The bathroom is one of the most important, and demanding, rooms in your home. We spend a lot of electricity and water to keep our bathrooms functional and clean, which does not bode well for the environment. Making a few changes can help improve the sustainability of the bathroom, but there’s a lot of work to be done to keep it that way.
If you’re interested in upgrading your bathroom with a little more sustainability and eco-friendliness, here are a few tips that can help you make it happen.
Get the right kind of water heater
Experts estimate that we use around a third of all our home’s energy just to heat water. It’s understandable, considering how important hot water is for everything from cleaning to preparing food. In the bathrooms, our water heaters have a pretty straightforward purpose, and they use tons of energy to do their job.
However, there are water heaters that don’t use as much electricity as a standard one. Heat pump water heaters are a good example. They utilize heat from the air to give energy to the refrigerant that keeps your water warm. A tankless water heater is another option. It heats the water as you use it, which helps conserve energy.
A solar water heater would be an ideal solution. These heaters slash energy costs during the warmer months of the year. In the summer, you can expect nearly all of your hot water to be heated passively, with minimal electricity spent. While they may be less effective in the winter season, they can still utilize the energy of the sun’s rays during this time. For cloudier days, your hot water needs will be taken care of by the backup system.
Use organic materials
Various harmful chemicals are used during the production of many basic bathroom accessories. Because of this, it’s important to choose sustainable and organic materials for as many of them as possible. Think about the common bathroom towel. Surprisingly, pesticides and other harmful substances are used to produce these towels, and that’s not good for the environment. A good alternative to synthetic towels would be organic cotton. It’s just as soft and absorptive as a regular towel, but it doesn’t require any dangerous chemicals to produce.
Biodegradability is another factor worth considering. We all need toothbrushes, but why choose the plastic ones? Once you throw one away, it’s not likely to degrade any time soon. You can expect the plastic to remain buried in a landfill for the next few thousand years. With just about everyone using toothbrushes, that’s a lot of plastic that gets thrown into the environment.
Replacing regular toothbrushes with bamboo alternatives would help resolve this issue. These brushes are a sustainable alternative, and they’re very biodegradable. You can even get bamboo brushes that stand on their own, removing the need for a separate plastic cup to hold one.
Open the windows
If possible, your bathroom should have a window or two that allows air to flow freely. This not only gives you a more comfortable and breathable experience in the bathroom, but it can also save you plenty of electricity. Consider ventilation costs for a start. Keeping a ventilator on most of the time you’re in the bathroom costs quite a bit of energy. Not to mention, all that hot air has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is usually your attic.
Windows give you a lot more visibility as well. Plenty of bathrooms require constant lighting because they don’t feature a single window in them. The more window space you have, the less electricity you’ll need to illuminate the bathroom during the day. However, having a huge window in your bathroom isn’t feasible since you need a level of privacy. Not to mention, many bathrooms are a bit too cramped for large windows. The good news is that you don’t need one to utilize natural light to its fullest. A large mirror can help spread the light throughout the room with no additional effort required. If you’re the type of homeowner that likes natural lighting in their rooms, a bathroom mirror and window combo are a good choice.
Install an exhaust fan
What if your bathroom can’t have any windows? In these scenarios, having an exhaust fan is absolutely essential. You don’t want the excess moisture and hot air to cause the bathroom to develop mould. It can be incredibly unhealthy to have that stale air in your bathroom all day, every day.
You might want to consider getting an efficient exhaust fan. There are plenty of models that use less electricity than their regular counterparts. Some even have a built-in humidity sensor that can further improve their efficiency. They’ll work harder when the air is more saturated, and they’ll slow it down when it’s not. It’s a great way to conserve energy while still keeping your bathroom fresh. Plus, a regular fan can’t tell when the humidity is too high. An efficient fan will prevent mould from developing on your bathroom walls and floor by keeping the humidity down.
To protect your attic, you’ll want to vent the air from the fan outside of your home. While you might not spend too much time in your attic, you don’t want mould to take hold there and ruin the walls.
Use low-flow fixtures
The amount of water you use in the bathrooms has an enormous impact on your environmental footprint. Even when there’s little wastage, we still use thousands of gallons of water every year. Not to mention, plenty of water is wasted during this process. When you brush your teeth and leave the faucet open or wait for the shower to get warmed up, that’s hundreds of gallons just being thrown away.
It’s important to note that the fixtures often aren’t efficient either. They output a lot more water than is necessary just to maintain pressure, which means we waste even more of it. A great way to prevent this would be to use low-flow alternatives for fixtures.
A conventional toilet can use anywhere between two and seven gallons per flush. A leaky toilet can increase this amount exponentially. A low-flow toilet uses around a gallon or slightly more, which means can you can save hundreds of gallons per year by using one. Dual flush toilets are equally as effective, as they let you choose the amount of water you’ll use at any given moment. It’s a great way to minimize water waste. Combining these options lets you save a significant amount of water over long periods of time without losing out on functionality or cleanliness.
Repair the appliances
The efficiency of many household appliances depends on how well you maintain them. Any damage or malfunctions can cause them to increase their electrical consumption. Not to mention, you often have to take appliances like fridges and mixers to a shop to be repaired if they aren’t maintained well, which costs you time and fuel.
For the bathrooms, the most important appliance is the washing machine. There are plenty of things that can go wrong with the washer and cause it to take damage and use more electricity. The machine could be set up to wobble, which can cause it to leak and lead you to repeated washes if it doesn’t complete a cycle properly.
It’s important to repair your washing machine whenever it shows sign of trouble. Consult a washing machine repair service to inspect any issues with your washer and take care of them immediately. If you have an eco-friendly washing machine, make sure you keep the number of a service that can repair those too!
Aim for VOC free
Volatile organic compounds, also known as VOC, are chemicals created during various natural and industrial processes. While not all of them are harmful, some of them can have a bad impact on your health. Not to mention, they’re not exactly good for the environment in large amounts. The bad news is that they’re used as solvents in countless chemical processes. They’re essential for producing things like paints, varnishes, and household cleaners. Once applied to the wall, a paintjob with high VOC continues to emit these substances. They can cause headaches and make you nauseous, so there’s another reason to avoid having them in your home.
To create a healthier and environmentally friendlier environment in your bathroom, you should use as little VOC as possible. This means opting for paints and varnishes that are low in VOC, as this minimizes the impact of these substances.
To help protect the environment, we have to switch to a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of life. Those looking to go green can start with their bathrooms, as this is a particularly demanding room, all things considered. With how the world is aiming for better eco-friendliness, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of sustainable renovations available for bathrooms. If you want to make an impact, consider following the above pointers for your next bathroom overhaul.
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