One of the top trends for 2013 is to include eco-friendly features in bathroom remodels and new bathrooms. Many people however are looking for ways to have an entirely eco-friendly bathroom and not just a few items here or there. Here are the top ways to build an environmentally-friendly bathroom.
1. The first obviously is to be conscious of water flow. There are three areas in the bathroom that consume water: the toilet, the shower and the sink. Toilet water flow can be controlled with the European style low-flow flush toilets. There are two water flow options, one for low-flow and one for full-flow. Most shower nozzles come with a ring in them that reduces the water flow. Another way to make the bathroom eco-friendly is to have shower water drained into a tank that can be re-used to water lawns and flowerbeds. The same can be done with kitchen sink water. If you decide to go this way, be sure to use biodegradable soaps and shampoos. As for sinks, low-flow water devices are also available.
2. Use low or non-VOC paints. “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This is especially important if children are using the bathrooms.
3. Incorporating natural elements doesn’t just allow a bathroom to feel relaxing; certain elements can also be environmentally friendly. The first is harnessing the sun’s natural energy. If you have a south-facing bathroom, larger windows will help naturally warm the room, cutting down on energy bills. Window treatments like double-cell shades can keep in warm air during the night or block the sun’s light during summer months, keeping the room cooler. Plants are also a great addition to a bathroom, but make sure they are tropical plants that thrive on humidity. Plants help clean the air of pollutants and give us oxygen.
4. Use recycled or reclaimed barnwood for cabinetry. Wood stands up well to time and can create a great rustic look for the bathroom.
5. Using repurposed tiles is a great way to create art in a bathroom. By searching for tiles that have been discarded, the homeowner can create an amazingly unique atmosphere by mixing and matching colors and textures for a fraction of the cost of new tiles.
There are many ways to make a new bathroom eco-friendly. Updating a bathroom can be done with just a few tweaks here and there. Remember, reuse, reduce and recycle apply to bathrooms as well as any other room in the house.