August 13th, 2012 by Guest Contributor
You might have seen ‘5 DIY Hacks for a Eco-Friendly Bathroom’ recently on Planetsave, which offered some great, easy-to-implement tips for anyone looking to take a few small steps to convert their home into an environmentalist’s dream.
But what about when you’re going the whole hog and having full bathroom refurbishment. Here are a few wider environmental considerations to make when you’re renovating your bathroom.
Water conservation is important. People are using the planet’s freshwater faster than it can be replenished. Choosing low-flow fixtures in your new bathroom will help you use water more wisely.
Low-flow fixtures on your shower head, toilet, and washing machine allow a household to save up to 40,000 gallons of water a year.
Low-flow fixtures work by mixing air into the water flowing out of the tap, giving the illusion of more flow whilst actually saving on water. They do the same as well as their counterparts, but use considerably less water.
When it comes to painting your newly refurbished bathrooms, you’ll probably be more interested in getting the right colour match than the chemical make-up and structure of the paint.
However, most paints and stains produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are an integral component of smog and, when inhaled, can be harmful to the human body.
By using low- or no-VOC paints, you can avoid these harmful toxins. Low-VOC paints are normally available in colours similar to or the same as standard paints, so you won’t have to sacrifice the design of your bathroom in favour of being green.
So, by choosing low-VOC paints, you’ll improve the air quality in your bathroom and reduce the impact your refurbishment is having on the environment!
It should go without saying that you should look to choose countertops in your bathroom that are environmentally friendly. Sustainable surfacing is made from recycled glass and concrete and is more readily available than ever.
Natural quartz surfacing is a good option for countertops and tubs. It resists scratching, comes with built-in antimicrobial protection and has no off-gassing, meaning it won’t have any adverse health effects.
Here’s a great guide to recycled countertops if you want to find out more about the sustainable options available to you in your refurbishment.
Getting the ventilation right is the key to energy conservation in your new bathroom. The right ventilation solution will make an enormous difference to the feeling of the bathroom, as well as helping you use energy more efficiently.
Your best option here is to install an Energy Star–rated fan, which will provide more ventilation but at a lower wattage to standard bathroom fans. These fans use 60% less energy than standard fans, saving you money and the environment.
To say the conditions in the bathroom are demanding is an understatement. Flooring needs to be hardwearing, pleasant underfoot, and needs to deal with variations in moisture content. It’s easy to see how the environment can become a bit of an afterthought, especially when you also want it to coordinate with the design of the bathroom.
The key here is to use flooring that is sustainably sourced and chemical free. There are plenty of options, such as bamboo, which is environmentally friendly, requires no pesticides, and only takes a few years to reach maturity. Other options would be natural cork, reclaimed wood or natural glass tile.
Why go green?
Apart from consciously doing your bit to reduce the impact your refurbishment will have on the environment, there are other benefits to going green in the bathroom. The right choices will result in lower operating costs, increased comfort and less maintenance.
This guest post was contributed by bathroom4all, a leader in bathroom suites and cheap shower enclosures.
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