April is traditionally the month in which we celebrate Earth Day, and this year, it falls on April 22 (although around here, we celebrate Earth Day everyday). Looking for ways to honor Earth Day and spruce up your home bathroom at the same time? There are a variety of ways to turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly oasis. Here are some ideas for making your bathroom “green”, from floor to ceiling:
It’s never been easier to find a multitude of earth-friendly options when it comes to flooring. Recycled tiles, glass, and other materials can not only look lovely, but lower your carbon footprint, as well. One popular option is linoleum. Contrary to what most people believe, linoleum is not fashioned from dangerous, chemically-laced substances. Instead, linoleum is comprised of natural fibers like resin, linseed oil, and cork. It’s also water-resistant and has anti-microbial properties. Speaking of cork, cork flooring is an all-natural alternative to vinyl. It’s durable and naturally water-resistant.
One of the easiest ways to make your bathroom more sustainable is by switching to a low-flow shower head. You might be imagining weak showers with no water pressure at all, but that’s not the case with today’s high-tech shower heads. We promise you won’t be able to tell the difference between a low-flow head and a regular one. Having an aerator installed on your shower head can also reduce water usage.
Even if you’ve finally broken the habit of leaving the water running while brushing your teeth, you could still be wasting water every time you turn on your tap. Furthermore, if your bathroom faucet leaks, even more water is wasted. Swapping out current sink faucets with water-conserving models can be an easy way to reduce the amount of precious water that escapes down the drain during each use. Many companies make inexpensive water-conserving faucets that don’t sacrifice style for sustainability. Make sure you look for the “WaterSense” label when shopping for faucets and fixtures. Not sure how to find WaterSense faucets? The EPA website provides a handy-dandy guide for finding WaterSense brands. If you love your faucets and can’t bear to part them them, considering installing an aerator, instead.
When it comes to wasting water, toilets are the biggest offenders. Each flush uses a whopping five gallons or more of water, which may prompt you to consider a “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” lifestyle. If that’s not your bag, fear not. There are lots of water-saving options available. Low-flow toilets are becoming the preferred choice among homeowners, not only because they conserve water, but they also help reduce water bills. Composting toilets take water conservation to the next level by allowing the moisture associated with toilet use to evaporate while the remaining solids are incorporated into soil by decomposition, exactly the way your backyard compost pile works. Added bonus: The end result is some prime fertilization material for your garden. Don’t worry; there’s no odor.
Surfaces fashioned from concrete, glass, stone, and recycled natural materials can make your bathroom look unique while saving the planet in the process. Vetrazzo or IceStone brand recycled glass counter tops are eye-catching, durable, easy to clean, chemical-free, and available in a multitude of textures and colors. There are even counter tops made from 100% recycled paper products, although they work best for surfaces that don’t encounter lots of moisture. For the bathroom, use counter tops that are naturally water-resistant.
What easier way to create a sustainable bathroom than to replace the lighting? All it takes is switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED lighting. LED lights don’t emit heat like regular light bulbs, which saves energy and can help lower your electric bill. Don’t forget to look for the Energy Star seal of approval.
As you can see, creating the eco-friendly bathroom of your dreams is just a few simple steps away. And, as we know, even the smallest measures can make a big difference in the world. Are you ready to take the plunge?
Gina Jennings works with several construction and remodeling companies who employ some of the latest construction technologies for great looking homes and energy efficiency such as French Construction and Van De Steeg.