If you want to make sure your bathroom remodeling project is as green as possible, here’s how to save energy, conserve resources, and protect your budget.
It’s all about the water
Thinking about greening your bathroom means considering how you use water in terms of consumption and energy. According to the American Water Works Association
, your humble toilets are the thirstiest water users in the house, accounting for 27% of consumption. This fact inspired conservation schemes like placing something hefty in the toilet tank to reduce flushing capacity, and those low-flow toilets that too often didn’t flush what needed flushing.
A more successful approach is the dual-flush toilet. Read more about dual-flush toilets.
The shower is another squanderer of water.
Showers use 16% to 20% of a home’s water, most of it heated. The flow rate of a typical showerhead is 2.5 gallons per minute. More on saving water...
A tankless water heater heats water only as it is needed
, avoiding the heat loss that occurs with a conventional tank. A unit costs about $2,000 installed, and your annual energy savings will be $70 a year. Be aware that these units take some getting used to; expect a shot of cold water before the hot kicks in.
Move that air
A bathroom remodel is an excellent time to consider installing a new exhaust ventilator fan
to remove odors, moisture, and mold spores. Many bathroom fans only vent to the space between ceiling joists, creating an environment for mold and dampness that can damage walls and ceilings. Make sure your new fan vents completely to the outside of your house. More on choosing the right ventilator fan.
Selecting green materials
A green bathroom remodel need not stint on style. Classic ceramic tile comes in limitless colors and patterns, and is a green choice due to its low maintenance, durability, and low toxicological impact. Some tiles have high recycled content; recycled glass tiles are a lovely way to do the right ecological thing. More on green materials...Look for building materials with Green Seal certification.
Green Seal is a non-profit, independent organization that certifies products claiming to be environmentally friendly. Low-VOC options in paints and adhesives can be found at your local home center.
Much of our landfill (estimates range from 22% to 40%) comes from construction debris. Any steps that reduce landfill potentially reduce the chance of ground water pollution, the odor and unsightliness of a local landfill, and in some cases the high cost of shipping waste elsewhere. Much of the debris that comes from a remodeling tear-out is not salvageable, but old toilets, sinks, light fixtures, medicine cabinets, and vanities can be donated to an organization like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore
. In fact, it may be just what someone is seeking for their own green remodeling.
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