What Makes A Bath Remodel Green
When we talk about green bath remodeling we talk about water—how much we use, how much we waste and how much energy we expend to heat water and keep it hot. So water conservation and energy conservation are the key points of focus in a green bath remodel. Let’s start with energy conservation.
Energy Conservation in the Green Bath
In a conventional home, just heating, storing and delivering hot water through the plumbing system accounts for a staggering 30-percent of total home energy usage. Thirty-percent!
Conventional systems burn a lot of energy to maintain a comfy water temperature in the storage tank. Heat energy is also lost in the delivery system—on the way to the shower from the hot water tank.
The first solution is stupidly low tech: Add an insulating blanket to the water heater tank and insulate all hot water delivery pipes. Another way to conserve energy, although much more of a commitment, is to look at the source. By mounting solar thermal collectors on the roof we can produce carbon free heat and hot water for the whole house. Second best would be a switch to a gas fired on-demand (tank-less) hot water heater. This eliminates the need for a storage tank and the wasted energy that occurs when water standing in the pipes cools off in between use.
Water Conservation in the Bath
Conserving water in the bath is easier and much less expensive to accomplish. We can use flow reducers in the shower and dual flush toilets to limit water usage. There is good reason to do so. Toilet flushing accounts for 27% of household water use—more than showering (at around16%). Use of flow reducers and high efficiency toilets can cut those percentages by half. By the way, it isn’t necessary to buy an expensive hi-tech toilet. Standard toilets can be retrofitted with dual flush mechanisms. The point is, why use more than you need to be perfectly comfortable. Once again, the way of sustainability is not deprivation. It is balance.
And finally, at the finish stage of our green bath remodeling project, we select tile, paint, adhesives and bonding agents sourced from recycled materials and non-toxic products to maintain healthy indoor air quality.