Pertaining to designing your bathroom, you might not quite know where to start. The idea of completely renovating your room and changing your bathroom elements for newer models can be overwhelming. But there is one key element that you should always keep in mind when designing any new space: sustainability.
Ensuring that you make sustainable and ecological choices is vital for the future of our planet and the environment. But you might be blown away to know that it will also be beneficial for your wallet too. Here, we will discuss what sustainability in design means, what sort of sustainable choices you could make to your bathroom design, and cover some of the best brands with ecological business ethics.
What Does Sustainability Mean?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term sustainability here means the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.” To put it another way, it is important for us to preserve our natural resources, such as water and metals. All Interior Designers now factor sustainability into their room designs and will ensure that each item that is put into a room scheme is considered carefully as to the impact it has on the natural environment. But where does sustainability fit in when it comes to bathroom schemes?
Well, the most used natural resource found in a bathroom is water. Saving water is so important to our futures, and it is vital that we conserve it as best as we can. This is why we need to use water-saving products in our bathrooms so that we don’t consume more water than we need. You can choose for your bathroom several other sustainable choices, such as swapping plastic fixtures for ceramic ones or choosing ethically-sourced flooring such as bamboo rather than a human-made alternative. There are lots of ways in which sustainability can influence your bathroom design.
As we have said, the most used resource in your bathroom is water. So, it makes sense that you would want to conserve it by installing water-saving fixtures in your bathroom. Here are the three most common high water usage fixtures found in a bathroom.
Showers can be very water-consuming, especially if they are old or not maintained properly. Older style showers can use around 3-5 gallons of water per minute. Compare this to the newer models (which only use 2 gallons of water per minute or less), and you can see that the difference quickly adds up over the 7 or 8 minutes that the average American stays in the shower. To find a good, water-saving shower, look for a WaterSense Certified faucet. Remember that some water features have larger outputs, such as rainfall effects.
Toilets can be the worst for wasting water, particularly older toilets. In fact, if your toilet is 30 years old or more, there is a chance that it could be operating with up to 7 gallons of water per flush. This is a huge amount of water compared to the amount needed in newer toilets. In fact, a water-saving toilet that could be purchased today would have a flush system of between 0.8 and 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This is down to the new technology that has been created in these newer toilets that allow less water to cause still as much pressure to push your waste away. These toilets are a very worthwhile investment and will save you a fortune on your water bill too.
Similarly to your shower, your faucets use a lot of water. Thankfully technology has advanced, and you now find that most faucets have an aerated system that allows air and water to be mixed to create pressure without using too much water. These faucets come in an enormous range of different shapes and sizes. Some even come with different spray functions so you can tailor them to your powder room, your utility room, and your family bathroom. For additional information on how to choose the right bathroom faucet, take a look at this ultimate guide.
Lately, there has been a real downturn in plastic products because of their durability for the long term, and because of all the chemicals, it takes in the making process of these products. Instead, people are choosing more eco-friendly materials that are sustainable, have better longevity, and can be recycled. Choosing eco-friendly materials can range from your bath to your flooring, so it is worth looking into what materials you are buying before you commit financially.
Investing in Quality
It is also very important that you invest in high-quality products to install into your bathroom. By choosing high-quality items, they will last longer and won’t need replacing anytime soon. Finding a quality item can be tricky, so it is essential to research your products before you buy them and check the reviews that come from previous owners of the product. Also, look for kite marks and buy from brands that are reputable and offer warranties.
Investing in quality might seem expensive to start with, but it will pay dividends in the long run. For starters, it will mean that there are fewer maintenance costs with a higher quality product. If you want to become skilled at how to maintain your own toilet, you might want to take a look at this handy tips guide here. The parts and mechanics within the product will be made from highly durable materials that will last much longer than cheaper ones. These products will also last longer, which will again save you money in the long run.
Toto is a Japanese brand that has spent years honing the technology within their toilets to use the slightest amount of water possible to remove waste. They do this in several ways, including having a smarter flushing system, a more streamlined bowl, and a larger waste trap to remove the waste. Their commitment to reducing the amount of water used is so impressive and leaves you with a great product.
Kohler have been working on their toilet technology for years and are now focusing their attention on their power-assisted flushing systems. These flushing systems now use less water but still provide a high-pressure system, even in low-pressure areas. Kohler pride themselves on their ecological values, and this shines through for each of their products.
- American Standard
American Standard is a well-known brand, and one of the most used toilets and sinks in the US. This brand is not only designed in America but is manufactured in the US as well, making their products better for their carbon footprint. American Standard takes water saving seriously, and all of their toilets comply with the WaterSense Certification, an initiative set up by EPA.
Things to Consider When Planning A Bathroom
There are several things to evaluate when you begin the planning process of your bathroom, the most important being the sustainability of your items. Once you have that planted in your mind, here are some more considerations.
How much are you prepared to spend on your new bathroom? If you have a tight budget, then you might want to change just a few key pieces. We suggest that if you have the budget, you change your toilet and your shower head. This is because they use the most amount of water, and changing these for a water-saving model will save you money in the distant future on your water bill. If you have a larger budget, then think about factoring in a contingency into your budget, just in case your project runs over, or you have an unexpected bill to pay out for.
How long do you imagine your project will take? If you are going to take on the work yourself, then you might want to factor in a little more time. This will give you time to look up how to install your new bathroom properly and get informed before you start work. Also think about when you will do the work, such as whether you can work in the evenings after work or whether you could take a few days off work to get it finished. If you are getting a professional to do your renovation, factor in an allowance of time in case your tradesman runs over.
If you are renovating your bathroom, but you have to do it around your family, the likelihood is that you are not going to want to be without your bathroom for very long. Try to find the time when you can live with the disruption without affecting too many members of the home. If you can use a different bathroom, try to time-manage as best as possible so that you can clearly see how many days you need to be without water or a working toilet.
- Finishing Touches
It’s always worth looking at your finishing touches well in advance, just in case you need to pre-order them months in advance. This is particularly the case for custom made products, so be sure to allocate this into your time planning. Think about the sustainability of your finishing touches and consider using materials that are ethically sourced and eco-friendly. Think about using local suppliers and American manufacturers so that the carbon footprint of items is reduced.
Sustainability is so important for all design, but particularly for bathroom design. By taking care of the resources we already have, we can benefit from them for longer and enjoy them in the future. Next time you are renovating your bathroom, consider which sustainable options you can choose and implement into your bathroom design.
SmartReno can help you find the right contractor for your Bathroom project