Of all the rooms of a typical house, the bathroom can be the place where some of the most wasteful use of resources happens. Increasing the sustainability of your bathroom involves taking practical steps to curb the consumption of water and electricity. Below are five practical ways of doing just that.
#1- Consider installing a low-flow toilet. While low flow toilets have, in the past, earned a bad reputation for not providing enough power to adequately get rid of waste, recent advances in technology have more or less eliminated that problem. There are even what’s called “dual flush” toilets, which allow you to choose between less power for liquid and more power for solid waste. Though the general trend for housing construction is towards low-flow toilets anyway, older homes may still have models that use up to 7 gallons per flush. Of all of the household appliances that use water, the toilet ranks number one in consumption, accounting for nearly a third of your overall water usage. So, if you can afford to replace your toilet, it will go a long way towards increasing the sustainability of your bathroom as well as your entire house.
#2- Go high-tech with your faucet. Another way of cutting down on water usage in the bathroom is to install faucets that employ motion sensors onto your sink. The principle is very simple; the sensors turn the water on when you actually need it and turn it off when you don’t. You would be surprised at how much water goes to waste in the moments that your hands aren’t actually under the faucet. It adds up after a while.
#3- Swap out your showerhead. Low-flow showerheads are a great way of conserving both electricity and water; not only are you using water at a slower rate, but it takes less power to heat that water. Traditional shower heads use up to eight gallons of water per minute. Low-flow shower heads reduce this by half. And, as with low-flow toilets, advances in technology mean that you can have this advantage without having to compromise on water pressure. Low-flow shower heads are inexpensive, easy to install, and can save an average-sized family hundreds of dollars every year.
#4- Switch to LED’s. Another way to curb the use of electricity in the bathroom, not to mention the rest of the house, is to replace your incandescent lights with florescent bulbs. They only use twenty percent of the power and last up to 250 times longer. The difference in energy usage is so drastic that replacing a single bulb can reduce your energy bill by hundreds a year. And because of technological advances in florescent lighting, this is all without sacrificing brightness or light quality.
#5- Get a more efficient fan. Replacing your vent fan with an energy-efficient one can further reduce energy usage in the bathroom. It is important to run the fan as you shower and for a little while afterward. Otherwise, the steam collects on the walls and promote the growth of mold, which can endanger your family’s health and be very costly to remove. But just because the vent fan is a necessity doesn’t mean that you have to throw away money to run it. An energy efficient fan can get the job done while only using forty of the power.