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Being Green in your Bathroom
Last updated 2:46 am, Tuesday 16th February 2010
Being green in your bathroom need not be a problematic and difficult thing to achieve, rather with some application and planning you can do a lot to make your bathroom a greener place and save yourself some money as well.

1. Put in a more efficient shower heads

The old wide big shower heads are a thing of the past; they are horribly inefficient in their usage of water. Todays Eco Shower heads are more water wise and stylish to boot!

Every major manufacturer is now producing shower heads with high efficiency ratings, so choice is not a problem in itself. You should find that around $100 a year is saved if you are using electric water heating (not to mention also the cost of the water itself if you are metered).

Of course if your hot water is heated by solar and your water comes from rainwater, then this saving in itself will only result in your rainwater going further. so only really doing this if:
  • you are on mains waters, or
  • your water is electrically or gas heated, or
  • you want to save limited water supplies.

2. a power efficient bathroom

it pays (lierally) to think about how you use power in your bathroom. A lot of people want features like spas, underfloor heating and heated towel rails - to name a few. Having these in themselves is not a 'Green Crime' - rather like all things we need to look at how they are used to determine the degree of 'crime'.

Spas in your bathroom

Now running a spa has two main cost elements: the cost to heat the water and the cost to run the pumps. Now if you are thinking green, the water heating should be from solar heating. So what about the running costs of the pumps? The maximum power usage per hour is roughly 2kw - which is about 30 cents an hour...  Now given you only run this when you are actually using it and that you would probably only use it for an hour or so; the actual long term average impact of having such a spa, in electrical costs, is not that significant.

So the actual environmental costs of running a spa can be reduced by using Solar water heating and then green sourced power (again either alternative or Green Power from a major distributor). Although its highly likely you will only be able to run this off grid based power, as an alternative system would probably not have the 'grunt' to run this unless you have a major installation.

Underfloor heating in your bathroom

As with a spa it is not that underfloor heating in itself is bad, rather it is how it used..  Now if you have your underfloor heating running with the thermometer set in the twenties and no timing ranges set based on when you will probably use the bathroom - thats very bad as underfloor heating is rather like an electric bar heater spread out under your floor; the rating of these systems in measured in Kw/h for a good reason - they use a lot of power to heat! Also the fact you are heating the floor results in you heating the coldest air in the room, so you will be setting up a convection that sucks the floor heat into the room...

So what can we do to improve the situation?  Well, you could do away with underfloor heating and instead put down rugs, wears slippers, wear a warm robe and use the ceiling based radiant heaters to give the bathroom a punch of heat when you needed.

But if you really want underfloor heating what can you do to reduce the environmental impact? Well, first make sure that the heat stays where you put in - namely make sure you close the bathroom door plus make sure the windows are shut. Also if it is a new build, make sure insulation is provided to the ceiling and walls. Also if you can, make sure the floor underneath is isolated as well.  Also you do not need to run the underfloor heating as a high temperature, around 18 degrees is sufficient to take the chill off.

3. Green Cleaning in your bathroom

To keep your bathroom clean you do not need to been using 'commercial' products, rather make your own, this not only saves you money you also know exactly what is in it. For instance you can make glass cleaner with just 3 teaspoons of ammonia, 1 teaspoon of vinegar put in a spray bottle and filled up with ordinary tap water! Just search for 'homemade household cleaners'.

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Related Tags: bathroom, home, green

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