A modern urban bathroom, even by its basic definition, does not fall under the characteristics of something sustainable – causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time. Yet we can make smart choices to get as close as possible.
Reducing shower time, switching to package-free solid soap and air-drying your clothes is a good place to start, but if you are ready to take the game to the next level, here are 5 boxes you should tick for your bathroom to truly stand on the side of the long and green future of the planet. This list works both for residential and public premises.
1. Water-saving solutions
Water is worth saving always and every time; see what you can do about it. Before tearing apart your existing installations, have a detailed look at the water-consumption specifications and keep anything that has even the slightest notch of the economy because the unnecessary ordering of a new product fuels the manufacturing industry, which takes its share of natural resources.
When choosing new bathroom furnishings, look for motion-sensing faucets or even the ones with a digital readout of the amount of water that is being used; low-flow or even mist showerheads; dual-flush toilets or even better – a sink-toilet combo. Consider also getting by without a hot water circulation, which pumps hot water from the heater to the water taps and back to the heater. It gives the comfort of almost instant access to hot water, yet it consumes an enormous amount of energy, which we try to avoid.
2. Energy-efficient lighting
How much of the natural light can you use? Use as much as the room allows. Think smart and put to use all the hints you can find on catching and holding daylight in the room with the help of white-colored walls and mirrors, which reflect light. Besides that always opt for LED lightbulbs, which use up to 90% less energy and are finally available in all the shapes and sizes and even made out of sustainable or recycled materials. Make sure to avoid compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which are known to contaminate the earth due to the toxic materials that they are made of.
Moreover, be specific about the lighting. General lighting in the bathroom is great, yet seldom necessary. Instead, go for a tactical task lighting – a spotlight by the sink or an LED lighting strip in the drawers. Also installing dimmers can give you significant savings.
3. Sustainable materials
Think materials? Think all over – from ceiling to the floor. From eco-friendly plastering and paint (with low content of volatile organic compounds – VOC) and sustainable flooring (which entails a minimal chemical treatment) to items made out of natural, low-impact, renewable, recycled and recyclable materials, such as ceramics, porcelain, concrete, glass, bamboo, cork, and others. Most of these materials hold value for a very long time because they last for ages and can be reused.
Switching to natural and, if possible – local materials have health benefits, not even mentioning the benefit for the environment. Moreover, the production of synthetic materials consumes more energy and resources, it might harm the nature and, if products are imported from faraway countries, the carbon footprint that comes with it is worth the consideration.
4. Planet-responsible brands
Sustainability starts with a thought and a good cause. As for the produce – it starts from the source, the manufacturer. Consumers shape the market, therefore a future-oriented production industry is in our own hands, it depends on the responsible choices of buyers. Choose your vendors wisely and give double points to those, who use recycled materials, manufacture responsibly – also by saving resources – and who engage in low-packaging and green logistic practices.
This step requires deeper research and getting a closer look at the amazing deals, yet the investment of your time for getting to know your suppliers will pay off. The future of the planet (and consumerism) depends on your well-considered and responsible purchasing decisions.
5. Environmentally-friendly cleaning
The so-called green cleaning has countless benefits, the health of the residents above all. Sustainable living is on the high; it covers almost every aspect of our everyday lives, and the industry of household chemicals is up to speed. Sure, we can Google for old, natural, vinegar-based cleaning methods, which were common knowledge before the rise of the oil-processing era, yet there are modern options too.
The first step is to eliminate the necessity for the cleaning solutions all together by cleaning and wiping the surfaces regularly and, preferably, after each use. And even as simple thing as airing the room can save some cleaning. For the next step, we recommend opting for cleaners with reliable certification labels of Ecocert, EcoControl, EcoLogo and similar, as a safe choice.
This is a good place to start for a sustainable bathroom. Keep this checklist within an easy reach, and always dare to ask the hard questions: Is there a better solution? How much waste will this generate? What problems could arise when using, operating, servicing and repairing the product? How much and what level of maintenance and repairs will be needed? What is the lifetime of the product? And so on. Make the decision on bathroom furnishing that leaves your conscience clear.
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Water, and the shortage of it, is the very idea behind the STAND Company and it is the main focus also for this blog. We stand for the future! For the waterful future, to be exact. The water industry, besides bathroom design and technology, is our main field of interest and most of our reading-time goes to those topics. Catch up on all the latest in the water-saving industry.