Tips for a GREENER Bathroom
Nowadays, there are many ways to be environmentally friendly in the bathroom. In fact, you have so many different options now it can be hard deciding which elements to include. As a private contractor in the Hamptons, I have done my fair share of bathroom makeovers. So, instead of being confused, follow a few simple tips I have come up with that will leave you with an aesthetically beautiful, as well as environmentally friendly new bathroom.
Start with surfaces
When you substitute green materials into your bathroom you not only are improving the sustainability and décor in your bathroom, you are making them safer hygienically. Almost all modern materials have added benefits on top of being environmentally sound. While touring Brooklyn real estate a few months ago I came across a novel use of bamboo for a bathroom countertop. Bamboo is a durable material that is anti-microbial by nature, is nearly waterproof, and is flexible enough to use in a variety of settings. You can use high quality bamboo for flooring as well.
Don’t want wood in your bathroom? Natural linoleum has many of the same properties as bamboo while at the same time being biodegradable, free of toxins, and very easy to maintain. As an added bonus, natural linoleum is extremely durable – it should last years or more. It comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes and patterns.
Make your vanity sparkle
Are you looking to add a bit of “wow” to your bathroom? Your vanity is an ideal place to add a distinctive touch. Instead of going out and purchasing all new cabinets and cupboards, consider making the environmentally sound choice and reusing old furniture. You can repurpose an old chest, or find quality old pieces at antique stores or on eBay. Using older pieces can add a vintage bit of flair to a bathroom. Or, you can update your old furniture to better fit in with your new look and color scheme. A couple of coats of low or no volatile organic compound paint or stain will have your vanity looking better than new.
The biggest green updating you can give your bathroom is in using new, high efficient fixtures. The less water you use, the better off the environment will be. The biggest water savings will come in switching your showerhead over to a super-efficient model. Moen makes several models that use almost 20 percent less water, while still giving you an invigorating shower.
Another great way to lower your water usage is to install a lavatory faucet that meets the WaterSense criteria. WaterSense is a program started by the EPA to lessen indoor and outdoor water usage by promoting water-efficient products and practices. Moen has a new single-handle faucet that meets the WaterSense guidelines. Its technology lets the water flow at 1.5 gallons a minute as compared to the 2.2 gallons found in traditional faucets. As with all Moen products, you do not sacrifice style for performance.
Your bathroom decorations can also be a great way to go green. The first thing you should do is avoid rubber and plastic whenever possible. A rubber mat or plastic shower curtain can be detrimental to your air quality. This is particularly an issue in a small tight space such as a bathroom. It’s best to use PVC-free plastics for your shower curtains and liners. Even better is to use natural fabrics such as bamboo or cotton. Hemp is also a great option as is naturally resistant to mold. Another great way to go green in your bathroom is by using organic cotton for your towels and rugs. Organic cotton is hypoallergenic and is grown in a way that lessens the impact on the environment.