepperell Mill Campus when they use their Green Card! Clickhere to learn more!
With new array, Revolution "education" comes full circle
Having already put online massive solar energy systems for a local elementary and high school, the only thing missing from Revolution Energy’s education portfolio was a college or university project.
But with August's installation of a 25-kilowatt, 99-panel solar system at Great Bay Community College (GBCC), the Dover-based Revolution was able to toss their proverbial mortarboard skyward, and celebrate.
One of a number of statewide projects funded in part through a grant provided by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (OEP), the system is expected to save the college thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.
The remainder of the array was paid for up front by Revolution. In turn, Revolution and GBCC came to terms on a power-purchase agreement (PPA), a payment structure wherein the college pays Revolution each month for energy generated by the system – in essence, a green mortgage.
After nine years, GBCC would have the option to own the system outright.
Additionally, the new system will include the implementation of a comprehensive classroom curriculum, allowing college teachers and professors to develop an on-site – and decidedly hands-on – educational component suitable for subjects ranging from science to economics....Read more in our blog by clicking here!
Join the GA and receive a FREE alternative energy consultation from Revolution Energy! Click here to learn more!
· Nov 4-6 – The Solar and Wind Expo – Royal Plaza Trade Center, Marlborough, MA. The Solar and Wind Expo Mass will bring the exciting possibility of getting energy from Nature to consumers this fall. The Green Alliance will present a workshop on marketing your renewable energy firm on Friday afternoon. For more info, click here.
· Nov 4 – Kittery Community Supper at Robert’s Maine Grill – 5:30 to 8pm, 362 Route 1, Kittery, ME. The main focus of the supper is a $12, 3 course menu – a true “recession buster” offering! To add to the community spirit of it, each Tuesday Robert’s donates a portion of proceeds from the evening to a local non-profit -- in this case, the Kittery Land Trust. Reservations recommended. For more info, please call (207) 439-0300.
· Nov 5 – Brookwood School Sustainability Fair – 10am to 12pm, 1 Brookwood Road, Manchester, MA. The Brookwood School Sustainability Fair is an educational marketplace geared toward teaching students and the community about sustainable issues. Emailcontactsustainability@brookwood.edu for more info. Nov 5 – Third Annual Pizza-Tasting Even to benefit Children’s Museum of NH – 5 to 8pm, 6 Washington Street, Dover, NH . In addition to all the pizza-tasting, there will be activities for children including games, interactive exploration of exhibits and face painting. This event is family friendly but adults on their own are also welcome, as this is a great opportunity to start holiday shopping. For more info, click here!
· Nov 6 – “The Occupied Symposium” public Q&A session – 1pm, The Stone Church, Newmarket, NH. Representatives from Occupy New Hampshire will hold the state's 1st public Q&A session aimed at demystifying the Occupy movement. If you are interested in leading or co-leading one of the session's teach-ins, please contact Mark Provost at 603-540-3845, or firstname.lastname@example.org · Nov 9 – Your Land, Clean Water, Your Legacy – 6 to 8:30 pm, Governor’s Inn, 78 Wakefield Street, Rochester, NH. Enhance and protect your drinking water, recreational areas, property values, and fish and wildlife habitats through proven practices to reduce watershed pollution. Please RSVP on-line at www.prep.unh.edu/sfwc.htm, by email to Sharon.email@example.com, or call (603) 862-1029.
· Nov 9 –Solar PV Workshop – 6:30pm, SEA Solar Store, 87 Route 108, Dover, NH. Come learn about solar PV for residential electricity production. Seacoast Energy Alternatives Inc. owner Jack Bingham will discuss topics like off-grid, grid-tied & grid-tied with batteries, system design, home integration & financial practicality. Light refreshments will be served at both workshops. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP by phone (603) 749-9550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Nov 12 – Adult / Child Lego Robotics Day – 10am to 3pm, Dover Children’s Museum, 6 Washington Street, Dover, NH. A workshop for parents who want to share in the fun of building and programming a robot. Go to www.childrens-museum.org for more info. Nov 15 – Solar Energy for the Homeowner – 3 to 5pm, ReVision Energy, 7 Commercial Drive, Exeter, NH. Presented by Dan Clapp, New Hampshire Branch Manager for ReVision Energy, this intro to solar energy options will help homeowners answer basic questions about solar, while illustrating how current incentives make 2011 the year to go solar. For more info, visit www.revisionenergy.com · Nov 17 – Climate Change and New Hampshire’s Seacoast – 8am to 5pm, Portsmouth Harbor Events & Conference Center. The event hopes to bring the issue of a tumultuous climate to the forefront of people's and politicians' minds. There will be a series of panelists and a keynote speaker to share the most up-to-date information on the future of our climate. GA members recieve a special discount (bringing the price down to $55 from $75) if they purchase tickets by Sepetmeber 30th. To register, click here! Non GA members receive a membership by purchasing a ticket here!
· Nov 20 – NH Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up – 1pm, Jenness Beach, Rye, NH. The Surfrider Foundation helps protect the beaches from harmful waste to keep beaches clean. For more info click here! Dec 1 – Oyster River Middle School Holiday Bazaar – 3 to 8pm, Oyster River Middle School, Durham, NH. Come join local businesses and artisans for a holiday shopping experience you can’t get at the Mall! It’s your chance to shop local hand-made goods, boutique items and more from Kittery, Exeter, Portsmouth, Newmarket, Dover and Oyster River, together in one location. Be sure to stop by the Green Alliance booth to check out what deals the Green Alliance businesses are offering. Don’t miss this chance to support our local communities. You are sure to find something extra special this Holiday Season!