If you’re planning a bathroom remodel in the near future, why not explore the new products and materials designed and produced to save money and save the environment? No longer in the expensive category of only a few years ago, these new products and materials compete very well with everything else out there. And when you compare the cost advantages over time, the allowances offered by manufacturers and the government, its crazy not to at least consider a green bathroom remodel.
Toilets, for instance, have come a long way, baby! Today you can’t even buy one that uses 3-plus gallons of water to flush. And, if you recall the buzz about the inefficiency of the newer “low flow” models of a couple of years ago, you’re operating on a false premise. A green bathroom remodel wouldn’t be complete without looking into a new toilet! New designs, larger discharge and smarter manufacturing provides toilets with operations that match their older counterparts flush by flush. In fact, you probably won’t even notice you’re doing your part for the planet when you flip the lever!
Your bathroom vanity countertop can also now be made to be both beautiful and Earth loving with the use of recycled materials. These include recycled glass, scrap aluminum, concrete and (if you can believe it) old recycled paper. Some very attractive countertops today are made by combining paper, fly ash-a by-product of coal combustion-and an eco-binder, such as epoxy. You may have even had a morning cup of coffee at a favorite bistro on a paper countertop and not know it! Some are made entirely of recycled glass, with a new unique look and are comparable in cost, strength, heat resistance and durability to granite.
The bathroom floor is getting some attention, too. Linoleum, invented in 1863 (think Civil War) now has some real competition. New types are so healthy for us and our environment that they cover the floors of many large Health Care facilities and hospitals. There are even floors made by using a pressed combination of burlap, canvas, linseed oil and flour! Almost makes me hungry. Laminate flooring can be manufactured to look like almost anything and tiles are made in a wild array of planet friendly styles and textures. Even the rugs have gone green!
What about the walls? Your green bathroom remodel could even mean painting the walls… er… green. How about soy based paint? Clay paint, which can look like adobe is a natural choice and one that will give the room a rustic or Tuscan feel. You can have your milk and paint it too… by using all natural organic milk paint. Not only do these paints look beautiful, but they last as long or longer than regular latexes. Also, new paints are coming on the scene all the time to not only make your home brilliant, but many are made to fight germs and reduce mold and mildew!
Low flow, water saving faucets and shower heads are designed now to feel just like the old kind, but use much less water. This is due to atomizers and pulsators that mix air and H2O and reduce the actual amount being delivered. This not only saves water, but the energy to heat the water as well. And, the new designs are very cool, with new materials and finishes to match anything!
So, before you start in on that bathroom remodel, think about making it a green bathroom remodel. Take a look around your bath and see what you can do to bring that room into the twenty first century! Then go spend some time in a big box retailer or plumbing or bath fixture store. See what they have to offer and how you can save some money and the planet while you’re there.…
Once considered purely utilitarian, bathrooms are increasingly places for rest, renewal, and self-pampering. Plan your bathroom remodel to achieve both looks and luxury; incorporate “Green” design components to contribute to a healthier setting that is more environmentally friendly and that also carries lower ongoing costs for you.
Health-focused designs maximize fresh air and natural light. This focus serves to reduce the risk of injury, as well as to identify and rectify such potential problems as molds, allergens and toxic chemicals. Green remodeling techniques are specifically designed to be durable and to create a safe environment with materials that are made from manufactured products with as few toxins as possible.
The Dangers of Mold
Mold is the number one problem for household contamination, infection and disease and the bathroom is the primary source of mold contamination.
Mold, a simple fungus, adheres to and grows on surfaces where there is a high degree of continuing moisture — often on damp floors and unsealed grout lines. Mold spores can float on mild air currents caused by simply walking into the room. Inhaled mold and fungal spores produce allergic reactions, as well as hypersensitivity to other lung irritants and infectious diseases. “Some forms of mold found indoors produce toxins which can be carcinogenic, induce birth defects, and can affect the immune system,” says David Johnston, a certified LEED contractor.
If your remodeling project is precipitated by a mold problem, pay attention to more than just the latest trend in vanity counters, shower systems, and faucets. Be sure to eliminate all mold-infested materials in the bathroom and adjacent areas after tear-out and before you begin installation.
Environmental and Expense Factors
Although bathrooms are usually smaller than kitchens, bathrooms are the largest user of critical resources – the place where most of the indoor water is used in a home, and where the highest percentage of energy is consumed.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person in the United States uses 90 gallons of water per day. Most of the water used is for bathing and showering. Additionally, a leaking faucet can waste up to 2,000 gallons in a year, and a leaking or running toilet can waste 200 gallons a day. Green remodeling offers the opportunity to consider attractively designed products and materials that reduce water consumption.
Creating a Green Bathroom
Begin your bathroom remodeling project with a design that incorporates your family’s needs. Prepare a checklist of the improvements you’d like to include.
Assess how you will most effectively reduce humidity in the bathroom. While your window may meet code requirements, is it really open all winter long, or do you need a supplemental exhaust fan?
Carefully evaluate the materials you choose. For the vanity counter, choose materials where surfaces are manufactured to resist absorption of bacteria and which can easily be cleaned without harsh chemicals.
For the shower, consider a one-piece shower pan rather than a tile pan, to reduce the possibility of mold building up in tile pan grout. Similarly, give thought to single-panel wall shower and bath surrounds.
For the vanity cabinet, select woods that are renewable and certified by the Forest Service Council.
Examine your water usage and identify ways in which you might conserve. Flow reduction devices for showers and faucets don’t interfere with good water pressure.
The newer low-flow toilets have improved greatly since 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilets first became law in 1994. No longer is it necessary to flush multiple times. The Toto Aquia dual-flush offers one button to flush liquids that uses only 0.9 gallons, and a second button for the now-standard low flow of 1.6 gallons for solid wastes. Even newer in the market are several High Efficiency toilets which only uses 1.28 gallons per flush.
A significant way to reduce energy usage is with a tank-less water heater. Tank-less or “on-demand” water heaters don’t waste the gas or electricity used to constantly keep traditional 40-to-70 gallon tanks of water at 120 degree temperatures. Another bonus is that there is no large storage tank taking up space.
Ventilating fans should be installed with timers, to enable a departing homeowner to leave the house before properly venting excess, damaging humidity — knowing that the fan will turn off in a set period of time. Consider a humidistat-controlled vent fan in rooms that don’t have adequate ventilation otherwise — the control will automatically sense the level of moisture in the bathroom and run the vent until reaching selected degrees of dryness.
Green Bathroom Remodel Check List
Consider which of these steps can work in your setting:
• Donate or recycle fixtures being torn out
• Insulate pipes that can be exposed to cold
• Install tank-less water heaters
• Install low-flush toilets
• Install low-flow, high-performance showerheads
• Install low-flow faucets
• Install compact fluorescent …
Last year, my daughter decided that she was going to go on a “Save the World” binge and do everything she could to save the planet. This meant that we had to sign up for recycling pick up, buy products with responsible packaging, only use recyclable products or products made of recycled materials, and remodel our bathroom. Yes, Salt Lake City bathroom remodeling can save the planet. After consulting with a contractor who doubled as an ecologist, I realized that some people might need a Salt Lake City bathroom remodeling guide- for going green.
Replacing the Windows
Believe it or not, you can save on energy costs by replacing old bathroom windows. As windows age, the seams that keep the weather outside will slowly spread open allowing for cold winter air and hot summer heat to find their way in. When you replace your windows you cut back on the cost of heating and cooling because you don’t have to have the AC and heater on quite as much. Saving energy saves on resources, and this can help save the planet.
Using Recycled Products in Your Salt Lake City Bathroom Remodeling Project
You’d be amazed at the amount of building materials that are being created out of recycled materials. There are wood floors made of reclaimed wood. There are custom countertops made of recycled glass.
Wasatch offers many renovation and remodeling services stores that offer these products for reasonable prices. If you have any green ideas that you want to turn into a renovation or repair project go right ahead and design your heart out. Creating an indoor haven out of recycled outdoor materials can save the planet by allowing the decrease in logging, a reduction in toxin producing processes, and less dependence on harmful energy production.
Reusing What you Already Have
In some cases, you don’t have to completely replace everything. You could opt for cabinet re-facing rather than cabinet replacing. Reuse the cabinets you already have but give them a new look but changing the color and putting on new fixtures. In Utah, Salt Lake City bathroom remodeling isn’t all about gutting and replacing- reusing is always an inexpensive way to remodel a bathroom and save a little bit of the planet in the process.…