Green Bathroom Furniture and Fixtures

More than half of your water consumption is used in the bathroom. What?! Seriously? Yes, seriously. Based on a study of Environment Canada, the bathroom represents 65% of a household’s total water usage. The large portion of the said consumption is a result of inefficient products.

To help save the environment and be a certified eco warrior it is time to change or upgrade our bathroom furniture and fixtures into eco-friendly ones. Environmentally-friendly bathroom fixtures help safeguard our planet and its resources which is a great enough reason but some can also save you money in the long term through lower water usage.

High-efficiency faucets use up to 30% less water than standard models, so you can make a significant impact on your water use by making the switch. If you’re not yet in the market for an upgrade, opt for a faucet aerator instead. Aerators are used to retrofit standard faucets and can reduce a tap’s water consumption by 23%.

Updating your showerheads is another great way to conserve water. High-efficiency showerheads use 40% less water than conventional models, with no noticeable change in performance. The technology has come a long way in recent years so you don’t have to compromise high performance and a range of features to make the eco choice. And saving water will save you money too; replacing one 2.5 gallon per minute (GPM) showerhead with a 1.5 GPM model can help to achieve an annual savings of up to $46 on your utility bill.

Watersense Label

When looking for a bathroom sink faucet accessories, showerheads, toilets and urinals always look for the “Watersense” label. Watersense is an EPA program that establishes guidelines for water consumption and seeks to protect our water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs, and practices. Although it’s an American program, WaterSense certified products are also sold in Canada and Canadian consumers can use the label to identify the most water efficient products on the market.

By purchasing a WaterSense certified faucet, aerator or showerhead, you know you’re getting a quality product that’s been backed by third party, independent testing and certification. These products perform well, help save you money, and encourage innovation in manufacturing.

Beyond saving water and money, high efficiency bathroom fixtures can save energy too. The less water you use in your sink and shower, the less water you’ll have to heat and heating water uses energy. On a larger scale, it takes a lot of energy to move and treat the water that flows into your home. Reducing residential water consumption helps decrease the energy consumed by your municipal water and wastewater facility.

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Products bearing the Watersense label:

  • Perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts.
  • Are 20 percent more water efficient than average products in that category.
  • Realize water savings on a national level.
  • Provide measurable water savings results.
  • Achieve water efficiency through several technology options.
  • Are effectively differentiated by the WaterSense label.
  • Obtain independent, third-party certification.

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Uses Sustainable Materials

Always look for bathroom furniture and fixtures that utilizes sustainable materials in their construction, from sustainably-harvested wood to recycled or re-used materials.

“FSC-Certified Wood” is wood that has been harvested from a sustainably-managed forest. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the independent 3rd party certification groups it licenses to monitor forest management policies, also ensure that FSC-certified wood has a controlled supply chain that allows tracking from the source to the final product. FSC Canada is located in the City of Toronto (Ontario).

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(Bathroom Vanity made of FSC-certified Cherry Wood)

“Caesarstone” is environmentally friendly in a whole array of ways. CaesarStone recycles and reuses the waste materials generated during manufacturing that keeps waste and pollutants to a minimum. They are certified by several independent green programs. Several of their colors utilize recycled glass. CaesarStone is the first quartz surfacing company to receive ISO 14001 certification – a global standard created specifically for environmental protection, from recycling 97% of the water used in manufacturing, to collecting dust from shipping, handling, production and processing. They are certified by the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) and “Scientific Certification Systems” (SCS) standards, and their headquarters in Israel have been utilizing sustainable solutions for the past twenty years. In addition, CaesarStone is much stronger than marble or granite, resistant to scratches, heat, stains (except the honed options), cracks, cleaning products, and mold and mildew. It is nonabsorbent and nonporous, color-consistent and comes with a lifetime warranty. Caesarstone is available as a counter top option or vanity base on a range of Modern Bathroom vanities. They have locations at Concord ON, Calgary AB, Burnaby BC, Montreal QC and Moncton NB.

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(CeasarStone Bathroom Sink)

Vetrazzo is a man-made material manufactured from recycled glass. The glass is sourced from curbside recycling programs, demolition sites, old car windshields and other glass that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The company tracks the origins of all glass used and even provide a certificate detailing where the glass in your countertop originated. Vetrazzo is certified by or a member of several “green” programs and using Vetrazzo can qualify you for LEED certification. Sadly though, Vetrazzo showrooms are located in Quebec and Montreal – maybe we can increase the demand a make sure they come to Calgary.

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(80 and 90 percent made from recycled glass, Vetrazzo is an alternative to granite and marble)

Low Lead Faucets

Lead is a naturally-occurring element that can be harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled, particularly to children under the age of six. Lead poisoning can cause a number of adverse human health effects, but is particularly detrimental to the neurological development of children. In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.

Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

Therefore, manufacturers of kitchen and bathroom faucets are in the process of phasing out their older high-lead products and replacing them with new low-lead versions.

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(Country Bath Low Lead Wall Mounted Bathroom Faucet with Metal Lever Handles)

Replacing your bathroom fixtures and fittings is a great way to make your bathroom more eco-friendly but remember one HUGE way you can help the environment is to dispose of anything you are removing in a sustainable way. Just because you don’t need it anymore does not mean no one else can use it!

Look for recycling for all the items you are removing, or places that will resell them or sell them yourself. With a little research and a bit of time you can prevent your waste from going in to landfill as some of it will never decompose.

A lot of living a sustainable life is about reducing. You also need to consider IF your bathroom needs renovating. By reducing the amount of renovation we do, we are reducing landfill and waste. You need to ask yourself why you are ripping out the old bathroom and if the pros outweigh the cons. The decision is personal, but with a little planning you can make a great green decision.

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!