A Green Bath

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bathroom.jpgBathroom renovations are one of the most popular home projects these days and it’s getting easier to create a healthy, beautiful and environmentally-friendly space for your family. Try incorporating some of these techniques and materials:

1. Paint, caulk, and adhesives: Choose low or zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) products. VOCs can off-gas chemicals into the air you breathe for many years.

2. Cabinetry: Look for solid wood that’s been sustainably managed, or rapidly renewable products made from bamboo, wheatboard, sunflower board, or MDF that is made without urea formaldehyde. Avoid particleboard because of it’s high level of formaldehyde which off-gases for years.

3. Countertops: There are really beautiful options for solid surface or tiles that incorporate recycled materials, like glass and metal.

4. Floors and Walls: Locally-made or recycled-content tiles create a stylish look.

5. Water saving fixtures (toilets, shower heads, and faucets): Older fixtures made before 1992 use tremendous amounts of water during each use. Look for the EPAs Water Sense label for toilets; and for faucets and showerheads in the future. A simple fix, without the purchase of new fixtures, is to add water-conserving aerators to your faucets. For instant hot water, install an on-demand hot water system, which will also save money on your water bills.

6. Sinks and bathtubs: Sinks made from recycled content and refurbished tubs are just as attractive and durable as ones that are made from virgin materials.

7. Towels: Soft, organic cotton towels and bath mats are best. A wonderful palette of colors are available from natural neutrals to colors that come from low-impact dyes. Replace vinyl shower curtains with machine-washable fabric ones to eliminate off-gassing of chemicals.

8. Ventilation: Keeping mold and mildew out of the bathroom is always a challenge. Choose an energy efficient fan to remove humidity. If you’re replacing windows, look for the Energy Star label to conserve energy and save on your utility bills.

9. Framing: If you must tear down old walls and need to reframe, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified lumber. It has received third party certification that it comes from well managed forests.

10. Insulation: Recycled denim or cotton insulation, or blown-in cellulose is non-toxic and easy to work with.

11. Drywall: Paperless drywall doesn’t promote the growth of mold and mildew. Be sure to use it in appropriate areas only. If you’re lucky enough to have plaster walls, don’t remove them unless absolutely necessary because they are better than drywall.

12. Plumbing: If you need to install new pipes, save and sell your old pipes! Scrap yards will pay to get them.

13. Lighting: Recycled-content light fixtures and compact fluorescent light bulbs are ideal. To bring in natural light, consider a tubular skylight.

14. Cleaning and Personal Care: Natural products contribute to good indoor air quality and also affect the quality of the water flowing out of your bathroom and back into the environment. Save trees and choose soft toilet paper and tissues made from recycled paper.

Helpful Tip: Cover the vents in your bathroom during renovations to avoid contaminating the rest of the house with dust and debris.

We’ll post specific information for each sustainable bathroom feature listed here in up-coming articles.

Tag(s): Green Building, Green Furnishings, Hazardous Products / Health Issues, Kitchens And Baths

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One Response to “A Green Bath”

  1. Bath Oils » A Green Bath on October 2nd, 2007 4:28 am

    […] Al wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptbathroom.jpg Bathroom renovations are one of the most popular home projects these days and it’s getting easier to create a healthy, beautiful and environmentally-friendly space for your family. Try incorporating some of these techniques … […]

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