Whether you are tackling a full bathroom renovation or just want a quick, cosmetic update, it’s easy to make your space just a bit greener with a little thought and planning. A few minor changes can reduce the carbon footprint of the renovation itself, lower water usage in day-to-day life and make the space much more eco-friendly.
Tackling a renovation? Look into sustainable flooring options and do the same for wall tiles, counter tops and tub and shower surrounds. Install ultra-low-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads and sink taps. Salvage whatever materials you can and consider purchasing recycled or salvaged vanities, cupboards, countertops and any other fixtures. You’ll save money and reduce the footprint of your reno. Whenever possible, opt for organic materials over synthetic and when it comes to paint and adhesives, opt for ones with low- to no-VOCs (and check back tomorrow for the facts on low-VOC products!)
Update your lighting with LED bulbs in all bathroom fixtures and look into smart lighting systems that dim out when needed and save on power. Going for LEDs in the bath will give you controllable lighting that can go from super bright to soft mood lighting at a fraction of the energy consumption of incandescents.
Make sure you’ve got good ventilation going to reduce humidity and discourage mold. If you’re really bold, you can look into gray-water recycling systems that combine a sink and toilet (using “gray” sink water to flush the toilet), or even a composting toilet.
As for hot water, if solar-power is not an option, consider installing an on-demand or tankless-style hot water system. They eliminate the need to constantly heat and maintain a large tub of water, reducing energy consumption and water waste (because we all let the water run while waiting for it to heat up).
Going green in the bath isn’t just about the big stuff, either. Even if you aren’t ready to tackle a renovation yet, or you live in a rental home where redoing the bathroom isn’t an option, there are plenty of little steps you can take as well. If you have large, flat surfaces like tile or glass, keep a squeegee handy and swipe them down after each shower to keep them looking fresh and clean longer.
Replace shower curtains with eco-friendly options like organic linen shower curtains, or those made with PVC-free EVA. Opt for organic cotton or bamboo towels and bath linens for pretty, eco-friendly bathing luxury. From there, it’s all about the little things. Outfit your bathroom with eco-friendly accessories and décor.
The biggest green step you can take when aiming for a sustainable bathroom? Think longevity. Look for surfaces and materials that require minimal maintenance and that will stand the test of time. Shy away from uber-trendy styles and opt for a classic look that will hold up for years to come. Then sit back and enjoy your beautiful, and green, oasis.