The bathroom is probably the most overlooked area of an eco-conscious home. The simplest measures can go a long way to reducing both water and energy wastage in the bathroom.
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Shower over Bath
The most obvious first step is to switch to showers as a primary choice overfilling a bath, except if you have a “power shower.” An average comparison of 62 liters per shower to 80 liters per bath shows how much you can save every time.
Reduce water usage further by showering for shorter periods and lather soaps and shampoos while switching off the water in between.
TIP: Collect grey water in buckets while you shower and water your plants. If you must bath, use the water to pre-rinse the day’s eco-friendly cloth nappies before you pull the plug.
Improve the Shower Head
A green bathroom remodeling project doesn’t have to be a huge one, to start with. Start with an aerator – an inexpensive gadget that screws onto your bathroom faucet.
It restricts water flow and can also be attached to your shower head.
Showers are only one up on baths with normal shower fixtures. Power showers which last for more than 8 minutes use on average 136 liters each time.
Switch to an eco-friendly aerating shower head, which gives the feel of a power shower, but saves water and uses far less energy.
Flick the Lights
The bathroom is often the last place in the house to be switched to LED or more eco-friendly lighting options.
Older lighting fixtures or halogen bulbs use excessive energy in comparison. LED lighting is a superior option, especially in the bathroom.
TIP: Even better, turn off the lights and light a few romantic candles or candle ‘lanterns’ instead. It is far more calming than glaring electric lighting.
In theory, you could turn off the tap between brushing and washing your face, but the reality is that many of us don’t. An automatic faucet can force everyone in your household to be more eco-friendly, plus it is fun!
Most of the water use each day routes through the toilet cistern! The average toilet uses 9 liters per flush and we are literally flushing money down the drain each time we pull the chain. Low flow toilets and dual flush systems are not the only green options these days.
Paper-less Automatic Toilet
The Toto toilet from Japan is a true marvel. The dual flush system is efficient and Toto also completely eliminates the need for toilet paper! To top it off, it may just save a virgin rainforest in the process.
As one of the biggest waste products in the world, toilet paper (which is made from trees!) is sent on its way to contaminate the underground water systems.
98% of all toilet paper sold in the United States is harvested from untouched forests.
Modern convenience also perpetuates the demand for ‘soft’ new paper instead of using recycled paper.
Instead of toilet paper, the Toto uses a small wand to expel gentle, tiny water bubbles while a click of a button starts the dryer to finish the job.
It is fresher and cleaner, plus you can continue to browse your smartphone or read your magazine while it does its thing.
TIP: Invest in a gadget like the Drop-A Brick, which you pop into the tank. Some water companies even give these types of devices away, free of charge.
Want to know how much water you use in a day? Check out the U.S. Geological Survey’s calculator.
It is time that we started using recycled water (or “greywater”) to do the flushing.
Greywater systems come in all sizes – a small, sink-toilet filter (like the one pictured here), or a large, household-wide system to collect from sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, and showers (like the one pictured here).
The water you save is filtered, and can be used for flushing a toilet, and watering the garden all summer long, regardless of watering restrictions.
Drain water heat recovery (or greywater heat recovery) recovers and reuses hot water heat from the dishwasher, washing machine, and shower!
You could save as much as 60% of your heat energy by installing a system like this, and take one step closer to being self-sustainable.
Radiators are huge energy guzzlers, which are largely unnecessary in smaller bathrooms. More economical heating options are heated towel rails and underfloor heating.
Efficient Water Heaters
If the climate in your area is suitable, switch to a solar powered hot water system, not only for the bathroom but the kitchen and laundry, too.
A traditional hot water tank can also be converted into a tankless water heater, which uses a fraction of the energy. Insulating the water heater also works on efficiency.