Remodeling a bathroom is an exciting event because it can completely transform your home into a totally new place, giving you a sense of wonder every time you come home. It also gives you a chance to save money and help the environment by going green, and by choosing recycled materials and natural, eco-friendly options, you can reduce your environmental impact dramatically. Two of the most important areas to reduce waste are the water fixtures and electronic appliances, and by fixing leaks, installing low-flow fixtures and using low-consumption appliances, you can save a significant amount of money on water and electricity bills while reducing your carbon footprint.
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Ways to Save Water
Pretty much every time you go into the bathroom, you use water, and inefficient toilets, sinks and shower heads waste hundreds of gallons of water per year. Modern low-flow fixtures provide exactly the same amount of water pressure and performance as their inefficient counterparts, but they can save homeowners thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the fixtures.
The biggest waste of water in most homes is the toilet, and toilets manufactured before the 1992 Energy Policy Act use about 3.5 gallons of water for every flush. That amount is equivalent to three and a half milk cartons of water every time a person flushes the toilet. Modern water-saving and dual-flush toilets use much less water, and dual-flush models have a separate settings for gently flushing liquids with as little water as possible.
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Recycled Glass Tiles
In past decades, bathroom walls and shower enclosures have been covered in toxic and frankly garish materials, but today’s environmentally aware bathroom supply manufacturers offer recycled glass tiles that require very little maintenance to keep clean. They help the environment by reducing landfill waste, and they help homeowners stay healthy by removing the toxic chemicals from bathroom walls and countertops.
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Other Recycled Materials
Other recycled materials include cabinets, aluminum and brass hardware, shower curtains and glass and paper items. Buying these supplies from manufacturers that use recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing processes is a great first step, but it’s also a good idea to consider the amount of waste produced by buying the materials and throwing away the packaging. By shopping locally and, if possible, having supplies delivered on pallets without unnecessary packaging, homeowners can often save money on supplies, reduce the effort of cleanup and keep paper and plastic out of landfills. Of course, if local supplies aren’t available, recycling packing materials is the environmentally friendly thing to do.
The second biggest waste of energy is inefficient appliances, and items that generate heat, such as lights, hair dryers and curling irons, can be extremely inefficient. It’s not always possible to make drastic changes like driving an electric car or living off the grid, but according to the Queensland Appliances, by buying electronic devices that consume very little energy, it’s possible to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Bathroom appliances that operate on low power can also save homeowners hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of the appliance.
Natural, Environmentally Friendly Flooring
Instead of synthetic and often toxic floor tiles, choose natural linoleum flooring to complete your green, health-conscious bathroom. Linoleum has been in use for centuries because it’s the perfect material for any flat surface that needs to be protected from daily wear. The worst choice for bathroom floors is carpet because, when it gets wet, it retains moisture that becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. If you have a fabric bathroom mat, it’s a good idea to wash it regularly to prevent respiratory issues related to mold growth.
Not only does remodeling your bathroom using recycled, environmentally friendly materials make your house look like new, but it gives you a feeling of satisfaction in helping the environment as well as saving money on utility bills. Shop locally, recycle your packaging and buy low-consumption fixtures and appliances to turn your bathroom into the perfect energy-saving retreat.