Posted 27th April

Back to basics: the eco-friendly bathroom

27th April 2019 - 11:00am

Featured on; 9th April 2019
Words Amanda Peters

While renovations are daunting enough for homeowners, trying to make a space in their home totally eco-friendly can seem next to impossible to the average consumer. However, as society becomes increasingly mindful of the impact our daily lives can have on the environment, it’s a task many are still willing to undertake.

A key space for homeowners to start the switch to sustainable living is the bathroom and water-using products such as showers, baths and toilets. But there’s so much more to consider than just these: flooring, lighting, fixtures and surfaces can all contribute to eco-friendly living.

Ahead of Waterwise’s annual Water Saving Week – taking place from the 29th April to the 3rd May 2019 – we’ve gone back to basics to give a refresher course in water usage in the bathroom and how to incorporate eco-friendly products into designs.

April showers
Less on the style and more on the sustainable front, water conservation is a key factor in the bathroom. According to Energy Saving Trust’s Water Energy Calculator, the average home consumes 349 litres of water each day and individuals use an average of 142 litres a day.

The report also concludes that showers are the biggest water user in the house (25%), followed by toilets (22%), making the shower a good place to start with the switch to eco-friendly design. On average, each individual takes 4.4 showers and 1.3 baths each week, spending seven-and-a-half minutes in the shower. Consumers can opt for an electric shower, which is easy to install and only rapidly heats the water directed towards the shower head.

The easiest way to conserve water is the use of eco-friendly fixtures for showers and taps to control the flow and spray pattern without compromising on pressure. When designing a bathroom or recommending products to a customer, be sure to highlight aerated shower heads that reduce the flow but maintain the pressure by mixing in air with water to produce a steady, even spray, as well as low-flow fixtures that reduce the amount of water used, while still giving a ‘normal’ feel. An added incentive: an efficient shower head could reduce household bills by up to £120 per year, according to Waterwise.

For toilets, traditional designs can use a whopping 13 litres per flush, whereas newer dual-flush models use anywhere between four to six litres. For customers with a bigger budget, shower toilets are the way to go: eco-efficient and providing homeowners with the ability to do away with toilet paper, making for a far more sustainable bathroom.

Let nature in
The most effective way to go green with the lighting for a bathroom design is to maximise the natural light coming into the room. However, this isn’t always possible. When it comes to artificial lighting, eco-friendly options are LEDs, halogens or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs typically use 60% to 80% less energy than an incandescent, while LEDs use an astonishing 90% less and halogens use 20% to 30% less.

To further cater to the green living trend, suggest the use of plants to improve the air quality of the room. NASA states that in a 24-hour period, certain house plants – such as Aloe Vera and English Ivy – can remove up to 87% of air toxins.

Don’t forget to highlight the importance of proper ventilation in a bathroom. As the most humid room in the house, a build-up of moisture without proper ventilation can cause mould and mildew to grow. This can bring on a whole lot of health issues, not to mention create havoc on paint and tile grout. Proper ventilation also minimises the need to use harsh cleaning products.

Spring in your step
Bathroom flooring has to be easy to clean, stain resistant and hardworking to endure wet feet, water and other spillages such as make-up. Terrazzo – which has a high sustainable quotient as it uses scraps of other tile materials like marble, glass, granite and quartz to create a luxurious flooring look – is hardwearing and has become a popular green option as it doesn’t release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere.

Unlike plastic, glass tile is one of the greenest materials as it disintegrates in a more natural way. Its organic properties make it easy to clean and is mould-, mildew- and stain-resistant.

Often confused with vinyl flooring, linoleum is another great option. One reason is that it is made from solidified linseed oil and other natural products like ground cork, limestone and jute. This makes it biodegradable, without emitting any harmful chemicals. It is also easy to clean and water resistant.

For Water Saving Week this year, Waterwise is implementing a theme for each day of the week including Toilet Tuesday, sponsored by the Consumer Council for Water; Wash Wednesday, sponsored by Methven; and Tap Thursday, sponsored by WaterSafe. To take part, head to, follow the #watersavingweek hashtag on social media or contact to find out how your organisation can participate.

Images courtesy of
Pictured top to bottom: Geberit; Paul Craig; and Roper Rhodes

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