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From design ideas to cleaning best practices, the Modern Bathroom Blog provides tips and tricks for creating or maintaining a beautiful bathroom.

The Benefits of an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Whether you live in California or have heard the drought news from across the country, reducing your water consumption is as important as ever. While cutting back on water usage isn’t mandatory in every city or state, going green in the bathroom can not only save energy and water, but it can lower your monthly utility bills as well. Whether you're completely renovating your bathroom or are looking for ways to reduce your water consumption and be kinder to the environment, there are dozens of eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and products available from some of the most popular manufacturers. Here are some benefits of "going green".

Conserves Water

According to a 2013 report from the United States Environmental Agency (EPA), each person in the United States uses an average of 100 gallons of water each day. Unfortunately, a part of that waste can be contributed to dripping faucets and toilets that don't stop running. If your home is one of the 10% that have water leaks due to old and ineffective toilets and faucets, you should consider an upgrade – one person alone would use 30% less water by upgrading to water-efficient fixtures and appliances. Whether you live in an apartment, a rented home, or a home of your own, it's a good idea to invest in water efficient fixtures.

Saves Money

Since eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and appliances conserve energy and water, homeowners are sure to notice a decrease in their energy and water bills. Traditional showerheads use an average of 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while water-efficient showerheads use just 1.5 (or less) gallons of water per minute. Similarly, replacing your old toilet with a low flow toilet can help the environment and your bank account. Depending on the fixtures or appliances you replace with water-efficient alternatives, you'll notice a decrease of 10-50% on your monthly water and energy bills. Over time, this can quickly add up to thousands saved per year.

Improves Indoor Air Quality

Before the 70s, every product seemed to be coated or made from lead – including faucets, paint, and other bathroom fixtures. If your home was built before the 60s, replacing the fixtures with eco-friendly alternatives will not only conserve water and save money, but it can improve the indoor air quality of your home. In order to truly preserve your home's air quality, switch to eco-friendly cleaners. Major cleaning brands have green cleaning products available that are affordable and easy for the public to get their hands on. Biodegradable and natural products will serve your home's cleaning needs without negatively harming the planet.

Durable & Sustainable

Eco-friendly homes require less effort to maintain since eco-friendly products tend to be more durable. Since installing green bathroom fixtures give you the unique opportunity to conserve our Earth's resources without having to change your lifestyle, you'll be actively protecting natural resources for future generations to come. With constantly dwindling natural resources, homeowners should make every effort to conserve what they can while they still have the chance. Since eco-friendly homes will only continue to grow in popularity, installing eco-friendly fixtures could even help you sell your home more quickly once you decide to put it on the market.

Bathroom Light Bulbs: An Overview

Proper lighting in the bathroom is important for a variety of reasons. Not only do we need to see ourselves clearly in the mirror, but we need to make sure the room is well-lit for safety purposes. While each type of light bulb has its own pros and cons, certain bulbs work better in different areas of the home. While high color temperature daylight bulbs are great for kitchens and bedrooms, the bathroom benefits from lower color temperatures closer to the light of incandescent light bulbs. Below is an overview of the best light bulbs for the bathroom, in addition to valuable lighting tips and tricks that will help illuminate your space.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Not only do compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs match the incandescent light we’re accustomed to in bathrooms, but they consume a quarter of the energy and last ten times as long. Unlike traditional florescent lights, CFLs are quiet, turn on instantly, and have a warmer, color-corrected tone. This warm light is perfect for bathrooms, simply because our skin appears better under it. While they’re great for bathrooms, CFLs can be used anywhere you’d use a typical incandescent bulb. Since CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, they should be handled with care. When they burn out, they should be recycled.

LED Light Bulbs

LED, which stands for “light-emitting diode”, is a long-lasting and extremely energy-efficient lighting technology. Unfortunately, these aren’t a direct substitute for other types of bulbs, as they don’t provide general light. Instead, these types of bulbs should be used for directional light – they’re a great lighting solution for under-counter task lighting or directed at an angle above a mirror. If you have a choice, it’s best to choose lower color temperature light bulbs, as these produce the best light.

Halogen Lights

If you prefer incandescent, halogen bulbs are also an option to consider. They give off the closest light to natural daylight, and colors appear sharper as halogen bulbs can be dimmed. Although they’re more expensive and burn at a higher temperature than incandescent lights, they’re more energy efficient and tend to have a longer life span. Ideal for under cabinet and recessed lighting, halogen light bulbs cast a bright light and last twice as long as standard bulbs. Just remember to avoid using your bare hands to remove halogen bulbs – in certain situations the oil of your hands can cause the bulbs to explode.

Bathroom Lighting Tips and Tricks

Having mirrors and other reflective surfaces in your bathroom can help distribute light throughout the room. While a mirror above the sink is the best placement for this type of reflective light, side mirrors elsewhere in the room can help. Although a mirror above the sink is ideal for reflective light, it’s important to avoid adding a light directly above the mirror. It’s ineffective for putting on makeup and shaving, and can visually add ten years to your face.

Like all rooms in the home, you can save money in the bathroom by installing energy-efficient bulbs. In addition to using energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures, you can save money and energy in the bathroom by placing your various light stations on different switches – that way, you’re only using the light bulbs you need while using the bathroom.

The Basics of an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

As a homeowner, you’ve probably put some thought into how your bathrooms fixtures (and your daily routine!) impact the environment. The bathroom tends to use more water, chemicals, and paper products than any other room in the house and, as a result, is often the first stop on the path towards creating an eco-friendly home. “Going green” in the bathroom is a great way to save money, conserve water, and avoid the health risks of using cleaners loaded with harmful chemicals. Whether you’re in the market for a complete bathroom overhaul or are looking for a few easy fixes, here are the basics of an eco-friendly bathroom.

Water-Efficient Toilets & Showerheads

Did you know most toilets account for approximately 30 percent of household water consumption? Although low-flow toilets often come standard in newer homes, older toilets can consume up to eight gallons of water with every flush. According to the EPA, a high-efficiency toilet can save a family of four nearly $100 a year, in addition to working wonders for the environment. If you don’t want to invest in a brand new low-flow toilet, you can retrofit your existing toilet by installing an efficient flushing handle.

Many homeowners falsely believe that by installing a high-efficiency showerhead they’ll be singlehandedly decreasing the water pressure, which is not the case. Most models won’t affect water pressure, and some even filter or eliminate traces of chlorine in the water. On average, traditional showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while water-efficient showerheads use 1.5 gallons of water per minute, or less!

Consider Ceramic Tiles

For those considering a complete remodel, ceramic tiling is the way to go. Ceramic tile isn’t easily damaged by moisture, and some can even be made in a low-impact manufacturing process. You can find environmentally friendly tile by looking for words like “post-industrial” and “post-consumer.” Tiles that fall under these categories are often manufactured from recycled bottles and car windshields. Additionally, keep an eye out for paints with a low volatile organic compound (VOC) label; these are less toxic and are verified to have no negative effects on your indoor air quality.

Switch to LEDs

If you haven’t already made the switch to LEDs, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Now, thanks to enormous strides in technology, consumer can now find “warm” LED light bulbs, which will create the same cozy color produced by old-fashioned light bulbs. Switching to LEDs is one of the easiest ways to save: not only will your energy bill be noticeably lower, but you’ll be replacing bulbs far less often. On average, LED lights consume 80 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Clean with Homemade (and Eco-Friendly) Products

Multiple studies have shown that conventional cleaning products can be detrimental to both the planet and your health. If you’re looking for ways to clean your bathroom safely and ecologically, a bit of baking soda mixed with vinegar is all you need – sprinkle baking soda on problem areas, add a little white vinegar, let it foam, and scrub the area down with a sponge or brush. Those interested in masking the vinegary scent can add lemon, their favorite essential oil, or rosemary.

From bath towels to toilet paper, chances are everything in your bathroom can be purchased more “green.” By purchasing certified organic products, you can rest assured knowing your bathroom routine will have a lower environmental footprint and the items used will be safe and healthy for your body. These products also have a larger global implication – they often use natural ingredients sourced from fair-trade organizations; so you’ll be supporting ethical business practices as well.

Execute Water Saving Practices

Saving water and helping the environment doesn’t have to be as complicated as replacing toilets or installing ceramic tile – it can be as simple as limiting showers and monitoring water usage. By taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving, employing the “yellow-mellow-brown-down” toilet flushing method, or saving water in buckets while waiting for it to heat up, becoming eco-friendly can start with mending the habits and daily routines of you and your family.


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