Author Archives: brblanch

Sprouting Boardwalk wins PARE’s 4th Annual Earth Day Photo Contest

“Sprouting Boardwalk” by Shane Driscoll wins the 4th Annual Earth Day Photo Contest. Check out his take on sustainable communities and how his photograph fits this year’s Green Cities theme.

“A sign that creating a sustainable community is easier than you think is observed in Sprouting Boardwalk photographed at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, RI.  Mother Nature leaves hints of innovation throughout our daily lives; it is just a matter of discovering these hidden elements.  An organic planter lines the boardwalk in a decaying wooden structural element filled with wind-blown sand and just the right mixture of light and nutrients to support these budding spires of grass.”

Shane will receive a gift card to Chipotle, consistently regarded as one of the greenest restaurant chains. Not only do they source “food with integrity“, they are constructing new restaurants to USGBC LEED Platinum standards.

You can check out all of the entries here.

Special thanks to all who entered the contest this year. This year’s entrants were:

Photo 1: ”Sprouting Boardwalk” by Shane Driscoll

Photo 2: “Climbing to the Future” by Allen Orsi

Photo 3: “Settling Down in the Suburbs” by Lauren Hastings

Photo 4: “Cape Town” by Victoria Howland

Photo 5: “Piece of Nature” by Jay Gaudette

Photo 6: “High Line” by Brandon Blanchard

Photo 7: “Water Taxi” by Dave Easterbrooks

Photo 8: “Vegetation” by Cari Orsi

Photo 9: “Container Gardening” by Tim Thies

Photo 10: “A Walk on Wood” by Scott Lindgren



Voting Begins for PARE’s 4th Annual Earth Day Photo Contest

The entries are in for Pare Corporation’s 4th Annual Earth Day Photo Contest!

This year’s theme for Earth Day is Green Cities. We asked Pare employees to submit photographs and a brief summary of why they thought it best represented this theme. Like in year’s past, we received some great entries. Take a look below and choose your favorite!


#1 – Sprouting Boardwalk

Entry #1

A sign that creating a sustainable community is easier than you think is observed in “Sprouting Boardwalk” photographed at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, RI.  Mother Nature leaves hints of innovation throughout our daily lives; it is just a matter of discovering these hidden elements.  An organic planter lines the boardwalk in a decaying wooden structural element filled with wind-blown sand and just the right mixture of light and nutrients to support these budding spires of grass.

#2 Climbing to the Future

Entry #2

As host of the 2013 USGBC Green Build Conference, the City of Philadelphia is a leader in the implementation and advancement of “green technology”. This photograph, taken at the foot of the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum steps, embodies the future of green initiative. While our generation has taken the first step to help future generations achieve this monumental design standard, there remains much work ahead to ensure that we as the human race continue to strive to reach our goal of a sustainable future.



#3 Settling Down in the Suburbs

Entry #3 Settling Down in the Suburbs

A city or town is only truly “green” when all its inhabitants are accounted for! I was lucky enough to witness this pair of Osprey building their nest only a short distance from a busy state highway in a suburb of Providence. Manmade platforms like the one pictured here allow these fish-eating birds of prey to thrive in developed coastal areas.


 #4 Cape Town

Entry #4 Cape Town

A city surrounded by mountains.

#5 Piece of Nature


Entry #5 Piece of NatureI took this photo in October on a hike in New Hampshire.  It is looking at Mt. Chicora from the middle sister mountain.  Getting people out into beautiful places like this is becoming more and more popular, and each time we bring a little piece of nature back with us that inspires us to make our cities better.


#6 High Line

Entry #4

What was once an abandoned elevated freight line is now one of Manhattan’s most loved new attractions: The High Line. Rather than demolishing the historic rail line, the City of New York preserved it, transforming it into a linear park complete with a walking path, landscape areas, food vendors and outdoor art displays. Great Cities like New York embrace their parks and green spaces as important public gathering spots. Green Cities do the same.

 #7 Water Taxi

No. 7 Water Taxi
Our cities and urban centers offer a multitude of opportunities for living, working, and playing. More and more they also offer a multitude of sustainable transportation options, from subways and light rail to zip cars, bike share, and waterborne taxis and ferries.


 #8 Vegetation

No. 8 Vegetation

This photo seems to suggest vegetation can grow just about anywhere naturally, city or country.  However, it also reminds us that this is the type of vegetation that we will be left with if we don’t take the time to preserve the natural open spaces of the natural landscapes and provide ample room for other flora to grow and flourish.

#9 Container Gardening

Entry #3


Many people think living in a city means you can’t enjoy gardening or growing your own food. Container gardens can allow you to grow your own vegetables in a relatively small footprint, which can make City living both more attractive and more sustainable.



Celery Haiku

Celery in cups

Grow it on your deck or porch

Ants on a log, yum.


#10 A Walk on Wood

 No. 10  A Walk on Wood

In Portland Oregon you will find a unique experience, a wooden sidewalk that spans four downtown blocks connecting Jamison Square Park and Tanner Springs Park in Portland’s Pearl District.  The wooden walkway and parks were planned as a way to reconnect this part of downtown Portland to the Willamette River.  The parks and surrounding area within the Pearl District have many sustainable design elements to enjoy.  Besides utilizing wood as a renewable resource material for the walkway, there is a fountain that simulates a shallow tidal pool, and the recreation of a natural wetland and pond in an urban setting.

I found it to be a very relaxing experience while walking the four blocks as the sound of the wood below your feet seems to transport you out of the urban environment.  I would recommend the journey if you are in Portland.


Please vote for your favorite photo/message by sending an email to  Simply indicate your choice of Photos 1 – 10.

Thanks for participating!








Tiny House Movement – Part 2

Hopefully you remember this recent blog post about a Tiny House that Lauren Hastings’ sister Sarah is designing and building for a project in the Architecture and Environmental Studies program at Mount Holyoke College.  She is sourcing materials locally and is incorporating sustainable and energy efficient features wherever possible.

It appears this is a trend worth following. This Yahoo Finance article spotlights a Rhode Island couple that did very much the same thing. They moved into their home in January, which they built for an estimated $10,000. Its a sleek 128 square feet…about double the size of a standard office cubicle! Loads of recycled and upcycled materials went into the home, including an old trailer bed for a foundation, reclaimed concrete blocks, and secondhand wood and insulation. They even added their own composting toilet!

Check out their blog Another Tiny House Story for more.


PARE Engineers Help Demonstrate Engineering Concepts to Area Children

Recently, engineers from Pare Corporation volunteered at the Providence Children’s Museum alongside the ASCE Rhode Island Section Younger Member Group as part of National Engineer’s Week. The event, conducted annually by the ASCE Younger Member Group, introduces children to different aspects of civil engineering through a set of activity stations. Children visit each station and are awarded stickers toward their “junior engineer certificates.” Over 120 kids participated at this year’s event, held on February 22nd.

Mark Dowdell and Shane Driscoll presented water filtration to the children, demonstrating how sponges and coffee filters can remove solids from water, much like a more sophisticated water filtration system.

Mark Dowdell explains the experiment.

Mark Dowdell explains the experiment.

Mark Dowdell and a Future Engineer Perform the Demonstration

Mark Dowdell and a Future Engineer Perform the Demonstration

Shane Driscoll Performs Another Demonstration...

Shane Driscoll Performs Another Demonstration… Amazing Results!

…to Amazing Results!


















Eric Silva ran the geotechnical station, demonstrating how settlement can differ in various types of soil, from sand to potting soil.

Eric Silva Preparing a Geotechnical Demonstration

Eric Silva Preparing a Geotechnical Demonstration

Other stations demonstrated building construction using marshmallows and toothpicks, bridge construction using cardboard, and how stormwater (or rain) runoff can create erosion problems around riverbanks.

Written by Shane Driscoll

URI – The Greenest College in Rhode Island

The Princeton Review recently recognized the University of Rhode Island as the greenest college in the State for the fourth consecutive year. Among the factors elevating URI above its in-State peers are several LEED-certified buildings recently constructed on campus. PARE has played a major role on all of these projects, including the $60 million, 140,000-S.F. LEED Gold Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences and the $22 million, 43,000-SF LEED Silver Hope Commons Dining Hall. The new $44 million, 429-bed Hillside Residence Hall was completed in 2012 and is currently pursuing LEED Gold certification, while the $75 million, 145,000-S.F. College of Pharmacy was constructed to LEED standards and completed earlier this year.

Here is a gallery showing some of our projects at URI.

Green Colleges and Universities

Trish Teeter passed along this infographic from the Green Living Ideas website about how colleges and universities have been at the forefront of sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. I thought it was interesting to share on the GreenPARE blog since PARE has completed several projects for area colleges and universities, many of which have incorporated sustainable design elements and achieved LEED certification.

Plan It Green

National Geographic, in cooperation with General Electric and other corporate partners, has introduced a free online simulation game allowing you to build a sustainable city from the ground up. Players must manage their resources while expanding the city in a sustainable way by incorporating eco-friendly energy sources and introducing green initiatives. Name your city, choose an avatar, then connect with friends through popular social media sites.

Click here to watch the trailer and take the tutorial, or see screenshots from the game below.






PARE’s 3rd Annual Photo Contest

Once again, Pare Corporation is holding its Earth Day Photo Contest. All PARE employees are encouraged to submit a photograph that either they, a family member, or friend has taken that celebrates the environment and a sustainable lifestyle.

Photographs must be submitted by April 10th and will be posted to the GreenPARE blog for all to see. Voting will follow, and the winner will be announced on Earth Day, April 22nd. Check in to the blog for updates and to see the photos once they are posted.

Change the Course

Do you know how much water you use each day? When you add up all the water consumed from the food, energy, and products we use, its probably much more than you think. According to National Geographic’s Change the Course campaign, the average American’s freshwater footprint is about 2,000 gallons per day!

Probably North America’s greatest at-risk source of fresh drinking water is the Colorado River, which directly impacts the lives of 30 Million people. The Change the Course program, along with its corporate partners, has committed to restoring 1,000 gallons of water in the Colorado River for every person who pledges to use less water. While making your pledge here, you can also watch their YouTube video, read informational graphics, and explore interactive maps describing the Colorado River and its watershed.

You can also click the following link to see a poster describing the Change the Course campaign.


Compressed Air Energy Storage

Shane Driscoll found this interesting story from New Hampshire Public Radio about a start-up company that has developed what they believe is a better way of storing energy, particularly important in the ever expanding renewable energy marketplace. Their technology uses compressed air for storing energy instead of batteries.

Click here to read the report transcript from the NPR website, and continue sending us your ideas for the blog!