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Eco-friendly Bathroom Luxury. It Is Possible

Bathrooms are generally the smallest room in any home, but they can make a huge impact on the environment.  Choosing the right appliances and accessories can make a significant difference to your environmental footprint - and the level of luxury in your bathroom.  Whether you’re making a small change like updating your faucet(s) or a more significant change, like switching out your bath for a shower cabin, you’ll discover that it is possible to have an eco-friendly luxury bathroom and here are some tips.

NB: All water-usage statistics quotes are from the USGS.

Start with the toilet

First of all, only use your toilet for human waste and toilet paper.  Dispose of other materials in appropriate ways.  If that means landfill so be it.  This not only reduces the number of times you flush but also ensures that you’re not overloading your local sewage system by forcing it to deal with products sewage works are not intended to process.

Toilets can use anything between 1.6 gallons of water and 4 gallons of water per flush.  If you have an older toilet, you could consider putting something in the tank to take up space so that the cistern can hold less water.  Of course, this does mean you may have to remove the object from the cistern if you ever do need a full flush, so this approach arguably works best as a stop-gap while you save up for a modern, water-efficient toilet.  You may want to look and see if you could get any sort of (local) government assistance to buy these as many places are now actively encouraging people to conserve water and hence may be prepared to subsidize the purchase of eco-friendly appliances.  For a touch of luxury, upgrade your toilet seat.

Move on to your sink

Possibly the most affordable way to make your bathroom both more eco-friendly and more luxurious is to upgrade your faucet(s).  By this point in time, we guess that everyone knows that they should turn off the faucet when they are not actually using the running water, for example, once you have wetted your brush and are in the actual process of cleaning your teeth.  In the real world, however, the golden rule of both sales and parenting is - make it easy for people to do what you want them to do.  If we’re really honest, people, here, includes you.  If you have a tap which requires effort to turn on and off then there’s a very good chance that people, including you, will be tempted just to leave it running, even when they know they shouldn’t, because it’s easier than turning it off and on again.  If this sounds like you then you basically have two options.  Option one is to have continual arguments with your nearest and dearest (and your own conscience) and option two is to upgrade your faucet(s) to make them easier to turn on and off.

If you’re a bit of a gadget-lover at heart then you can indulge yourself in good conscience by investing in movement-activated taps (like the ones you see in some public bathrooms and on medical dramas).  If, however, you’d prefer something a bit more low-tech/traditional, then just switching out faucets with a handle you need to turn for ones with a lever, can be enough to get people (including you) to make a habit of turning taps off between uses.

Say goodbye to your standard bath

If you’re still using a standard, lie-in bath, then you need about 36 gallons of water to fill it to begin with, plus the water you’ll use to top up the heat as the original bath water chills.  By contrast a shower will use anything between 2 and 5 gallons of water per minute, so even with an old-school shower, you can shower for at least 7 minutes for the same amount of water it takes to fill one bath.  If, however, you use a modern, water-efficient shower, such as the ones in high-quality shower cabins, it will take you a whole 18 minutes to use the same amount of water as it takes to fill a standard bath.  From an environmental perspective, this is basically a no-brainer.

Switching out a standard bath for a modern shower is not only a clear win in terms of minimizing water consumption but also for maximizing space in your bathroom.  Opting for a shower cabin instead of a wall-mounted shower helps to make for an easier installation as it means you are spared installing and maintaining tiles.  You also get the benefit of added functionality which can range from in-built radios (at the budget end) to hydrotherapy jets, steam generators and aromatherapy modules (at the premium end).  If you really don’t want to give up on a bath completely, some shower cabins actually include baths, both standard and corner, so you can have the best of both worlds, both in terms of the environment and in terms of enjoying your bathroom.


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