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.

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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.

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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!

Bio

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.

You’d turn into a Gremlin too if you couldn’t take a shower.

Gremlins Can't Take Steam Showers

Too bad. He looks like he could use a steam shower.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to successfully accessorize your bathroom. Whether it’s a big change like updating your shower enclosure, or a small change like adding a caddy for bathtubs, accessorizing can make the space feel new and fresh.

There are tips and tricks and small DIY projects that can add style to a space. To accessorize your bathroom, try some or all of the following:

-Add living or fake plants to your bathroom. Place them on the bathroom vanity or near the bathtub.

-Keep two or three candles near the bathtub. Use them while soaking in the tub and the rest of the time they’ll make a nice decoration.

-Replace your mirror. Big mirrors with large, antique frames are trending.

-Get a ladder shelf. These are vintage ladders placed against the wall. You can keep extra towels on top of it.

-To inexpensively update your bathroom, change out the faucets and replace the door knobs and drawer handles. This can update the space and make it feel more finished.

-Don’t forget to update the towel bars and towel rings. Consider purchasing a towel warmer, which is multifunctional. It warms the towels and the room.

-Get a used dresser from the thrift store or a garage sale. Sand it, repaint it and turn it into a new bathroom vanity. Your recycling project will give your bathroom a vintage and hip feel.

-Pick out new colored towels and rugs. They don’t have to match each other, but they should coordinate with the paint color in your bathroom.

-Say goodbye to your old shower doors and replace them. Consider getting a modern shower enclosure.

-Create a magnetic makeup board to organize your makeup in style. Frame a piece of metal and attach small magnets to the bottom of your make up products.

-Does your bathroom need new lighting? Think chandeliers! These are in right now for the bathroom; make your bathroom luxurious and glamorous.

-Consider building a glass tile mosaic back splash in your bathroom. Use colors that will stand out from the rest of the wall.

-Pick out some antique bottles at the thrift store or the swap meet. Display them on a glass tray on top of your vanity or a cart.

-Add a caddy to your bathtub for your favorite soaps and books to facilitate relaxation.

-Build a mason jar organizer on the wall. The added storage will make the bathroom less cluttered. You’ll need hose clamps, jars and trim to anchor them on the wall.

The most important part of accessorizing your bathroom is: don’t forget to have fun! Your bathroom is a very personal space. It’s where you go for self-care and relaxation. With some effort, you can create a dream bathroom you’re happy to go home to.