Kermit the frog said, “it’s not easy being green”. Well, that was then.
Now, it’s easier and more relevant than ever to make eco-friendly home improvements and enjoy being a little bit more green.
How? We’re glad you asked…
These eco-friendly options for your bathroom will help you protect the environment, and also save money. They might even make Kermit change his tune.
- Water-efficient bathroom products
- Energy-efficient water heating
- Quality and style that stands the test of time
- Natural and efficient lighting
- Eco-friendly décor and products
Water-efficient bathroom products
Aside from your washing machine (and your teenagers), the biggest culprits for high water use in the home are in the bathroom: showers, taps and toilets.
So, sustainable water use is a big way for your bathroom to be more eco-friendly.
Understanding the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme
In Australia, certain plumbing fixtures and water-using white goods are regulated under the WELS scheme. The products must meet water efficiency requirements and be sold with labels to help you make informed decisions. The label displays a star rating out of 6 and details the amount of water used. You can find out more at www.waterrating.gov.au
When upgrading to more eco-friendly showers, taps and toilets, compare products to see which has the highest WELS star rating and the lowest water use.
Water efficiency for showers is rated by litres per minute (L/min). A 3-star shower will use about 9L/min. A 5-star shower slashes that to about 6L/min.
Not only do water-efficient showers save water use and therefore water bills, they also save energy and energy costs by having less water to heat. Win, win, win, win.
And don’t be too worried about water pressure - energy-efficient shower heads must pass tests for spray force and coverage.
At Tradelink, we love the Caroma 5-star Luna Multifunction Hand Shower , which also comes in a rail option, and is available in chrome, black, brushed nickel and brushed brass. For 4 stars, you can upgrade it to the dual version with overhead and still know you have made an eco-friendly choice.
If you love the look of the Luna showers, then you’re in an eco-wonderland of luck. The matching Luna Basin Mixer comes with an impressive 6-star WELS rating.
For taps, water usage can plummet from 15-18L/min to as little as 2L/min when you switch to the water-efficient option. This is thanks to low-flow technology where air is mixed into the lower water volume to give the impression of a fuller flow.
Fortunately, 5 and 6-star ratings for bathroom tapware are easy to come by, so you’re sure to find an eco-friendly look you really love.
Pretty much all toilets in Australia are dual flush. This is a water-saving feature that was designed in 1980 and took hold quickly in the 1990s. The ‘half-flush’ is for liquid waste and the ‘full-flush’ is for everything else. On average, an old single-flush toilet would use about 12L per flush, whereas the dual flush toilet uses about 3L for half-flush and 4.5L for full.
In most of Australia, dual-flush toilets are mandatory for new builds. At times, state governments have even offered rebates to people who buy a dual flush toilet with a WELS star rating of 4 or above.
To be honest, 6-star toilets are rare, but not impossible to buy.
However, there are some 5-star options available, including this Caroma toilet with an integrated handbasin.
But most toilets, including almost all the Tradelink range, are 4-star, which is the 3/4.5L energy efficiency benchmark. The Raymor Edge II Back-to-Wall Rimless toilets are amongst the best sellers. The rimless technology provides a more efficient flush and requires easier and even less frequent cleaning, which is another win for sustainability. If you want to know more about rimless toilets, see our bathroom buying guide on toilets.
Energy efficient water heating
Household water heating is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to more energy efficient heating is a very practical eco-option for your bathroom.
Heat pump water heaters are considered to have the highest energy efficiency. They heat water by extracting heat from the air and use only about a third of the energy that conventional electric heaters use. While they’re not cheap, they will save on your energy bills. However, they’re not suitable for cold climates.
Quality and style that stands the test of time
If you’re creating an eco-friendly bathroom, the last thing you want to do is rip it out in five years because it’s damaged or gone out of style. Make sustainable choices of long-lasting products and stick to a timeless style. You might find some inspiration here: Play up a classic white bathroom.
Good quality doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive. A Tradelink showroom consultant will be able to guide you through the most durable finishes for things like basins and baths.
If you’re particularly creative, you can even look for ways to upcycle old furniture for a truly unique and eco-friendly vanity and basin.
Natural and efficient lighting
If you have space in your reno budget, look for ways to increase natural lighting in your bathroom to save on energy use. You may be able to increase the size of your windows or add a skylight.
Obviously you’ll still need lighting in your bathroom. For that, LED lights are the most energy efficient option.
Eco-friendly décor and products
The market for eco-friendly personal care products is certainly growing, which is great news. Once your eco-friendly bathroom is ready, you can supply it with organic and chemical-free products from brands that prioritise sustainability.
It’s also wise to buy large volumes so you have less packaging to waste – even if it is recyclable. Tradelink has a growing catalogue of bathroom homewares, including soap dispensers, to make it easier to switch to refills.
For the finishing touch, introduce the art of nature by using plants as décor - even upcycling old furniture to make a plant stand.
Navigating all the specifics of durable materials, energy ratings, water ratings and flow regulators can get complicated. Speak to a Tradelink showroom consultant about your eco-friendly goals and they’ll guide you to the best choices to suit your style and budget.