Eco-friendly Updates for a Tired, Old Bathroom, Part II

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In my previous post, I concentrated on easy, green fixes for an outdated bathroom — everything from towels and personal care products to paint and hardware.  If a more elaborate renovation is in the cards for your old bathroom, and you’re interested in earth-friendly materials, you may want to consider some of these options for everything from cabinets and countertops to sinks and flooring:

  • Cover that oddly-colored ceramic tile that lines your walls, with crisp white beadboard to give your bath a whole new look without the added time, expense and impact on landfills that comes with demolition.  Be sure to inquire about environmentally friendly beadboard and use low VOC adhesives that won’t offgas harmful volatile organic compounds into your home.
  • Replace your old, inefficient fixtures with stylish, new WaterSense labeled faucets, showerheads, and toilets. These products will conserve water, yet maintain high performance.  They are made by several manufacturers and can be found at home improvement retailers and online.
  • A new sink can have a big impact, and some companies even make them from recycled metal or glass.  An under-the-cabinet demand hot water device will allow you to have hot water instantaneously at the sink or shower, saving you money on both energy and water bills.  Sleek motion-activated sink faucets are another great option to save water too.
  • Add a refurbished claw-foot bathtub or enclose your shower with recycled glass doors.
  • A new countertop can do wonders for a bathroom.  Many green options exist today, like those made from:  concrete and cement mixed with recycled glass, wood, metal and plastic, as well as reclaimed granite and marble chips; reclaimed wood fiber & bamboo; scrap metal shavings, and even recycled paper from PaperStone and Richlite.
  • Beautiful and durable recycled glass and ceramic tiles can change the whole look of a bathroom, whether it’s on the backsplash or floor.
  • A radiant floor heating system is a luxurious and efficient way to heat the bathroom.
  • If painting or re-staining your existing cabinetry just isn’t going to cut it, consider purchasing or making cabinets from reclaimed woods, sustainable woods, formaldehyde-free MDF, or agricultural waste by-products which create sunflower board, kirei board, and wheatboard.
  • Keeping mold and mildew out of the bathroom is always a challenge. Choose an  Energy Star rated ventilation fan to efficiently remove humidity to the outdoors.
  • When adding or replacing windows and skylights, look for the Energy Star label to conserve energy and save on your heating & cooling bills. Energy Star Solar tubes are a great option as they are relatively inexpensive, yet shed a lot of light into interior spaces.
  • If you’re knocking down walls or constructing an addition, be sure to insulate well with eco-friendly insulation such as cellulose, denim, and soy-based spray foam.
  • When adding new drywall, go paperless because it doesn’t promote the growth of mold and mildew. Be sure to use it in appropriate areas only.
  • Even framing new walls can be done sustainably:  look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified lumber which has received third party certification that it comes from well managed forests.
  • Be sure to donate building materials and your old fixtures (if still usable) to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or architectural salvage shop.

Tag(s): Greening the Home, Kitchens And Baths


3 Responses to “Eco-friendly Updates for a Tired, Old Bathroom, Part II”

  1. Laurie on April 14th, 2009 8:09 pm

    Great ideas (And in your last post, too). What about insulation from mushrooms? We wrote about it, and it baffled us when we heard about it.

    Thanks for the read! We’ll be back. Visit us if you can!

  2. Joyce Benson on April 15th, 2009 6:38 pm

    Wow, that’s an interesting one!

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    […] ago by the late Anita Roddick – more companies are conscious of their ingredients and processing Eco-friendly Updates for a Tired, Old Bathroom, Part II – 04/14/2009 In my previous post, I concentrated on easy, green fixes for an […]

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