Build an energy efficient bathroom from the pipes up
Remodeling your bathroom provides the perfect opportunity to save energy and reduce your energy footprint. There are many benefits, including lower heating and lighting bills, reducing indoor pollution and introducing low-impact construction ideas. Are you ready to build a bathroom with an energy efficient blueprint? Here’s how.
Can you let more natural light into your new bathroom? Reduce your electricity and heating costs by installing high windows to increase natural ventilation, skylights to release hot air rising, or even a glass brick wall – if your neighbours are a little too close. Make your bathroom appear larger and feel warmer naturally, without spending a cent on electricity.
Seal in leaks
We tend to be more sensitive to the cold in the bathroom than in any other room in the house. Yet a well-sealed, insulated bathroom doesn’t need much extra heat. Consider insulating your water pipes, the walls of the shower, under the bathtub and in the cavities surrounding it – including beneath the plughole. If forgotten, these spots can be a real energy … drain. Ahem.
The way you heat your water supply has a huge impact on your energy bills, so switch to a high Energy Star-rated hot water system. Install it close to your water supply to avoid losing heat through the pipes. Consider installing solar panels on the roof. These can heat about half the water you need and lower your energy bill significantly.
Saving water is one of the biggest ways to reduce energy costs in the bathroom! Recycle your old fittings and invest in water efficiency-rated appliances: install a water-efficient showerhead to reduce water usage by up to 40% and heating costs by close to 50%; switch to low-flow, aerated taps to lower water use by almost 70%; invest in a water-efficient dual flush cistern to save close to 70% and save 50-odd litres of water – per person, per day.
A warm bathroom reduces the risk of mold and mildew because if it’s too cold, the moisture won’t evaporate and will soak into the plaster and paintwork. So remember to ventilate your bathroom for 3-4 minutes in winter. Open all the windows and turn the heating down. It’s far more efficient than leaving a window open all day, which reduces the temperature, wastes energy and increases your overall costs.
A fine finish
Bathroom finishes need to be water resistant, durable and environmentally safe. Avoid using medium density fiberboard (MDF) in cabinets and countertops. Instead, consider using solid wood, recycled timber or exterior-grade plywood. Use a low-toxic grout and sealer on your tiles and low-solvent adhesives to minimise the spread of toxins in your home.
Take the time to plan a bathroom that reflects your ideal lifestyle – a space that is energy efficient and replenishes your own energy at the end of a busy day.
Advice provided is indicative only and individual circumstances will affect results. For further information on energy saving tips, please visit the websites listed below.
18 November 2014
Category: Energy Facts