Creating Environmentally-Friendly Bathrooms

Whether you are planning a new bathroom or remodeling your old one, making your bathroom eco-friendly can be healthy for the environment as well as the people who live in your home. When considering your new bathroom, consider the toxicity of the products used to equip it as well as how each of those products are manufactured.

Ceramic Tile

For your countertops, floors and the walls which surround your tub and shower, consider using ceramic tile; it is less prone to moisture damage, and comes with an extremely low impact on the environment due to the manufacturing process. Today, many of the newer tiles are made from recycled products such as discarded bottle glass, making them extremely eco-friendly. Other options for natural flooring include bamboo, which is beautiful, durable and environmentally friendly, or natural linoleum.

Use Less Water

Installing a low-flow showerhead is a simple way to spend less money on water and energy bills; while the new models use about two gallons of water per minute, conventional shower heads use about six, making this an excellent way to reduce water consumption. By installing a flow meter you can monitor how much water you are using. An ultra-low flush toilet will use just over one gallon of water for flushing, but be sure to compare reviews before purchasing-some ultra-low flow toilets are prone to clogs.

Dual-flush toilets can be a good option as they have two knobs which allow you to select the amount of water needed for flushing waste. Pressure assisted toilets, while noisy, can also save a considerable amount of water. Water is the very biggest source of waste in your bathroom, but it is also the easiest room in the house to save water by using energy efficient fixtures. Obviously taking showers over baths is a must as baths use nearly twice the water as a shower. Turning the water off when brushing your teeth and washing your face can save substantial amounts of water, and finally, do your best to ensure there are no leaks in your bathroom, as leaks can lead to significant water loss.

Heat the Water You Use Efficiently

If you are due for a new water heater, look at the new tankless heaters or solar water heaters. The tankless heater works by passing the water pipes directly through the boiler, while a solar heater uses the (free) sun's energy to heat your water. While both of these systems cost more initially, they will pay for themselves in a relatively small amount of time. Should you decide to keep your old hot water heater, turning down the thermostat can really help your monthly energy bill.

Bathroom Cabinets

A relatively new type of bathroom cabinets are made from wheat straw and a non-toxic binder rather than the typical particleboard or fiberboard which can contain highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde. You can also look for bathroom cabinets made from supported harvested wood as an option.

This and That

To complete your eco-friendly bathroom, avoid using corrosive chemical drain cleaners by flushing your drains weekly with a mixture of one cup baking soda mixed with one cup of salt and flushed with a container of boiling water. If your drain does clog, use a fourth of a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar; allow to foam, then flush with boiling water. Replace your traditional light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent bulbs which are 90% more efficient. Turning your current bathroom into an eco-friendly, healthy haven does not have to be a completely intimidating task; make small changes to begin with, and a greener bathroom is within your reach.