Want a more eco-friendly home? The bathroom is a great place to start. It may be the smallest room in the house, but per square foot it offers more opportunity for positive impact than any other area in your home.
Between fans, hair dryers and other electric devices, lighting and water heating, the bathroom is a hot spot for energy use. Plus, it’s where the lion’s share of household water consumption takes place.
Fortunately, it isn’t hard to create a more eco-friendly bathroom. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Choose a Low-Flow Toilet
The average household flushes 27 percent of the water it uses down the toilet, making this fixture by far the largest water consumer in your home. Choosing a WaterSense labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water you flush by 20-60 percent.
2. Install Water-Saving Fixtures
Replace standard bathroom faucets and aerators with high-efficiency ones. Today’s high-efficiency models work great, and they can save you up to 700 gallons per year. Consider also installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead. If your shower water consumption is anywhere near average, it can save you $70 per year in utility costs!
3. Weatherize Your Bathroom
A drafty bathroom is uncomfortable and will cause you to turn up the heat and prolong your showers. Nip that cycle in the bud with some simple weatherization. If your bathroom has an exterior window, use caulk to seal around it. Also, seal any cracks in the woodwork, around your tub or shower, and around fans, vents and plumbing penetrations.
4. Insulate Your Pipes
Insulating your hot water pipes is an easy one-hour home improvement project nearly anyone can do. It can raise your domestic hot water temperatures by up to 4 degrees. That means you can set your water heater temperature lower, which saves energy! You also will run less water because it will not take as long for hot water to reach your tap.
5. Switch to LED Lighting
You need good lighting in the bathroom. It’s also a place where you’re likely to turn the lights on and off frequently. If you haven’t yet made the switch to LEDs, this is the place to start. LED bulbs offer high-quality light and are the most energy-efficient lighting option available. They are also the most durable type of bulb, which is good news if you hate messing with your bathroom light fixtures. And, unlike CFLs, LED bulbs are unaffected by frequent switching on and off.
6. Choose Eco-Friendly Bathroom Materials
Next time you remodel or outfit your bathroom, pay attention to what goes into it. From bathroom cabinets to toilet paper to towels to cleaning supplies and body care items, today’s market offers many recycled, organic and other environmentally friendly options from which to choose. Not only will you be helping the planet, but selecting eco-friendly items is usually healthier for you and your family, too.
7. Take Clean Air Action
High humidity in such a small space can lead to mold growth and other indoor air quality issues in the bathroom. Clear the air by installing a high-efficiency exhaust fan. Green plants can also help keep your bathroom air clean. And, next time you paint your bathroom, choose zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to avoid off-gassing fumes.
Greening up your bathroom doesn’t have to be a major endeavor, and it needn’t be expensive. Nearly all of these ideas are easy for the average homeowner to do. Most are quite inexpensive. If you do them one at a time you will hardly notice the difference in your family budget — but you’ll definitely notice the utility savings and enjoy increased comfort in your bathroom!
Author bio: Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products you would need for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of contemporary bathroom vanities, sinks, toilets and bathtubs for sale, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look.