We're dreaming of a green Christmas...

By Max Mace, Communications Intern
With the season of excess and indulgence upon us, we’re dreaming of a green Christmas. Max Mace from our communications team offers a few suggestions for lower impact festivities.

Take public transport

Travelling by public transport is one of the easiest ways you can contribute to helping create a low-carbon world, whether this is taking trains over planes on long journeys to visit family and friends or public transport for everyday journeys. In Toulouse our 2014 Sustainable Travel Award winner Tisseo-SMTC has introduced a smart ticketing system as well as bike hire and car sharing which has saved thousands of tonnes of CO2. In just seven years the organisation witnessed a phenomenal 80% increase in journeys by public transport in La Ville Rose.

Asking Santa for a new car?

Make it an electric one. With Award-winning Ecotricity’s electric highway you can travel the length and breadth of the country completely emissions free. Electric cars have come a long way from where they started and there is even a government grant towards the cost of new electric (plug-in) car or van. From the new BMW i3 to Tesla’s Model X to a new all-electric Mini, we are on the cusp of a revolution.

Get or give a bike

Cycling is such a great way of getting around. It keeps you fit, gets you exploring and is fun! Check out our inspiring 2015 Award winner Les Boîtes à Vélo. This collective of more than 20 businesses decided to ditch their dirty fuel-emitting delivery vans for bicycles, with the simple addition of a box attached. They are saving an estimated 35 tonnes of CO2 a year and are 20% more profitable.

If it’s too cold to cycle, why not car share? Liftshare won an Ashden Award in 2012 for their great work in Norfolk where, with their free online national car sharing network, they took 80,000 journeys off the road every day and were estimated to be saving a commuter £1,000 a year. Imagine all the things you could do by next Christmas with the extra money…

Get your (LED) bulbs on

We all love lighting our homes and trees at Christmas; it looks great and gives us that cosy warm glow. Be gentle on both your energy bills and the planet by switching to LED bulbs which have the equivalent power and light quality of an old-style 100 Watt bulb but use just 7 Watts.

Stay warm, stay insulated

Proper insulation is one of the easiest ways to save energy. Check online or one of our winners to see how you can get help and make your home that much warmer this Christmas. CHiL, SHINE and CSE have all helped thousands of people and have saved them hundreds of pounds, improving their quality of life and preventing illness through warmer, healthier homes.

Be wise with your choice of Christmas tree

Ahh, the perfect Christmas tree. One of the most important choices we will make this holiday and the centrepiece of our decorative efforts. Did you know though that you can actually rent a living Christmas tree which can be delivered and collected and replanted afterwards? Alternatively, if you’re buying your own tree, be sure to replant or recycle it afterwards.

Get back to nature

There’s a reason it’s called The Great Outdoors. So get out there and make the most of your local woods, parks and hills. Our 2013 winner Sustrans have picked the top rides on their National Cycle Network that take in some of the UK's fantastic National Parks like the Cinder Track running through the North York Moors.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Ashden!