Green Remodeling Projects: Part II-The Bathroom
Last week, we took a look at how you can green up the kitchen in your house on your next remodeling project. Because going green is such a large-scale initiative and can involve so many different aspects, we’re breaking it up into a series with Part II focusing on how to remodel your bathroom so it’s more green.

Downsize the Toilet


Toilets are an unavoidable part of the bathroom when it comes to remodeling, and there’s just about no way to take it out of the equation—unless you’ve made your full-time home in the great outdoors.

What you can do, however, is minimize the impact the toilet makes on the environment and not remortgage your house doing so. A water-efficient toilet can cost you less than $100 and save thousands on your water bill, with toilets accounting for about 30 percent of your home’s water usage.

Bonus Tip: Buy a toilet with solid and liquid settings to fully maximize water conservancy. Some come with handles that move up and down, while others have a divided circle on the tank where one flushes solids and the other liquids.

Tighten up the Faucets


Next to toilets, faucets are responsible for a great deal of the water going in and out of your home (15 percent) and a leaky tap can really spike your water bill. But for a few dollars, you can lessen the amount of water used by at least 30 percent and not worry about losing power.

In fact, using an aerator on your faucet—the device that controls how much water goes out—can save 60 billion gallons each year in the country, or enough water to power Miami for almost half a year.

De-Water the Showerheads


With bathroom remodel trends heading definitely towards showers instead of bathtubs, it’s never been more important than now to make sure showerheads are as green as possible. Luckily, altering the showerhead is incredibly easy and even cheaper.

Ideally, the best way to save water during a shower is to turn the water off while you lather up, but it’s understandable that not everyone wants to do that. A low-flow showerhead is a great alternative to keeping the water going all the time, especially if you pick one that delivers 2.5 gallons per minute or less.

Create Ambient Lighting


When most people think of going green with a remodeling project, one of the first things that come to mind is lighting. And unless you plan on showering and brushing your teeth by candlenight, taking care of lighting should be a priority.

Energy-efficient lightbulbs aren’t as cheap as their energy-inefficient counterparts, but the total outlay still isn’t that much. Depending on where you shop, a good lightbulb will only set you back several dollars…and end up saving dozens that amount.

Don’t Leave a Paper Trail


Shower curtains made of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are one of the worst things you can have hanging in your bathroom, so make the switch to something healthier, like hemp, glass, plastic or fabric.

Toilet paper is another big culprit, with most homeowners using far too much of it. If your town sells it, look for recycled toilet paper for a greener alternative, or splurge for the better quality stuff that’s thicker and requires less.

Now that we’ve gotten two of the most used rooms in the house out of the way in how to go green on your next remodeling project, stay tuned to find out other important tips for the rest of your house. It’s a multi-part series that can save you a ton of money down the road, so don’t miss out!

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Amy Wright
Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.