A new bathroom is a big investment, but also a smart one for homeowners wanting to protect their nest egg. Upgrading your bathroom or adding a new one can add value to your home which is good for you, especially if you may consider selling your home in the near future.
Yet, for many homeowners, investing in the earth can be just as important as the monetary investment they plan on making. Whether you’re a committed tree hugger, or just starting to ponder your impact on the planet, you can find an array of options to turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly zone.
No matter the scope of your remodel, reducing the amount of water you use in your bathroom can be an easy change to make. A great first step to reducing water is to change your showerhead to a newer, water saving model. It is required that all new showerheads being produced use no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute, but many models will do an even better job of conserving water. You can check out your local home improvement store for an array of options that will help you conserve.
Replacing your toilet with an updated water saving model is also a great green remodeling idea. When low flow toilets first came on the market, they got some bad reviews because they just weren’t making the grade or performing at a standard level. However, newer models have taken the criticism into consideration and you can now find numerous low flow toilets that not only work as well as the originals, but conserve more water.
Reducing energy consumption is a major part of any green remodeling project in any part of your home. While there are wide ranges of energy saving options that you can opt for in your bathroom the easiest and quickest way to do a green upgrade is to change your light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent. Fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs, and last 30 times longer! You’ll be saving money in no time by using fluorescent lighting.
If you are installing new flooring or towel racks you may be tempted to add heated features. But under floor heating, and heated towel racks consume a lot of energy. While these options are luxurious, a homeowner concerned with energy consumption will want to think twice before installation.
If you will be replacing a tub or shower when you start your bathroom remodel, take the time to make sure that the walls behind the units are properly sealed and have no air leaks by caulking problem areas or adding insulation. Walls behind tubs and showers are notoriously thin, and taking the time to add more insulation will ensure your comfort in the room, and make sure that the room remains as energy efficient as possible.
As you are replacing parts of your bathroom, such as countertops and flooring, you’ll have to consider the best materials to use. It seems that there is a constant stream of new innovative materials coming out on the market. Recycled glass, recycled paper composite, as well as the more sustainable bamboo and cork products are widely available.
For countertops, recycled glass or paper stone are both interesting choices. Recycled glass counters are made from glass bottles and products that create a mosaic glass affect in the finished project. Paper stone is a composite made from recycled paper. It’s incredibly durable along with being a recycled product. There are also many options for recycled tiles for your floor, walls and countertops. If you choose to go with recycled tile, try to use non-toxic grout and caulk for the project.
As you are ripping out old components of your bathroom, don’t just throw everything away so that it ends up in the landfill. You can take many of your old fixtures, bathtubs, sinks, and vanities to a center which collects them and offers them for resale. You’d be surprised how popular home remodeling salvage centers are becoming, especially in urban areas. Many of the parts of your bathroom you will be getting rid of are still in perfect condition and can be reused, instead of simply being thrown away. This will reduce the waste produced from your remodel, and allow for more to be recycled.