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4 Ideas for an Efficient Green Wedding

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wedding by Timothy Marsee via Flickr

Your wedding will be one of the most important and exciting days of your life, but it could also be expensive, stressful, or even burdensome to plan. Not only do you have to coordinate all the logistics and meet your needs and wants at the same time, you’ll pay out the nose for even the most basic amenities.

However, if you opt to “go green” with your wedding, you’ll be able to save some money, you’ll end up with more unique ideas and aesthetics for your celebration, and you’ll have less impact on the environment.

Green Wedding Tips for Brides and Grooms

Going green at your wedding isn’t as challenging as you may think. With just a few simple tweaks and clever applications, you can ensure your wedding is one that everyone will remember for years to come.

1. Use Recycled Paper for Invitations

If you’re having a large wedding, you’re probably sending out a lot of mail. From engagement announcements to save-the-dates, you could end up sending out thousands of pieces of mail. That’s a lot of wasted paper!

Instead of relying on traditional paper invitations, opt for one of the many environmentally-friendly alternatives. This could include invitations made from tree-free papers like cotton, bamboo, linen, or hemp. There are also options for post-consumer and recycled waste paper. Some printers will even give you the choice of plant-based inks, such as soy.

Finally, forget about the envelope for the RSVP card. Instead, opt for a postcard or ask guests to send an email or text to the wedding planner. This can cut back on a lot of superfluous paper waste.

2. Opt for Local Vendors

When it comes to selecting vendors for your wedding – such as a florist, catering company, and band – it’s always better to go with local options. This cuts down on travel and ensures you’re pouring back into the local economy.

For example, let’s say you’re having your wedding in Austin, Texas. The Grooves are a top band, STEMS is a top florist, and Royal Fig is consistently ranked as one of the top catering companies. All it took was a quick Google search and few minutes of research to find these. You can find local vendors in your city, too.

3. Choose a Natural Environment

Location is obviously important. While outdoor weddings are inherently risky, they are also much more eco-friendly. If you can find an outdoor spot, consider the time of year and weather patterns, and make it happen. Something as simple as a friend’s beautiful backyard could work.

In terms of throwing a green wedding, the best piece of advice is to keep the ceremony and reception in the same location. This cuts down on unnecessary commuting and ensures everyone is safe and happy.

4. Use Upcycled Decorations

Wedding decorating is usually the most fun aspect of the wedding planning process for the bride. But who says you have to go out and purchase or rent a bunch of traditional accessories? Here are a handful of cute ideas that you can use to piece together a wedding that fits your style.

Throw a Green Wedding

White may be the color of choice at your wedding, but don’t forget about going green. Your wedding day will be one of the single most important days of your life and it’s important that you do everything possible to make it enjoyable for everyone involved.

By going green, you can not only save money, but you’ll also rest easy at night knowing you successfully minimized your impact on the environment. That’s what we like to call a win-win situation.

 

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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