Modern families are conflicted between environmental responsibility and comfort: there is always a more complex-or less attractive-alternative to our behaviors that would have a lesser impact on the planet. Bathroom remodeling is a very good example of this duality: the most luxurious products are also the ones that will consume the most water! The modern sins of bathroom remodeling can be avoided (or diminished) with a few efforts, though.
In this article, we will cover a few “sins” that people can commit during their bathroom remodeling project, offering some solutions to be eco-friendly while having a beautiful and comfortable room.
The tropical wood problem
Tropical wood is beautiful and fits very well in any modern bathroom. It also comes with a severe environmental cost: buying tropical wood encourages the deforestation of tropical forests in Brazil and other Latin-American countries. It greatly affects biodiversity and it seems that wood harvesters are not yet awakened to the huge long-term consequences of devastating forests without planting back enough trees.
If you absolutely need tropical wood to fit the bathroom style you are dreaming of, you could try to find recycled wood. Old wardrobes, floors and laths can be reused and this method is even more eco-friendly than buying local materials for your project. If you can’t find anything similar on your local market, try to replicate the aesthetic of tropical wood using Â« green Â» dyes.
Looking for more information on the deforestation issue? Visit Rainforestrelief.org to get a better understanding of the current situation.
The dream of a gigantic bathtub
If you have watched the movie Scarface, you probably know what I am talking about:
Think about how much water this monster needs to be filled! Even a bathtub that can welcome two people at the same time consumes a lot more water than a regular installation. Of course, there are some advantages to having a huge bathtub: it is a great asset for your romantic moments with your loved one. It becomes a sin when you use it on a daily basis and flush down hundreds of liters of water every day for 30 minutes of relaxation.
There are two ways to avoid this sin:
- Buy a regular sized bathtub and go to the spa with your girlfriend when you need to spend intimate moments.
- Buy a big bathtub but use it only a few times per month. Take a regular shower for your daily washing needs.
The shower panel temptation
Shower panels have been gaining a lot of popularity on the North-American market in the past years. It’s a guilty pleasure: you add a few body jets to your regular shower and you are down for a full body massage. Of course, this comes with a nasty water consumption!
The shower panels are able to avoid the current United States regulations thanks to the way they are conceived. In the United States, for example, the regulations say that shower heads manufactured after 1994 are limited to a consumption of 2.5 gallons per minute. Shower panels are able to bypass the laws because they have multiple jets, each of them being granted another 2.5 gpm.
You can partly outweigh the water consumption disaster by choosing a product equipped with a water saving system, usually cutting down the consumption by half. Hydromassage shower panels should also be avoided and replaced by luxurious, beautiful but simpler models.
The materials’ dilemma
With the new ecological trends, it is very easy to find furniture that uses green materials. There is no reason today to buy a bathroom vanity that is made from chipboard, vinyl or melamine! These materials have a very bad impact on the nature because of a few different reasons:
- Urea-formaldehyde (formol) is a toxic gas present in these materials. This means your furniture can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and provoke asthma, nausea and a few other health-related problems.
- Heavy materials such as melamine demand a lot of energy to be transported, leaving a heavy carbon footprint in comparison to lighter alternatives.
To limit your negative impact, in addition to choosing the materials carefully, try to buy bathroom furniture that is produced locally.