Sea Glass

Sea Glass

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's Go to the Bathroom!

We all want our homes to be attractive, function well and create a feeling of comfort and refuge. Often times knowing that our spaces are well designed and energy efficient can add to our enjoyment of our homes. Let’s start with the bathroom!

There are a number of design features and fittings that can improve bathroom energy efficiency and reduce energy bills and our “carbon footprint”. Whether designing a new bathroom or remodeling an existing one, there are simple ways to save you money and energy. 1. Energy Efficient Hot Water System Select an energy efficient hot water system and place it as close to the bathroom and laundry as possible to reduce pipe length and reduce heat loss. 2. Install Energy Star rated Ventilation Fans: Bathroom moisture is often controlled by the use of an exhaust fan. The fan sucks out the moisture-laden air, which is then replaced by drier air. Fans help move out moisture, which can increase the level of humidity in your home. High humidity can damage building materials. Worse, high humidness can cause mold growth and mold may affect your family's health. 3. Install Compact Fluorescent or LED lighting: Another easy way to increase your bathroom’s energy efficiency is to install light fixtures that use compact fluorescent or LEDE lighting. These products are increasingly more affordable, have a much greater lifespan add value to your home as well as reducing home energy bills. 4. Insulate Walls and Ceilings: The walls behind tubs or showers often have many floor, wall and ceiling penetrations. These can be sealed and insulated to prevent air and moisture intrusions. 5. Energy Efficient Windows and Doors If you are replacing or installing new windows, doors, and skylights, consider those with Energy Star certification. 6. Energy Efficient Fixtures: The shower can be the largest user of a family’s hot water. Install a solar thermal water heater. These are generally easy to install and function well. There are also federal tax credits as well as many state rebate programs available. These products can pay for themselves in a very short period of time.
7. Water Pipes and Water Saving Devices Also, there are many water saving fixtures available such as dual flush toilets, flow restricting shower heads, etc., that are not expensive. Check with your plumber or contact us at Benchmark to see what is available.
Lastly, pay attention to your design. Are you using too much space, do you have too many fixtures? It’s often harder to design a small well functioning bathroom that is smart and efficient than a large opulent bathroom. While large and opulent may look good in the magazines, it can be inefficient to live in and maintain.

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