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How to Design an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

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Bathrooms have the potential to be one of the most wasteful parts of a building in terms of energy, particularly on a commercial scale where they are under heavy, constant use. A poorly designed bathroom will of course waste a lot of water, but there are also other factors to consider. Power use, for example, can be a heavy source of energy usage, as can heating and fans.

Don’t take the heavy energy use of a bathroom as a negative aspect, however. Because of the potential for wastage in the bathroom, there is a lot of opportunity to design a ‘green’ bathroom. An eco-friendly bathroom doesn’t mean you need a no flush compost toilet. In fact, eco-friendly bathrooms can still be a source of luxury – which is important in commercial bathroom design – but at the same time, they can reduce draining the environment and your pocketbook.

Most importantly, it’s very simple to implement the features of a green bathroom. Here are some of Interpod Offsite’s tips on designing an eco-friendly bathroom.

Keep the water use down

Installing a low-flow showerhead can reduce water consumption by as much as 50% over a traditional showerhead. Installing a high-efficiency toilet can also save a lot on water. It may be worth considering removing the bathtub entirely, as while they’re most certainly a luxury, baths use a lot more water than showers. Over five minutes, a typical shower will use only 14% of the water used to fill a bath.

These are all fairly standard features that come by default with a lot of bathroom designs these days, particularly in Australia where water awareness is high. For that extra efficiency, install motion sensor taps. By only activating at the precise moment water is needed, motion sensor taps can go a long way in saving water.

Use low energy lighting

Using fluorescent lighting will conserve energy use, and the bulbs themselves will last longer than normal lighting. The typical fluorescent light will last 20-30 times as long as traditional bulbs.

Another eco-friendly option that’s quite fashionable at the moment is LED lighting. LED bulbs last roughly as long as fluorescent lights, but consume even less energy. An LED bulb can save as much as $160 in power bills per bulb each year when compared to incandescent lights.

Use natural ventilation

Too many bathrooms are poorly ventilated, meaning that in addition to requiring heavy use of fans to keep the air circulating, these rooms can also accrue mould far too easily. Not only does mould require the use of powerful chemicals for its removal, but it’s also a health risk. Instead of building small, barely-there windows, utilise the windows and doors in a bathroom to allow a good flow of air. It will save power and prevent the buildup and subsequent need for removal of mould.

Choose timeless tiles and designs

If you choose a design that will fade or wear too quickly, it will need replacement in the near future, and this will only add to landfill and material wastage. In commercial environments, particularly, this can become an expensive process that needs to be repeated regularly as some customers won’t tolerate a worn down bathroom.

The simple solution is to choose a design, tiles, paints, and wallpapers that will not wear down quickly or obviously. Glass, ceramic, and porcelain are good material choices for this purpose as they’re easy to maintain and offer good longevity. Additionally, when it comes to replacing these items, they are easy to recycle – adding to the eco-friendliness of your bathroom.

Use recycled toilet paper

One of the biggest things you can do for the environment is also one of the smallest. Toilet paper eats through forests worth of trees each year, and there’s no reason that it has to be made from fresh trees. Toilet paper isn’t designed for longevity, it’s used and thrown away immediately, and for this reason, recycled toilet paper works every bit as well.

When designing your commercial bathroom, consider the environmental impacts it may have over time. Implement some of the eco-friendly strategies from this article and witness the savings and subsequent satisfaction from doing something good for the Earth.

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