Flush Your Way Into Green Design

Want to go green, but can’t afford a complete home renovation?

A recent article in the Journal News offered some great tips for starting small — by just making your bathroom green.

Sustainable design is all about attention to detail, and while that typically involves careful planning before construction, making the following small changes to your home bathroom — yes, really, the bathroom — can have a big effect. Some of the suggestions included:

  • Toilets: Get a new one. Federal law in 1994 limited toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush; older ones can be 3.5 to 6 gallons (per flush).
  • Cabinets: Look for wheatboard-made cabinets, made from wheat straw, which is much more green than particleboard. If you’re making your own, look for wood with the Forest Stewardship Council logo, which means the wood has been certified and has come from sustainable forests.
  • Flooring: Opt for natural products – cork, natural linoleum and bamboo. If you want tiles, try recycled glass or porcelain.
  • Bathroom accessories: Try to use products containing recycled
    materials in them, such as paper toilet rolls or glass toothbrush holders. You can also try to locate toilet brushes with
    natural coir fiber from coconut shells.
  • Cleaners: Wipe down using non-toxic or organic cleaning solutions. Look for organic certification, and check the label for natural ingredients.

Going green is a process — and while the commercial and residential construction industry is tentatively embracing sustainability, homeowners aren’t helpless. Making minor changes around the house can have a greater impact than you might imagine.