Posts

8 Eco-Friendly Tips for a Sustainable Bathroom

If you’re taking steps towards an eco-friendly lifestyle, you should include a sustainable bathroom in your home improvement plans. After all, traditional bathroom setups can be surprisingly wasteful or harmful to the environment. To help you switch to a greener lifestyle more easily, here are 8 eco-friendly tips for a sustainable bathroom.

 

8 Tips for a Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Bathroom

1. Invest in a Low-Flow Toilet

Older toilets dump anywhere between 3 to 7 gallons per flush! Cut down on your water consumption by getting an eco-friendly low-flow toilet, which uses 1.6 gallons or less.

Make your bathroom even more sustainable by finding a low-flow toilet with a dual-flush feature. Push its smaller flush button to deal with liquid waste while spending just 0.8 gallons of water, or press its larger button to flush solid waste with 1.6 gallons or less.

2. Shower Smart

Traditional shower heads use up 5 to 8 gallons of water per minute. This amounts to 50 to 80 gallons for a ten-minute shower! A low-flow head will cut down this figure by half. It’ll also greatly reduce the energy you use whenever you need hot water for a warm shower.

Another tip for using less water and live a sustainable lifestyle? Shorten your showers. Five minutes may be all you really need.

3. Go Tankless

While a tanked water heater provides a constant supply of hot water, it results in standby loss, or wasted energy from always having the heater on. Switch it out with a tankless water heater, which heats only on demand.

That being said, the upfront costs of tankless water heaters may be beyond some homeowners’ budgets. An alternative tip is to fit your tanked water heater with a controller. Aside from heating water as needed, this innovative device lets you know how much hot water you have left.

4. Ditch Hot Water Circulation

A typical hot-water circulating system will pump hot water from the heater to the faucets and then back to the heater. It provides hot water almost instantly, but it also consumes much energy to heat and transport the water–not so sustainable! It’s more eco-friendly to simply wait with your shower running until hot water comes out. Place a bucket underneath to catch the initial rush of cold water, so it doesn’t go to waste.

5. Get Automatic Faucets

Ever noticed how much water you waste at your bathroom sink? Water pours out from the moment you turn the knobs. Some people may also forget to turn the faucet off while brushing their teeth, leaving the water running. An automatic faucet eliminates this wastage and only turns on when it senses your hand beneath the spout. With this sustainable option, you can also say goodbye to the gunk that often forms around faucet handles.

6. Buy a Vent with the Energy Star Label

Your bathroom needs a vent fan to dry your bathroom quickly and prevent mildew and mold from growing. Here’s a tip to remember: find a fan with an Energy Star Label, which indicates its energy efficiency. Vent fans with such labels use up to 60% less energy than their non-labelled counterparts.

7. Look for Eco-Friendly Paint

Yes, you can be eco-friendly when redecorating your bathroom, too! Purchase paint that has a low volatile organic compounds (VOC) label. While a coat of traditional paint emits dangerous chemicals, sustainable low-VOC paint contains far less of these same toxic substances.

8. Don’t Skip the Small Things

Complete your sustainable bathroom by stocking it with eco-friendly fabrics and products, such as organic cotton bath towels, all-natural hand soap, or homemade cleaning ingredients. Another tip is to switch out your old lights for compact fluorescent bulbs, LED alternatives, or a healthy dose of natural lighting.

With these 8 tips, you can soon enjoy quiet moments of pampering yourself without any guilt in your sustainable bathroom.Read more articles on sustainable living and interior design by visiting our blog.

The Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Building Materials

In the recent years, green building has risen into popularity with new homeowners looking for new ways to potentially lower energy costs and thus, limit impact on the environment. To meet this increasing demand, home builders and interior designers have found a better option in employing the use of alternative building materials in construction.

Today, the use of sustainable building materials is on the rise. Some of these are made out of natural materials while others are designed to use resources in the most efficient manner. Regardless of the objective, there are many reasons why contractors and homeowners should switch to green building.

 

Why Invest in Sustainable Building Materials?

Energy conservation has significantly become a top priority amongst the world population. In fact, a 2016 World Green Building Trends report by Dodge Data and Analytics, green building is officially a global trend – a shift that is driven by consumer demands. It is even expected to significantly increase in the coming years.

Although green building is more than the materials you use, your decision on which ones to use still matters. In this article, we list some of the green options that make a better alternative to the traditional materials.

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is a highly sustainable building material that is distinguished by its unrivalled tensile strength, durability and lightweight properties. Its aesthetic resemblance to wood makes it a cost-effective alternative to traditional hardwood and a green material for tiles, ceilings, privacy screens and more.

2. Wood

Wood retains its title as a historic and classic sustainable material that adds a timeless flair to buildings. Building with wood offers significant benefits as processing them into lumbers require less intensive methods in comparison with other industrial building products such as concrete, glass and steel.

3. Reclaimed Wood

Building with reclaimed wood is a responsible way to lower the amount of materials being dumped to landfills and prevent the need to cut down more trees in the process. But, probably what home builders and interior designers are after most is the depth and exquisite character only old wood can provide.

4. Cork

The renewability, versatility, near-impenetrability and fire resistant qualities of cork make it a suitable material for flooring, insulation, acoustic wall covering and more. Harvesting it doesn’t require cutting the tree. In fact, each cork tree can be stripped off of its bark up to 20 times in its entire life.

5. Mycelium

Mycelium is a mushroom-based material that is tested to be stronger than concrete, lighter than bricks and more insulated than fiberglass. What’s more, being made of fungi, it has the ability to self-heal meaning it can reduce the need for costly repairs. It’s also entirely organic and compostable.

Did You Know? Mycelium thrives underground and without light, meaning it doesn’t require external energy resource to grow.

6. Ferrock

Ferrock is another cement alternative that is made of recycled steel dust or ferrous rocks from the steel industry. It offers a greener alternative to the traditional cement manufacturing process as it absorbs carbon dioxide while it hardens and dries. Further, any structure made with Ferrock is proven to last longer, barely requiring repair and replacement.

7. Timbercrete®

Timbercrete® is an eco-friendly product made up of timber waste from several sources and concrete. The result is a material that is lighter than a solid concrete but with higher thermal insulating properties and unmatched strength. It is also user-friendly as it can be easily nailed, screwed or sawn like a regular timber and can be made to appear like sandstone, mud brick or cobblestone.

8. Wool Bricks

Wool brick is a zero-carbon product that is developed by researchers in Spain and Scotland who have added wool fibers and alginate (a natural polymer from seaweeds) to the clay of the brick. The result is a sustainable, non-toxic brick that is 37% stronger than a traditional brick.

9. Recycled Plastic

Instead of producing new materials, researches are creating lightweight concrete, tiles, insulation, lumber and more out of recycled plastics and trash. Building with recycled plastics helps lower the construction costs and provides a new use for plastic wastes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

10. Shipping Containers

Building houses out of shipping containers is probably the epitome of the sustainable and modern building. It makes use of the reclaimed materials that otherwise would be left to rust at the point they are retired. They can be modified into sustainable and durable houses and into endless design possibilities.

The Best Sustainable Material for You

Like anything you would decide on, you should do a careful research on which sustainable materials to use for your home. Learning more about these alternatives will lead you to the options that will be most suitable for your lifestyle and preferences as well.

Did you find this article helpful? Let us know by commenting below.

7 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Eco-friendly living will continue to be a hot trend in 2019, with more and more homeowners realizing how the details of their lifestyle can affect the environment in the long run. If you want to keep up with the times, you ought to update your home with sustainable choices, from your living room to your kitchen. To get you started, here are 7 steps you can take for an eco-friendly kitchen.

7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

1. Choose Your Appliances Wisely

Look for energy-efficient appliances. These use just enough energy to do their job and can help you save 10-50% of the normal power consumption of their regular versions. Some of them even run on renewable energy, such as solar power. One indicator of an eco-friendly appliance is the Energy Star label, which is placed on products that the Environmental Protection Agency certifies as energy-efficient.

In addition, you might want to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. Leave them plugged in and they’ll still use up power.

2. Cook Smart

If you tend to prepare meals without much thought, you’re probably using more energy in your kitchen than you actually need. This can increase your carbon footprint without you realizing it. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • Use just enough water. The more water you use, the more energy you’ll need to heat it up or get it to boiling point. Plus, excess water is wasted water.
  • Use lids when you cook. This traps heat and speeds up your cooking.
  • Try using the microwave instead of the oven when you can. This way, you can use 80% less energy to reheat the same food item.
  • Cut down on meat and dairy. It takes up a surprising amount of resources to raise a cow. Forests are sometimes even converted into pastures just to raise livestock. The more meat and dairy you consume, the bigger your carbon footprint.

3. Upgrade Cookware and Utensils

Switch out your plastic cookware for modern equivalents made of eco-friendly materials such as porcelain, glass, or wood. It’s a good thing there are several brands selling sustainable kitchen products nowadays! These include Rustic Wall Co., which produces kitchen utensils made of logging scraps, or Bambeco, which reuses its leftover materials and plants a tree for every purchase.

4. Cook With Organic Greens

Try to cook with herbs and vegetables that are fresh and free of pesticides. There are two ways to do this: buy from local green grocers or farmers’ markets, or grow your own produce.

Locally sourced greens don’t consume as much fuel just to be transported, which is a big eco-friendly plus. Be sure of whom you’re buying from, though. A large commercial farm that douses its crops with pesticides could fall under “local” if it’s just across your street. Opt for produce from small, organic farms.

You can also try your hand at growing your own herbs and vegetables. Many common vegetables are perfect for budding gardeners. These include tomatoes, cabbage, and spring onions. The additional backyard foliage will help keep the air at home fresh, too.

5. Cut Down on Food Waste

If your kitchen is truly eco-friendly, it will ideally produce minimal food waste. The following tips should keep you from throwing out too much food:

  • Shop smart. When you’re at the groceries, be realistic and buy only what you need.
  • Don’t over-serve. When scooping food onto your plate, don’t pile it up in heaps. Instead, get smaller portions and go back for seconds if needed.
  • Save your leftovers. If you’re feeling creative, you can use leftovers to whip up a fantastic meal. Just label them to keep track of how long they’ve been in your fridge.
  • Note down the food you toss out. That way you’ll know what you don’t use and take steps to avoid repeated kitchen wastage, whether that means buying smaller sizes of the same product or cutting that item out of your menu entirely.

6. Use Your Fridge Right

Your fridge uses up energy to keep food cold. If you’re aiming to have an eco-friendly kitchen, you’ll want to reduce the work your fridge has to do. Position your fridge in a cool area of your kitchen, and let food cool before putting it in the fridge.

Make sure that your fridge is still efficient, too. Defrost it regularly to keep your fridge and freezer running efficiently. Also, check if the seals around the door need to be changed. A quick test: close the door on a dollar bill. If the bill easily slides out, that means that the seals are also loose enough to let cold air seep out. Replace the seals as needed.

7. Use Green Cleaning Products

Some kitchen cleaning products have chemicals which can harm your family as well as the environment. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives with natural formulas. Homemade cleaning ingredients won’t give off strong odors, yet they can often be just as effective as store-bought cleaning products.

With these 7 steps, you’ll be on your way to an eco-friendly kitchen with a smaller carbon footprint. This sustainable lifestyle choice isn’t just a great way to welcome the new year, but it’ll help keep your home cleaner and fresher for you and your family.

For more tips on sustainable living and interior design, visit our blog regularly.

@ 2019 Lugbill Designs   Downtown 211 W Wacker Dr, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606   North Side 7005 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626-2812    (773) 572-9049