Starting your greener home and bathroom projects

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Bathroom Remodel

The greenest homes are the ones that are roofed with solar panels, constructed out of entirely renewable woods, and have a large, utterly self-sustainable field of soy beans and an orchard of fruit trees.

No bathroom remodeling needs to be done – the homes are already built with low-flow shower heads, dual-flush toilets, and hot water is warmed by the sun.

In our dreams, the homes are also perched fetchingly on the side of a crystal clear stream, halfway up a mountain, with Disney birds landing on the homeowners’ shoulders and eating fresh flax seeds from their hands.

Surely such houses exist, and surely most of us could never afford such a lifestyle, even if those greenest of green homes are cheap to maintain.

The fact is, they would be terribly expensive to build.

Most of us are stuck in older homes that were built long before the green movement started. Or we’ve bought newly-built homes where developers and contractors are only thinking of how to make a quick buck, and not how to honor our earthly environment – or our wallets, once we buy.

Most of us are stuck with some kind of bathroom remodeling project, when we realize we want to save money on our water bills, save money on our hot water heating bills, and make the attempt to live more responsibly.

There are a few small changes that can be made to have a greener lifestyle in the bathroom. A green bathroom remodeling project doesn’t have to be a huge one, to start with.

Water Aerator
Photo via flickr

You can start with the simple aerator.

An aerator is an inexpensive gadget that screws onto your bathroom faucet. It can restrict water flow to as little as a half a gallon a minute. That flow is well under the new federally-mandated standards of low water flow that were signed into law in the past decade. It’s enough to brush your teeth, wash your hands and face, and fill up a Dixie cup for a quick swish-n-spit.

Aerators can also be attached to your shower head.

An aerator on your shower head mixes the water with air, forming more of a humid spray than the typical downpour of yesteryear’s shower head. Two and a half gallons per minute is the rate of flow that we must stay under, to be green and to be in compliance with the federal standard. New shower heads are now only sold in the low-flow variety since the legislation passed. If your shower head is an older one, investing in a new one will save water, which is one of the easiest bathroom remodeling projects to pull off.

Toilets have also scaled back on their gallons-per-flush by almost two gallons. Many people were frustrated with the need to flush several times, when the new low-flow toilets were introduced to the market, but happily, toilet technology has improved. A new toilet, which will only use one and a half gallons of water per flush, will save you nearly two gallons per flush compared to an older toilet.

There is even a new style of flushing called the dual-flush toilet. One of the flushes uses very minimal water for flushing liquids, saving the gallon-and-a-half flush only for flushing solids. A dual-flush toilet alone can cut down a home’s water usage by 67 percent.

These three simple changes in bathroom appliances can help you live greener, without breaking the bank to pull off full-scale green bathroom projects. Start small, see your savings accumulate, and be happy that the earth thanks you too.