Remodeling gives you an opportunity to turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly oasis. Go for the green options from start to finish with the help of the following tips.
#1: Go With the Flow
Choosing low-flow, water-wise fixtures is the single most environmentally sound bathroom choice you can make – and it can save you a lot of money. Newer low-flow shower heads and toilets have all the water pressure of the originals, but they use at least 25 percent less water. Timers are another option to save water. You get timers installed on both sink faucets and shower heads to help avoid over-consumption.
#2: Keep It Green
Going for the green when you choose your building materials minimizes your remodeling job’s environmental impact. Green material options include:
- Using recycled glass tile for shower enclosure walls, instead of fiberglass or plastic,
- Low-VOC paints and finishes for walls and cabinetry,
- Sustainably harvested wood for vanities and cabinetry,
- Non-toxic materials where ever possible, such as skipping PVC.
#3: Recycle and Reuse
Recycled materials are one of the greenest options available in any remodel. This may mean recycling what you already have, such as repainting or refinishing your existing vanity, or choosing factory recycled building materials. For example, your flooring requires a lot of materials to finish, so you can minimize your eco-impact drastically by selecting a recycled floor. Instead of newly manufactured ceramic tile, opt for eco-friendly recycled glass tiles. They come in a wide range of colors and designs, so you can get exactly the look you want without compromising on beauty.
#4: Seal Off Your Problems
Off-gassing poses both an environmental concern and a health concern. Harmful gasses and fumes from some building materials can aggravate your respiratory system, especially if allergies or chemical sensitivities are at play. Common off-gassing culprits are painted walls and wood items, such as cabinetry. If changing these out isn’t an option, seal in the chemicals to avoid off-gassing. Chemical seals and coats are applied over the paint or wood. They don’t damage or change the appearance of the surface, but they will minimize off-gassing.
#5: Skip the Plastic
One often over-looked aspect of a green remodeling project is the amount of garbage produced. Buying supplies direct, so they come packaged on reusable pallets instead of sealed in neat packages, can majorly minimize the amount of trash produced. Select products that don’t come over-packaged in a lot of cardboard and plastic.
#6: It’s Curtain Time
The finishing touch for any bathroom remodel is the shower curtain. Just like paint, the plastic in a shower curtain and liner can off-gas. Use a decorative fabric curtain as your outer layer, and a low-VOC, non-PVC liner to minimize the potential of harmful chemicals and off-gassing.
The single best way to keep your remodel green is to select products made to last. Quality materials that age well, such as glass tiles and well-made fixtures, will continue to minimize your environmental footprint for many years.