Thursday, May 15, 2008

Share Your Green Message Early

If you are planning green elements for your wedding let your guests know form the beginning. A lot of couples include a page in their program or on their website highlighting some of the eco-friendly elements they have included in their planning. Suzanne Parmet & Michael Whelan, added a comprehensive "green choices" page to their website with the following information:

Green Choices We've Made

This Website
We are using this website because it enables us to reduce the amount of paper needed to share important information with each of you. (We also think it's an easier - and more interesting - way to accomplish these goals.) Instead of sending you each a lot of cards with information about events, printed updates as details change, and reply cards with envelopes, you can instead find out everything you need to know and RSVP right on this site. Any paper product you do receive from us will be on recycled or tree-free paper. (For example, the cover wrapper and envelope liner for our invitations are made from mulberry & sugar cane paper. The printed sheets and envelopes are made from milkweed post-consumer recycled paper. And, the thread tying it together is linen.)

Wedding Location
We chose Bethesda as the location for our wedding weekend because it is easy to get here by mass transportation. And, all of our events are located within a short walk from the hotels we recommend and from one another so you will be able to get around without driving.

Reuse & Recycling
Only reusable plates, glassware, silverware and linens will be used during the wedding reception. And, any recyclable products used at our house on Saturday will in fact be recycled.

Carbon Offset
Travel, whether by air or by car, emits large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and for most weddings is the biggest contributor to the wedding’s carbon footprint. We plan to calculate the carbon footprint of our guests' travel and buy carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions. One donation recipient we are considering is the Green Communities Offset Fund, which raises funds to support the development of green, carbon-reducing (more energy efficient) homes for low income families. (If you'd like to match our donation for your carbon footprint, see Offset Your Carbon Footprint in Green Choices You Can Make below.)

Food Selections
Our menu will offer mostly vegetarian choices. Raising cattle uses much more energy than growing vegetables. And, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams. Runoff from farmlands is one of the greatest threats to water quality today. Agricultural activities that cause pollution include confined animal facilities, plowing, pesticide spraying, irrigation, fertilizing and harvesting.

Green Choices You Can Make

Travel Options - Getting to Bethesda
Please consider mass transit options.

If traveling by car, please don't travel alone. (Let us know if you'd like us to find a fellow traveler from your area with whom you may be able to share the ride.)

Travel Options - While In Town
Getting to Bethesda Events:
Please walk to the events. Everything is located within a 5 - 15 min walk from the Hyatt, the Residence Inn and the Bethesda Metro Station, and about a 10 - 20 min walk from the Doubletree. If you do drive, please car pool.

Getting to DC: Take Metro. Check the WMATA website (or ask us) for details on how to get to and around DC using Metro.

Use The Internet
RSVP: Please RSVP through our website (or by phone) rather than use additional, unnecessary paper.

Gifts: If you plan to get us a gift, please select it from the online gift registries (linked to this website) or another website, when possible, rather than traveling to a store to shop.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint
You can calculate your carbon footprint for traveling to our wedding (by using a carbon-footprint calculator such as Then balance all or some of your emissions by buying carbon offsets. Some options include making a contribution to Native Energy (, an offset company that invests in renewable energy projects on Native American land, to Carbon Fund (, which supports renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects, or to an environmental group that works on climate change issues such as Natural Resources Defense Council (

Tips for More Sustainable Living & Home Operating

Reduce Energy Consumption
Use Energy Star rated appliances; use electricity during off-peak hours; bake with glass or ceramic pans, instead of metal; spot clean stains to minimize the times you use the washing machine; use rechargeable batteries; use a laptop instead of a desktop computer; use an LCD (liquid crystal display) rather than a CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor; put your computer in sleep or standby mode rather than using a screensaver; don’t use an electric blanket or only turn it on for a brief period to warm up the bed before going to sleep; use a voicemail service instead of an answering machine; wear an extra layer of clothes in the winter instead of turning up the thermostat; use a power strip for electronics and unplug them when off (e.g. TV, DVD / VCR / CD player); use ceiling and pedestal fans; turn off appliances when not in use; use compact fluorescent lightbulbs; plant trees around your house to provide shade; use an Energy Star approved tankless hot water heater; if not in the market for a new heater, insulate water pipes to reduce heat loss; insulate at least the first 6 feet of pipe from the water tank; hang clothes to dry rather than use a clothes dryer; caulk and weather-strip exterior doors and windows; choose double pane, over single pane, windows; if you already have single panes, install storm windows; use a storm door with your exterior door; install programmable thermostats; get a home energy audit

Reduce Fuel Consumption
Walk, bike or take public transportation, rather than drive a personal car, when you can; when public transportation doesn’t work, carpool; drive a hybrid car; properly inflate tires and keep the engine tuned; reduce the load in your car; avoid aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking)

Reduce Water Consumption
Turn off water when not being used (for example, don’t run the water while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving); restrict water flow with a faucet aerator; use a low-flow or dual flush toilet or, if you have a pre-1994 model, adjust the float valve to admit less water into the tank; run the dishwasher when it’s full, rather than hand washing; use a short cycle; if dishes need pre-rinsing, fill a bowl with water or wet a sponge, rather than continually run water; use drought-resistant plants and grasses for landscaping; keep your lawn small; use native plants, efficient irrigation, and mulch (to slow erosion and evaporation); group together plants with similar watering needs

Recycle & Reuse
Recycle all materials that you can (e.g. paper, plastic, glass, metal, rechargeable batteries); use post-consumer recycled paper products (e.g. paper towels, tissues); look for recycling labels on packaging; use re-useable bags for shopping; if you don’t want to buy a re-useable bag or forget to bring one with you when you shop, reuse the bags you receive (for your next shopping trip, for your garbage, to put out your recycling, etc.) and choose paper over plastic; avoid buying plastic bottles (e.g. use filtered tap water instead of bottled water)

Avoid Petrochemicals; Select Natural Products
Use cleaning and hair products made from plant-based ingredients; select no or low VOC paints; use environmentally friendly cat litter (such as pine sawdust from mill waste, straw pellets, newspaper); buy dry pet food in cardboard boxes or paper bags; choose mercury-free thermostats, thermometers, and switches; choose low-mercury fluorescent bulbs; dispose all mercury-containing materials (including fluorescent bulbs, old thermostats, mercury light switches, and old batteries) at hazardous waste drop-off sites; choose organic clothing, bedding & towels

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