This guest post is written by Jason Fowler, Pre-Construction Manager at Sea Island Builders.
If you’re thinking about doing bathroom renovations, you may want to go beyond just picking out new tiles and think about how to make your space more environmentally-friendly. The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water in their home every day, and the bathroom is the biggest water waste culprit. In fact, the toilet alone can account for up to 27% of the total water usage each day. Fortunately, greening the bathroom during renovations has become more affordable in recent years and can pay off in terms of energy savings in the long run. Here are a few eco-friendly ideas to consider as you begin your bathroom remodel.
1. Install a dual-flush mechanism. As mentioned above, the toilet is one of the biggest water hogs in the house, so why not start your renovations there? Dual-flush toilets allow you to control the amount of water you use depending on the type of waste and also save water by using a wash-down flushing design rather than a siphoning design.
2. Install low-flow showerheads and faucets. If you live in an older home and haven’t updated your bathroom in a while, your showerhead might use as many as 5.5 gallons of water per minute! The federal government now mandates that new showerheads can’t exceed 2.5 gallons per minute, and you can find some great, affordable low-flow options that use even less water. While you’re at it, you may also want to replace your faucets with low-flow fixtures, or at the very least repair existing faucets to minimize leaks.
3. Refinish your shower or tub. You can make your shower or tub look like new simply by refinishing it with a new material rather than completely replacing it. If you do need to replace a shower or tub, talk to your custom home builder about reclaimed options which are made from recycled materials.
4. Use natural light. Most people don’t put a lot of thought into natural light in the bathroom, but if you add a strategic window that still allows for privacy, you can reduce the amount of time that your family has to turn on a light in the water closet.
5. Install a solar water heater. If it’s within your budget, consider adding a solar water heater, which will reduce your energy usage by using free energy from the sun to heat up your water. They can be used in any climate, and they’ve gotten more effective and less expensive in recent years (you should be able to purchase one for under $5,000).
While some green renovations may cost more up front, these changes can ultimately save you money on your utilities and minimize your environmental impact. And on top of that, modern, eco-friendly bathrooms look great!
Jason Fowler is Pre-Construction Manager at Sea Island Builders, Charleston’s premier custom home builder and contractor. The company is dedicated to renovating and building custom homes that are energy-efficient and support the health and wellness of the client, the community, and our environment. Sea Island Builders is a partner of ENERGY STAR, the Indoor airPLUS program, and the EPA’s WaterSense Program, and a Lead-Safe Epa Certified firm. Learn more at SeaIslandBuilders.com or connect with us on Houzz, Facebook, or Instagram.