green bathroom reno

 

The bathroom has a bad reputation. It is the one room in the house that is the most expensive to build. All those pipes, electrical wires, furniture, built-ins and fixtures really add up. No other room in the house, except perhaps the kitchen, costs as much to put together.

More than that, though, is the fact that most bathrooms are not exactly environmentally-friendly. Tubs use a lot of water, toxic soaps go down the drain, building materials are often not the cleanest.

So, there you are, an environmentally-conscious person. You want your home to reflect your lifestyle and your beliefs. As important is the fact that you don’t want your wallet to start emptying.

How do you go about creating an eco bathroom without going broke? We’ve got some tips to help you out!

  • Water is the single biggest expense in a bathroom. Switch to shower heads, toilets and faucets that are designed to save water.
  • Keep on top of potential leaks. Toilet tanks are notorious for leaking. Change the hardware as soon as you begin to hear the tank filling when it hasn’t even been flushed.
  • Install a large window or skylight in the bathroom. The more natural light that is allowed to enter, the less electricity you will be using.
  • Investigate toilets that function as a composter. There’s no reason why perfectly clean water should be used in a toilet. Once flushed, that water can never be properly cleaned and reused. Human waste, however, can be composted and used on garden plants.
  • Dual-flush toilets are known water-savers because they limit the amount of water used per flush and type of waste.
  • Look for a hybrid sink. This product is built into the top of the toilet tank. When you wash your hands in the sink, that water will fill the toilet tank instead of being lost down the drain.
  • Opt out of the tub. Instead install a steam shower that will function as a regular shower as well as a luxury (and low water-use) bathroom feature.

Have you renovated your own bathroom? Tell us how you included environmentally-friendly elements.

Photo: kidayspa.co.uk

Photo: kidayspa.co.uk

Stop right there! Don’t give dad another tie this year. Instead, give him something that will make him feel his best. Give him the gift of a do-it-yourself spa day.

Fathers do a lot for us. They’re busy working outside and inside the home as much as their partners do. Yet, sometimes we forget that dad’s efforts deserve to be recognized as much as mom’s.

Dad might not readily admit it, but men love scented candles as much as women. Find out what his favorite scents are and place two or three in the bathroom. Scents of citrus, fruit, lavendar, eucalyptus, or even campfire will soothe his thoughts and help him relax.

Music is hugely important when setting up a spa experience. You don’t even have to limit your music choice to classical selections. If your dad loves loud rock music, then that’s what will help him enjoy his day. Create a playlist that contains all his favorites and have it available in the bathroom. He’ll have the option of flipping through the songs at his own discretion.

Bring the bath water to a perfectly warm temperature. Toss in a scented bath bomb or a few drops of essential oils. The effect will leave him with wonderfully smooth and scented skin.

Either before or after you prep his bath, give him a soothing scalp massage. The pressure will encourage healthy blood flow and have a calming effect, too.

Finish off the bathroom spa experience with a luxurious steam shower experience.

Dad’s spa day isn’t done yet, though. Provide him with a plate of his favorite snacks and a book, newspaper or magazine to read while he’s enjoying the pampering.

Over to you: How are you going to celebrate Father’s Day?

 

 

energy.gov

Photo: energy.gov

Isn’t that a gorgeous home? Something about solar panels just says “heat” to me. And I absolutely love the heat!

This is the second article in our series: Monthly Picks – Building A Green Home – Eco Energy Solutions.

The home in the photo is in Colorado. But solar panels can be installed on practically any home in any state. The key is that the panels have access to direct sunlight for enough hours in a day.

Solar panels are just one of the many eco energy options that are available today when we build our homes. At one time, you had the option to heat your home with hydronic radiators. Remember those tubes through which ran hot water? Great towel warmers, they were!

Later, homes were equipped with big oil tanks. Through the 1960s, we saw homes built with electric baseboard heaters and finally natural gas and forced air.

Now though, many more of us are turning toward environmentally-friendly alternatives that we hope will not only lighten our effect on the natural world, but also lighten our expenses!

Take a closer look at some of these eco options:

Solar Panels

Solar energy has come along way in the last couple of decades. It’s now cheaper and more efficient than ever. Panels can be placed on the roof, in the middle of the yard, or if you can organize your neighbors, then your community can purchase a set of panels together.

Pros 

  • renewable;
  • reduces electricity costs;
  • silent;
  • financial support available;
  • low maintenance;

Cons

  • initial cost of installation can be high;
  • too many cloudy days can effect how much energy is available to use;
  • storing solar energy can be expensive;
  • requires space;

Wind Power

Like solar energy, wind power is essentially free. Wind power can considerably reduce your energy costs to almost 90%.

Pros

  • green energy source;
  • space-efficient;
  • operating costs are low

Cons

  • wind is intermittent
  • initial cost of installation can be prohibitive
  • threat to birds and bats
  • low hum noise can be irritating to neighbors

HydroPower

Harnessing the power of water is certainly nothing new. If you have access to a flowing body of water that’s actually situated on your own property, then you can set up a small transformer that will serve your home’s energy needs.

Pros

  • renewable;
  • reliable
  • safe

Cons

  • may affect fish habitats and migration
  • the initial cost of installation can be expensive
  • few people have easy access to flowing water on their own property

Geothermal

Geothermal energy requires installing long tubes deep into the ground. Or in cases where the tubes cannot go straight down because of permafrost or other issues, the tubes can be laid out just below the surface. Once installed, the tubes draw heat from the Earth’s core.

Pros

  • associated with very low levels of pollution
  • renewable and sustainable
  • provides sufficient energy for a large home
  • allows for both heating and cooling
  • affordable and available everywhere

Cons

  • problematic in areas prone to earthquakes
  • initial cost of installation can be quite expensive

Do you already use one of these green energy alternatives in your home? Tell us how you find the experience.