Going green with a bathroom remodel is a growing consideration for many homeowners. Why should you consider going green on your bathroom remodel? Well, besides being good for the environment, it can create a healthier environment for you and others, while helping you save money on your utility bills. You may also qualify for some rebates, tax deductions and credits that are available both locally and at the federal level.
Here are some common sense tips for green bathroom remodeling:
Consider using low to VOC free (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants. These materials help make for a healthier house especially for those with respiratory problems. Using regular paint with high VOC’s can take quite a while to cure and months to fully air out your place
Make sure all exterior walls are adequately insulated to help prevent condensation from forming inside the walls that leads to mold & mildew growth. This will also help keep the cold air out during the winter (i.e. frozen pipes & a chilly bathroom). We at SLS Construction prefer using a Closed Cell product for many reasons; there are numerous other options available. Two popular “non-toxic insulation” options would be using insulation derived from materials like soybean or cotton.
Look for the EPA’s WaterSense label: The EPA has started a program called WaterSense, which is very similar to the EnergyStar program. There are three areas in the bathroom where you can really save some serious water using this program: the faucets, showerheads, & the toilet.
Install low-flow faucets and showerheads (.5 to 1.5 GPM as compared to 2.5+ GPM) and aerators to help reduce the amount of water used. The technology has come a long way in the last few years so that in most cases you cannot tell the difference until you get your water bill.
Install newer low-flow or dual-flush toilets. These toilets can function properly while using as little as half the water used by regular toilets used today. Dual-flush toilets offer the choice for a lighter flush or a more thorough flush as needed.
Look for the EnergyStar label and install energy efficient light fixtures along with CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs) in all your light fixtures. Not only will you replace light bulbs less often, you will use a fraction of the energy normally required. *** Humidity in the bathroom can shorten its life span, which brings us to our next topic
Install and use a properly sized bathroom vent and timer. A bathroom needs to be vented not only of offensive odors but to help eliminate the humidity. The vent should be running not only during your shower but also up to 15 minutes afterwards. The problems with just using a regular switch is it normally gets turned off when you leave, or forgotten leading to more conditioned air being exhausted than is required.
Replace older windows in a bathroom with a properly installed energy efficient window, or consider adding a Solatube® or similar type of skylight for natural lighting.
Consider the use of an on demand hot water recirculation pump, if the bathroom is located far from the houses hot water heater. This will prevent the waste generated from leaving the water on while you wait for it to heat up.
If you are into taking long baths in a whirlpool or soaker tub, consider installing or buying a product with an in-line water heater. This allows you to re-heat the water in the tub, saving both power and water.
Are your old vanity, sinks, and faucets in good shape? Consider donating them to an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or selling them to others.
There are many other popular “green” options out there including using recycled products, hardwoods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, using wood from rapidly renewable sources like cork and bamboo, etc… If you are interested in these area’s make sure you do plenty of research and find a reliable contractor that can turn your dreams and vision into a reality.