You spend time growing your own vegetables, you have a compost heap to be proud of, and you take great pains to use only the most energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. While all of those things help you with your goals to live greener, there is another room in which you can make changes that will up your home’s green factor considerably – the bathroom. The bathroom sees a lot of use every day, and a few changes can greatly reduce the impact that you and your family have on the environment.
The number one area in which you can make your bathroom greener is the amount of water that is used each day. If your home has an older toilet, it likely uses around 3.6 gallons each time it’s flushed. That means that a family of four uses around 26,000 gallons of water each year just in toilet flushes. Swapping your old toilet for an ultra-low-flow design will lessen that amount to around 11,000 gallons each year. You can also take it a step further and install a newer HET (High Efficiency Toilet), which will drop the amount of water used for flushing to around 9,000 gallons for a family of four.
The second major area of water usage in the bathroom is the showerhead. Standard showerheads use around 2.5 gallons of water each minute. For the average family, that means you could be using as much as 14,600 gallons of water or more each year in the shower. There are a number of showerheads available today that can cut usage by half each minute, without sacrificing pressure. In addition, while the decrease in water usage is a bonus on its own, you’ll also notice a decrease in your energy bills, as your water heater won’t have to run as long to replenish the hot water once you’ve finished with your shower.
Don’t Forget the Faucets
You can also control the amount of water you use at the sink by switching to high efficiency faucets. You can also switch out the aerators for high efficiency options, which means you can spend significantly less and still see plenty of return for your efforts. You should also take the time to make sure there are no drips or leaks around the faucet or the handles, which will also make your bathroom less green. If you notice drips, take the time to fix them or replace the fixtures so you can get the most out of your efforts.
Change Your Lighting
If you are like most, you likely have a light bar or even multiple light fixtures in the bathroom. You can make the lighting greener in a couple of ways. You can simply take out a few of the bulbs so that you don’t have to use as much energy, and in most cases you’ll still have plenty of light for carrying out your normal routines. However, a better though slightly more expensive choice, is to switch to CFL bulbs or LED fixtures. If you currently use five 60-watt incandescent bulbs, switching them to the 13-watt CFL bulbs will save 47 watts per bulb of energy usage. If you don’t want to deal with the slower speed to reach full light, LEDs offer similar wattage savings. While LEDs are also more expensive initially, they also last up to 50,000 hours or longer for some models, which also helps decrease the amount you have to spend on bulbs over time.
Making these small changes will help you have a greener bathroom in a very short time. These changes are also budget friendly for the most part, which means you won’t have to spend a lot of money to lessen your family’s environmental impact.