Remodeling your bathroom is exciting. It may be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it is actually one of the most used spaces in your home and is, therefore, the room with the most potential to be turned into an eco-friendly bathroom.
The most common eco-friendly remodels include installing cost-efficient fixtures, using a sustainable bathroom vanity, and letting in more natural light.
Some people interchangeably use eco-friendly and sustainable, although related, they are not synonymous with each other. Eco-friendly is a generic and all-encompassing term for all actions that do not cause harm to the environment, while sustainable or sustainability is a more specific term that defines actions that do not deplete natural resources.
When applying it to consumerism, being eco-friendly means not actively contributing harmful waste and unnecessary damage to your environment—the ecosystem you function in. This means lessening everything from disposable plastic packaging and one-time-use materials that add to the waste you accumulate. As a result, it only makes sense that we, as humans who live in this world, do our part to become a little bit more eco-conscious, and what better way to start than by making one of your most-used rooms eco-friendly.
How do you make your bathroom eco-friendly? To help do our small part for our environment, we have a few tips and tricks on how to make adjustments when you’re remodeling and going for the eco-friendly options:
1. Let in More Natural Light
As you do your redecorations, one thing that most don’t consider is energy saving. Since our source of electricity and energy is a non-renewable resource, it is best to not use electricity excessively – this is where the beauty of natural light comes in.
A dark bathroom does not create an inviting environment where you can relax and just go about your business. In some bathrooms, where it is crammed into corners or under the stairs, there is insufficient lighting, resulting in a dingy and musty odor. Letting in more natural light would be an eco-friendly option in a way where you wouldn’t have to turn on artificial light all the time.
Also, unlike natural light, artificial lighting doesn’t come for free, and installing spotlights, dimmer switches, et al. can be a costly exercise. If you have a small bathroom with no windows, you’ll also have to bear in mind that this means lights will be used constantly throughout the day, which could lead to a painful increase in utility bills.
Your bathroom will most likely have at least one or two windows, once you utilize this by not covering it up and finding the best place to position it as a source of light, those who use the bathroom will not have to turn on the light and unnecessarily waste that energy but instead just rely on the natural light that your windows bring. You can increase the effect of the natural light brought in by your window as well by making sure your bathroom’s paint and the overall theme is light and clean. You’ll be surprised to see the savings at the end of the month when you don’t have to use your bathroom light as often as you used to.
We cannot stress enough just how important is to make sure that your bathroom has proper ventilation, fresh air makes your bathroom and its surroundings a cleaner place, making it a healthier environment for the good organisms in the ecosystem to survive in. However, ensuring that your bathroom has proper ventilation doesn’t have to be a pricey process wherein you have to install a ventilation system, although arguably the best way to go, a ventilation system is not the only option.
One simple solution is to replace your window panes with ones that can be left partially open without allowing intruders or unwanted entities to enter. Keeping your bathroom windows half-open as often as you can allows for constant ventilation and a healthier bathroom for everyone.
3. Choose Water Saving Fixtures
When it comes to bathroom fixtures, there is a smorgasbord of options available out there. Everyone’s tendency is to go for fixtures aesthetically pleasing to each their own tastes, however besides how it looks another reason to choose fixtures well is depending on their water consumption.
You can opt to install timed faucets, double flush toilets, and recirculating hot water systems to name a few. Although all of these are out-of-pocket expenses when you do your remodel, this can save you money spent on utilities in the long run.
4. Low Flow Water Systems
The one thing that is most used in the bathroom is water. Water usage if unregulated may become excessive – thus becoming a waste as water undergoes energy-powered processes to be considered safe for household and drinking use, and of course the money you’ll save from paying less on your utilities.
How do we stop this? A cost-efficient and energy-efficient option would be to install low-flow water systems in your plumbing for your shower and bidet’s water flow. This regulates the water that travels up to your shower, making sure that only the water that is needed is released and stopping the flow when needed. In the long run, low-flow water systems also prevent leaking and plumbing issues as they will naturally stop one of the most common plumbing problems – excessive water discharge. Not only will it lower your cost on your water utility bill, but it will also conserve energy and water.
5. Add Plants As Decor
Bathrooms are one of the most common nesting grounds of harmful and unwanted bacteria inside your household because it is almost always wet, bathrooms attract bacteria that shouldn’t exist in your house in the first place. How do we combat this? Since we can’t really control the bathroom being wet all the time unless we want to do excessive cleaning, the best way is to make sure there is clean air going around the bathroom that will be deadly to this bacteria.
The easiest thing to do is to add plants to your bathroom. Plants produce a significant amount of oxygen that is fatal to most organisms who dwell in dank and musky spaces – put in a source of fresh air and your bathroom will be significantly brighter, healthier, and smell better.
6. Recycle What You Can
Bathroom fixtures and furniture are among the most sturdy and durable items one has in their household – these things are built to last, and, with proper care, usually will last one generation of your family’s life if not more. With this, once you decide to redecorate and your current fixtures and furniture don’t meet the design and theme you are going for, don’t automatically go to the mindset that everything must go; that everything is disposable — assess and refurbish or resell.
Refurbishing your current bathroom fixtures is not at all difficult, some homeowners opt to just give it a fresh coat of paint, or depending on the material reglazing it. This can save you from completely having to buy new ones.
If you decide to resell, safely remove your current bathroom fixtures and furniture, clean it up well and bring it over to a nearby thrift shop, secondhand warehouse, or even a flea market to re-sell it. Not only do you make a small profit for yourself, but you also do your part in prolonging materials that are still okay, stopping unnecessary waste that contributes that would just go otherwise go to a landfill. Just make sure that you’re selling your preloved bathroom fixtures and furniture at a reasonable price!
Leveling with you, there may be an extra effort on your side to learn how to go about eco-friendly remodeling. One possible downside to choosing to be eco-friendly is that you’ll find that it may require research on your end as not a lot of stores have eco-friendly bathroom products as their options. The good thing is you can simply ask for help from a designer or even the specialists from a depot store and they’ll be able to point you out in the right direction.
You’ll be surprised at the sudden increase of fresh and clean air inside your bathroom as your bills gradually decrease. One important note would be to not pressure yourself to go full-on eco-friendly immediately. Once we look at all our daily practices, we’ll tend to discover that a lot are harmful to the environment, and pressuring ourselves to stop all this at once is not just frustrating, but unrealistic.
Therefore, don’t pressure yourself to make ONLY eco-friendly decisions as you redecorate your bathroom – make one or two eco-friendly decisions, stick to it consistently until it becomes a practice, and sooner or later you’ll realize how easier you incorporate making eco-friendly decisions into everything in your life.
At the root of it all, taking a little extra time to research and verify whether your remodeling choices are good for the environment is a small price to pay for the positive effect it brings to your community, environment, and even your wallets.