Here at Keith Green Construction, we live up to our name in more ways than one. We care about our environment and finding eco-friendly approaches and building materials whenever possible.
There are lots of reasons why eco-friendly construction methods and materials make sense. They support local Oregon businesses and strengthen our economy, and also improve the health of the planet and that of our own families.
So in that spirit, we’d like to share some ideas on how you can make your home a little greener, starting with one of the most used rooms in the house: the bathroom.
1. Green planning from the start
Think eco-friendly right from the start, before you actually start any renovation work.
If it’s the first time you’re considering making eco-friendly renovations, read these tips and then look into the types of materials that you’d like in your bathroom. You want to aim for eco-friendly, but also functional and luxurious so you’ll love your new bathroom.
Speak to your construction contractor about greener materials, like non-toxic paints, recycled or sustainable flooring and countertops options, and ways to reduce energy and water consumption.
2. Reduce your water consumption
Water overconsumption is widespread but there are plenty of ways to go more eco-friendly in the bathroom.
- Toilets tend to use more water than washing machines or dishwashers! Replace them with a low-flow model with a dual-flusher, which uses just the right amount of water to flush.
- Adding a motion-sensor faucet to your sink will also help save water: many people use more than they want or need to when brushing their teeth or washing their faces and hands.
- Install a low-flow showerhead that uses less water with the same water pressure (Portland’s water isn’t hard, so simple low-flow showerheads will do: you don’t need a hard-water softener.)
- Look for the WaterSense label for your showerheads, sinks, and faucets, and check for rebates for WaterSense labeled products in your area.
- You can also install a grey-water system, which collects water from the shower drains, sinks, and washing machines and redirects it to the garden, for example.
3. Save energy
Reduce your energy consumption and save money on your energy bill with small and significant changes:
- If you have windows, consider repairs and upgrades to keep the seal airtight. If you have a fan instead, upgrade it with an Energy-Star fan, which will give you lots of energy savings compared to old models.
- When you’re ready with light fixtures, switch to LEDs, which now come with the warm colors that give that cozy glow we were used to with incandescent bulbs. LEDs not only consume less energy and function at a lower wattage, but they also last nearly 25 times longer.
4. Use renewable and natural materials
Using recycled and sustainable materials is a great eco-friendly option for your bathroom.
- Buy pre-loved cabinets and fixtures, or shop around for some made out of reclaimed or recycled wood.
- Wood from sustainably grown trees is renewable and recyclable, and we’re lucky in Oregon to be a national leader in wood production, so you can shop green AND local. Thanks to the Oregon Forest Practices Act, sustainable forest management practices are enshrined in law in Oregon.When looking for sustainable wood materials, ask about FSC, American Tree Farm System, or Sustainable Forestry Initiatives certification. You should also know that thanks to strong state laws and practices, Oregon wood meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria for green building projects.
- Quick-growing bamboo, is very strong and perfect for walls or flooring. Hardwood is also a good green choice, as it’s durable and sustainable.
- Ask your contractor about using recycled steel, which is gaining in popularity as a green building material for structural use, and recycled concrete.
- When it’s time, replace your hot water heater with a more efficient one, which can save you a lot of money off your energy bills.
5. Green your products
One of the easiest ways to “greenovate” your bathroom is to go more natural with your bathroom and cleaning products.
- Replace your PVC shower curtain liner with a glass shower door.
- When it’s time to replace your towels, choose comfy, organic towels: conventional cotton production uses enormous water resources and is very polluting.
- Ditch the anti-bacterial soaps and conventional shampoos and shower gels. Replace them instead with natural, organic ones, free from parabens, toxic preservatives, and other harmful chemicals. Swap biocides and harmful cleaning products for natural ones with baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.
- Chemical-saturated products aren’t good for the planet, and they’re not good for you, either. By buying natural, organic products, you support organic farmers, fair-trade organizations, and companies that place value on sound environmental practices.
Building green is really about reducing our impact on the world around us. For some, it means reducing energy consumption by upgrading your roofing and house insulation; for others, it means using non-toxic or sustainable materials.
However you see it, if you’re ready to transform your bathroom into a greener version of itself, call us at Keith Green Construction. Together, we can find ways to make your home more environmentally friendly in a way that suits you.