It’s interesting that such a small area of a home can be so very important, but it’s true. Designing the choicest of bathrooms is clearly an art. Part of the challenge rests in the sheer number of options available in terms of materials, colors, and accessories.
The key to bathroom design in a newly constructed home, however, is determining how to blend luxury and green components. The five points below provide a good set of guidelines.
Reducing Water Consumption Without Sacrificing Style
You don’t have to turn your back on luxury to save water. Surprisingly, 30% of household water is used for toilet flushing. The difference between aged plumbing in an existing home and the green fixtures used in new construction can represent a savings of as much as 4 gallons of water with each flush. Furthermore, shower heads have been shown to account for another 17% of household water usage, a fact which definitely places them on the list of low-consumption features to be considered.
The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a WaterSense rating system that provides more details about money-saving bathroom features. Every WaterSense approved bathroom feature indicates a reduction in water consumption of 20% or more, without impacting shower pressure. A custom home builder can easily provide more insight regarding these savings.
Recycled Tiles are Classy and Environmentally Friendly
There is certainly no shortage of materials, designs, shapes, or sizes when shopping for recycled tile. In fact, custom homeowners regularly discover that finding the right mix of recycled tile is both fun and satisfying. So, if you’re in search of a great mix of environmentally friendly and well-coordinated luxury, recycled tile should be on your list of options. Bathroom countertops can also offer virtually limitless options, including the choice of such materials as recycled glass.
Fly-Ash Concrete has Become a Style Favorite
Years ago, concrete was little more than a patio or driveway staple. Today, however, advances have brought concrete inside the home as a design favorite. Fly-ash concrete n particular has taken the lead in green design. That’s because fly-ash concrete is made from power plant waste. It also dries harder and is more durable than cement-based concrete.
If you’re worried that fly-ash concrete will bring a cement-like look into your bathroom design, don’t be. Colors, shapes, and combinations can provide the variety needed to create luxury while also helping to protect the environment. In fact, fly-ash concrete is a great option for both bathroom floors and counter-tops.
How to Bring Ventilation into the Bathroom Equation
A steamy bathroom might feel warm and cozy when stepping out of the shower, but, in truth, that trapped humidity will cause damage in the long run. Installing a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is a wise solution. In the simplest of terms, this dual-duct system exchanges fresh air for stale air. Also, because the HRV heats fresh air on its way in, there is no noticeable drop in temperature, thereby allowing for both energy savings and a morning-cozy feeling.
What HRV does for temperature consistency, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) does for the humidity within a bathroom. In hot, humid climates especially, an ERV will prevent wet, sticky air from seeping in through a ventilation system. You should be sure to discuss both options with your custom home builder. Furthermore, if you really want to step up a notch on luxury, you can add bathroom fans that do everything from sense humidity to play your favorite music via Bluetooth.
Smart Power Strips Reduce Electricity Usage
It’s often an overlooked fact that household electronic devices, such as flat-screen televisions, computers and tablets, printers, microwaves, toasters, coffee pots, and video game consoles continue to use energy even when they are not in use. This aptly-named vampire power is sucking up energy and increasing monthly electric bills by an average of 10%.
However, it is not necessary to run around the house morning and night, unplugging and plugging in power-suckers. Current-sensing smart power strips will make the “decision” to shut off one or more outlets when the appliances are turned off or go into sleep mode. These power strips will also automatically reactivate the power to these items when they are put into use. You can learn more about smart power strips at energystar.gov.
Balancing the Design of your New Bathroom
The great news, as you plan your new custom home, is that you won’t have to trade luxury for green. In fact, the opposite is true. Today’s technology has brought the best of both worlds together, making it possible to fully enjoy a luxuriously green bathroom.