Environment

Environment
5:11 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Edible Packaging? Retailers Not Quite Ready For Stonyfield's Wrapperless Yogurt

Credit Stonyfield Yogurt and Wikifoods

  A handful of companies are trying to take an idea straight out of Willy Wonka and turn it into reality: edible packaging. I mean, why dump tons of waste into landfills when the container your food comes in could be a part of the snack?

One company called WikiFoods has taken inspiration from fruit to create a frozen yogurt ball surrounded by an edible skin. But marketing glitz aside, this product shows that duplicating nature is no easy feat.

Read more
Environment
1:26 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Carbon Prices Fall For The First Time In A Year

Credit Jon Sullivan / Flickr CC

  After a year of increases, the price that power-plant owners pay to emit a ton of carbon under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, fell this quarter.

Investors, who crowded into the market last year, were less bullish in the latest auction. They took only 20 percent of carbon allowances this quarter, down from 55 percent at the beginning of 2014.

Read more
Environment
5:26 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Gulf Of Maine Is Warming Faster Than Most Of World's Oceans

Credit Kevin Bryant / Flickr CC

Researchers studying the Gulf of Maine say its waters are warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, and worry the rising temperatures will hit New England commercial fisheries hard.

The study is still in its preliminary phase, and is being conducted by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. According to their data the waters off of New England’s coast are warming by about a half a degree Fahrenheit per year on average. That gives the region a dubious distinction.

Read more
Environment
3:20 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Vermont's Top Utility Wants To Transform The Electric Grid

David Crane, President and CEO of NRG, speaks at a press conference in Essex on Sept. 2 announcing NRG's partnership with Green Mountain Power.
Credit Angela Evancie for VPR

The Beacon 10 Stirling – black, with a glowing blue light, and about the size of a large chest freezer – emits a constant low hum. And this one, in the basement of the Essex Resort & Spa, converts natural gas into electricity, enough electricity to power an average-sized home.

It’s just one of the technological innovations on offer at NRG Energy, a national company that is about to use Vermont as a testing ground for its products and services.

Read more
Environment
5:40 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

State Releases 10-Year Energy Strategy

Credit NH OEP

At the tail-end of the section that opens New Hampshire’s ten-year energy strategy, released Tuesday, there are three paragraphs that acknowledge the issue which has been dominating the regional energy conversation. During the winter prices spike because natural gas electricity plants have been built and homeowners have converted to natural gas for heating and the region’s network of gas pipelines has not expanded as demand has grown.

Read more
Environment
3:58 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Innovative Solar Farm To Be Built On Rutland Landfill

Green Mountain Power President Mary Powell stands with Governor Peter Shumlin, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and others to announce the groundbreaking of a new $10 million solar farm being constructed on a Rutland landfill.
Nina Keck

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:58 pm

Green Mountain Power broke ground in Rutland Tuesday on a new $10 million solar project that the utility says will not only generate clean energy, but also provide emergency back up power to parts of the city when needed.

Solar arrays are sprouting up all over Rutland County and some of the larger ones have generated a fair amount of controversy and criticism.

Read more
Environment
2:57 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

NOAA Study: Cod Stocks Have Reached Historic Low

Credit Flickr CC

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA finds that Atlantic Cod cod stocks have reached the lowest level ever.

Russ Brown, with the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says after researchers observed declining cod stocks in 2011, counts during the last fishing season showed cod populations continue to slide. 

"All three of the bottom trawl surveys have all reached record low levels, and our estimate of spawning stock biomass coming out of the stock assessment has also reached record low levels," says Brown.

Read more
Environment
4:11 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Great Bay Habitat Continued Decline In 2013

Credit Pembleton / Flickr CC

Data released Friday shows that a crucial piece of the ecosystem of the Great Bay estuary continued a seventeen-year downward trend.

Eel-grass is a big deal to the Great Bay. According to Rachel Rouillard, the executive director of the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP), “eelgrass is like our canary in the coal-mine, it’s a fundamental underpinning of the health and vitality of the whole system.”

Read more
Environment
11:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

N.H. Composters Say Rule Change Could Stir Growth In Business

Paul Vera (left) and Michael Leavitt turn one of the more mature compost piles at Capital Compost
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Compost has long been the domain of farmers and gardeners, not city-folk, but with both Vermont and Massachusetts pushing ahead with bans on throwing away food waste, curb-side pickup of compost is set to become more commonplace.

Banning food-scraps from land-fills hasn’t come been high on the legislative agenda in New Hampshire, but with a few tweaks, towns could begin to turn to compost for another reason: to save money.

Read more
Environment
11:52 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Power Lines, Railroads May Help New England Cottontail Population

The New England cottontail rabbit
Credit via Griffins Guide

DNA analysis of the endangered New England cottontail shows that power line rights of way, railroad edges and roadsides may help support their diminishing habitat.

The small, brown rabbit has been declining in the region for decades. Development and natural forest growth have cut into the dense patches of shrubs and brush that it prefers.

Read more
Environment
9:31 am
Mon July 14, 2014

The Ins & Outs Of Star Island [Infographic]

(Click to enlarge)
Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

As sustainable as Star Island's systems are, the folks at Star Island Corporation are working to make them even more efficient, making improvements that mean bringing less onto the island, sending less off, and making more use of what's there.

The graphic below outlines what comes onto the island - either naturally or shipped by boat - what gets sent off, and where everything goes in between.

Notes:

Read more
Environment
6:48 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Star Island Seeks To Go Solar, Serve As Energy Example

Star Island lies more than 6 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, very close to the border with maine
Sara Plourde NHPR

Star Island – a 43 acre spit of land in the isles of shoals, more than 6 miles off the New Hampshire coast – is installing enough solar panels to power roughly 30 homes and a battery array to back them up.

The island is home to a hotel and conference center run by a non-profit with close ties to the Unitarian Universalist Church. Its efforts to go solar are actually culmination of years of work that some think are a model for how the future of energy could look on the mainland.

Read more
Environment
5:06 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Implementation Of State Energy Plan Will Depend On Politics

The baseline forecast for New Hampshire's energy mix does not imagine a whole-sale shift in where power comes from over the next ten years, though it does presume that the amount of energy coming from coal will shrink.
Credit NH OEP

New Hampshire officials are working on a new state energy strategy, which is supposed to be a roadmap to a new energy future, but politics may ultimately decide whether the strategy becomes reality.

Read more
Environment
5:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Timber-Frame Architect Wins Competition With Wooden Sky-Scraper Column

Tim Olson's "Coopered Column," on display at the Boston Society of Architects consists of 118 timber peices and over 250 screws
Courtesy: Tim Olson

Architect Tim Olson, from Bensonwood homes in Walpole, has a problem.

He and a friend have screwed together the first few pieces of a design project, called the Coopered Column, backwards.

“We’re looking at the plan upside down and assembling it, so we swapped the pieces,” he says laughing.

It’s understandable: there are 118 pieces – each one a big, meaty timber – and 250 screws to hold it all together.

Read more
Environment
8:30 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Infographic: The Science Behind Summer Storms

Credit NHPR Staff

With warming weather comes stormy weather - but why is that? If it's been a while since elementary school science class, catch up on the phenomena of summer thunderstorms and hail with this primer.

Read more

Pages