|Written by Lucy Burningham|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 00:00|
The easiest way to save energy in the bathroom is by installing fluorescent and LED lighting. But try thinking on a grander scale, says Stern. He suggests adding skylights when possible, which can reduce energy consumption and create a sense of spaciousness in small rooms.
To help increase natural light, minimize window treatments, opting for privacy glass if needed. And replace shower curtains with glass shower doors to create a sense of spaciousness while allowing more light to bounce around the room.
To save even more energy, Stern says homeowners should consider installing an energy- recovery ventilator that brings fresh air in from outdoors, pushes out stale air and recovers moisture and heat. Look for Energy Star ratings on these ventilators and more basic fans.
The right stuff
Instead of buying all-new materials for your bathroom remodel, consider salvaging wood, plastics, mirrors and more from your own home when possible. Also, closely examine any cabinets you plan to replace. Could you get away with replacing just the doors instead of the entire cabinet? Avoid waste.
If you do opt for new materials, how (and where) they were made is just as important as the materials that went into making them. Rush recommends Marmoleum flooring, which is made from biodegradable products that won’t off-gas after installation. To avoid other types of off-gassing, use zero-VOC paints. You can’t go wrong with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, which comes from sustainable sources. FSC-certified cork works well for bathroom flooring; it has antibacterial properties.
Because you don’t want to replace any of these materials in the near future, let durability drive your choices. Porcelain tile is highly durable, as are some recycled-glass tiles. And both can be found used at salvage yards or factories.