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A Greener Bathroom

If you are building, renovating or just looking to ‘green-ify’ your bathroom, there are many things, great and small, you can do to better serve the environment:

Replace – nearly a third of the water consumed in homes is used to flush toilets. Renovating is a perfect time to install a water-saving toilet.

Install – low-flow, or water-saving bathroom faucets, taps and shower heads produce an adequate flow but use 60 percent less water by combining the water with air pressure.

Replace Water Heater – look for a high Energy Factor as this is the measure of the water heaters’ overall efficiency. The higher the Energy Factor, the more efficient the appliance. Electric water heaters have higher Energy Factor ratings than gas-fired water heaters but heating with electricity can be more expensive.

Insulate Heater – a great cost effective way to save energy is to insulate your water heater. Putting an insulation jacket on your water heater reduces standby losses dramatically.

Insulate Water Pipes – water can lose heat through the pipes where the building is not insulated. This wastes energy and it then takes a long time for the water to heat up. A great way to save energy is by insulating the water pipes in their entirety.

Insulate – a great time to open up the bathroom walls and replace the insulation. Upgrade to a non toxic insulation that will retain heat a lot better

Low Toxins -use a low-toxic sealant to seal around plumbing fixtures and use foam gaskets behind electrical outlets. Use exterior-grade plywood or a formaldehyde-free alternative for the cabinets. When painting use a hard wearing, washable, and formaldehyde-free paint.

Tiles – ceramic tiles are water-resistant, washable, and very durable. Look for a low-toxic grout and sealer. Natural stone, marble or slate, are expensive but extremely water-resistant and make great tiles for showers, tubs or other areas of the room. They are easily cleaned and more durable than ceramic.

Let The Light In – before installing artificial lights consider how to optimise natural light by windows and skylights.

Choose Energy-Efficient Lights – there have been many improvements in the flourescent light markets recently, so there are some products out there to rival the incandescent globes of the past including  LED lighting (light-emitting diode). LEDs produce as much light as incandescent lights but use 1/10 of the electricity of an incandescent bulb. The initial cost for LED lighting is higher but will save you energy and replacement bulb costs since they will last for 10 years or more.

Decisions being made for your house at the start of the project determine how much energy will be required to operate the house. Be wise and research as many options as possible.

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