No matter what you call it – sustainable, eco-friendly, or just plain green – a modern bathroom improvement project is about much more than being friendly to Mother Nature’s environment.
It’s about being friendly to our family’s health as well.
An older bathroom is generally the smallest, dampest, most energy-intensive, water-hogging, chemical-laden, smell-trapping, light-starved, material-sensitive, under-ventilated, traffic-jammed-up, malfunction-prone room in any home.
And while we all are well aware of the virtues of modern low-flow water fixtures, low-energy light bulbs and recyclable building materials, the basic challenges a bathroom presents to human physical and mental health reach far beyond the scope and effectiveness of surface disinfectants, scrub brushes and toilet bowl cleaners.
Granted, the more bathrooms there are in a home, the more convenient it is for the home’s inhabitants. That’s a functional as well as a “mental health” bonus. But bonuses are also numerous in the sanctuary and spa characteristics – increased size, natural lighting, steam showers, heated floors, walled-off toilets, serene motifs and beautiful decorating – designed into today’s custom master bathroom improvements.
Home improvement professionals are experienced in explaining sustainability options as comfort and health considerations abound. Ventilation alleviates humidity and excess heat, thus preventing mildew and mold, while controlling various fumes and smells making for a kinder, gentler, less allergic bathroom environment. And a quiet, efficient modern vent fan on a timer minimizes energy use.
Construction materials are critical health factors. For example, fiberboards used in some cabinets emit residual formaldehyde vapors from manufacturing processes. It’s better to go with solid wood or wheatboard cabinetry, or in any case consider how potential allergens could affect your family.
Tile floors with recycled content and small grout lines are easy to clean and are resistant to mold, mildew and stains. Many caulks, adhesives, sealants and grouts contain inhibiting compounds that prevent mold and mildew, lessening usage of irritating cleaning agents. That prevents pollution and promotes human health.
Be kind to the environment, but don’t forget: we’re part of Mother Nature, too.