If yours is like most households, your bathroom is one of the most frequented rooms in the house. Next to the kitchen, it’s also the room where you actively consume the most energy and expel the most waste. From your modern plumbing, to the ventilation, to the hair dryer and electric razor, to your hot shower – while we don’t think of it day to day, there’s an ecological price to pay for all of this convenience.
But do we have to sacrifice our modern comforts in order to be more eco-conscious? With advances in modern technology, the answer is no, not necessarily. Bathrooms have not changed much since the days we introduced indoor plumbing and hot showers, but the next wave of change will be fueled by a push towards both convenient as well as eco-conscious designs. If you want to be at the front of this wave, read on to see what you can implement in your own bathroom.
Paper-less Automatic Toilet
The Toto toilet from Japan is a true marvel and it promises to not only make bathroom experiences more pleasant, but more eco-friendly as well. The dual flush system is a marvel of efficiency compared to the standard flushing toilet, but that’s only the start. The Toto toilet’s biggest contribution is in eliminating the need for toilet paper.
Although you’ve probably never given it more than a passing thought, toilet paper is one of your biggest waste products. Every time you go to the bathroom, you’re using and disposing of a product created from trees. To make matters worse, the demand for a soft, gentle wipe means that the average consumer almost never buys toilet paper made from recycled paper. Instead, 98% of all toilet paper sold in the United States is harvested from untouched forests.
Instead of using toilet paper, the Toto toilet uses a small wand to expel gentle, tiny water bubbles to clean your bottom after you’re done, while a click of a button calls into play a quick acting dryer to finish the job. You’ll feel fresher and cleaner, plus you can continue to browse your smart phone or read your magazine as your bottom cleans itself. And to top it off, you can maybe save a virgin rainforest in the process. What’s not to like?
Solar Water Heating
The bathroom is where we use the majority of our hot water. By switching to a solar powered hot water system, you can drastically cut back your gas/electricity usage. Make sure you have the system installed as near as possible to your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry for maximum efficiency.
Of course as any plumber can attest – not every part of the world is suitable for solar heating. If a solar hot water system just isn’t that effective in your part of the globe, you can also switch your traditional hot water tank into a tankless water heater. This will not only ensure that you never run out of hot water again – no matter how long your teenage kids spend in the morning shower – it also uses a fraction of the energy of a traditional hot water tank, which must continually heat hot water even when it’s not in use.
Low Flow Shower Heads & Taps
Almost everyone is familiar with the famous Seinfeld episode where the mandatory installation of low-flow shower heads become a source of great consternation. But the technology behind low flow shower heads has made great strides since the days of Seinfeld, and the water savings are significant. While the average shower head will use up to 20 liters every minute, a AAA+ rated low flow showerhead can reduce the water expenditure down to just 9 liters per minute – without the drastic and disconcerting drop in water pressure experienced by Jerry, Kramer and the gang.
We see these in public bathrooms all the time, but these can help save water in your home as well. In theory you could turn off the tap between brushing and washing your face, but the reality is that many of us don’t. An automatic faucet can force everyone in your household to be more eco-friendly.
As you can see, the beauty of modern technological advances is that the convenience and comfort we enjoy in the modern bathroom doesn’t have to play second fiddle to environmental concerns. By adopting some (or all) of these technologies in your bathroom, you can improve your lifestyle while also reducing your impact on the environment.