It’s easy to go low-flow when the federal government makes you. Most of us want to go green when we remodel our bathrooms, both from a sense of environmental consciousness as well as the relief a lower utility bill brings. But green bathroom remodeling is also insisted upon by our federal government.
It’s a good thing. The conservation of water is earth-friendly and it will save money while paying the bills, too. If Uncle Sam can shower with a low-flow shower head, then so can we. The maximum output of water federally allowed in a new low-flow shower head is 2.5 gallons per minute. That’s still a lot of water. Shower heads come in several varieties. One is the one most of us are used to, called “laminar flow.” Laminar flow shower heads mean individual streams of water.
There are also aerating shower heads, which mix air with the water and form a very humid spray. Depending on the climate where you live, your hair, and your preferences, either one can be right for you. If it’s considered a low-flow shower head, you’ll still save money when you invest in a low-flow shower head during a green bathroom remodeling project. You’ll save more if you stay beneath the 2.5 gallons per minute mandate.
Aerators can screw onto the end of sink faucets, too. They restrict the water flow to as little as 0.5 gallons per minute. The tiny gadgets are inexpensive, and thus extremely cost effective measures to conserve water and cut your bill. Toilets can be low-flow, too. In 1992, the low-flow toilet became standard when George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act, bring the gallons-per-flush from 3.5 gallons to 1.6 gallons. Also called the “low flush” toilet, the low-flow toilet has improved since the 1990s, and now one flush will do the trick when routinely, two flushes were needed when the low-flow models were first introduced, thus defeating the purpose. Technology has continued to find ways to make green bathroom remodeling worthwhile and not counterproductive, especially with the advent of the dual-flush toilet.
The dual-flush toilet saves the most water of all, cutting back up to 67% of water usage. Very little water is used when flushing liquids, usually less than a gallon. The 1.6 gallon flush is reserved for flushing solids, and it is usually employed significantly less often. Saving water during a green bathroom remodeling project has never been easier – or more legal.
How else can we be environmentally friendly in a green bathroom remodeling project? In addition to cutting back on water, consider ways to cut back on the electricity used to heat the water. Investing in solar hot water heaters which use solar panels on the roof and collection tanks for water can save a bundle of money on the utility bills. If the prior legislation continues, our government will probably soon have a say in how we can legally heat our bathroom water, so get a jump on the earth-conscious movement and think about solar power now.
Consider also sustainable materials when designing your vanity tops and cabinetry in your green bathroom remodeling project. Be aware of which types of materials are toxic (formaldehyde-based adhesives) when assembling your space, and which kinds of woods are sustainable (bamboo) versus which should be avoided (tropical hardwoods). Counter tops and tiles made from recycled glass, stone, and even newspaper are a great green way to reuse materials and still have a look that sparkles like granite.