Words by André Fonseca, CEO of Zypho
When you are planning to create a luxurious bathroom in today’s world you also want to make it as environmentally friendly as you possibly can.
Looking after the environment is now a top concern for people everywhere and we can see this reflected in the choices that are being made when purchasing decisions are taken.
According to a recent survey from Accenture, over 80% of people felt it was “important or extremely important” for companies to design environmentally conscious products.
Additionally, 72% of people reported actively buying more environmentally-friendly products than they did five years ago, while 81% said they expected to buy even more over the next five years.
Unfortunately, many of the systems we have in place were designed in times of plenty when environmentalism wasn’t as great a concern. As such, many household products, even high-end ones, are pretty wasteful.
Let’s look at bathroom examples. Even a top-quality single flush toilet can use up to six litres of water. Since the average person flushes five times per day, that’s around 30 litres of water going down the toilet.
And it’s not just water we waste. Showers require heat and power, bathtubs are made from non-recyclable materials, and cleaning products used tend to be much more intense. So, what can you do to make your bathroom both more eco-friendly without compromising the beautiful design and luxury you want for this important space in your home?
Install low-flow fixtures
Back in the early days of environmentalism, people became more conscious of the water they were using. Supplies of freshwater that have not been polluted are drying up, so it’s a resource we need to protect. As such, people started turning off their taps when brushing their teeth and installing more water-efficient toilet flushes.
However, it’s now possible to take water-saving even further with low-flow fixtures in your bathroom. You can now find stylish highly-efficient showerheads, toilets and faucets all drastically reduce the amount of water being used without really affecting the quality of the shower/flush/flow.
One example you may be familiar with is the dual-flush toilet which help to reduce the average water consumption per flush to four litres or less.
There are also many new luxury bathroom equipment. For example, the Nebia Spa Shower, which uses 10 precision nozzles to atomise the water. This not only gives you the luxurious clean feel you want, you’ll also know you are helping the planet by saving up to 65% of the water!
Recapture your heat energy
A high-end power shower is a great addition to any beautiful bathroom. However, if you have a smart meter installed, you’ll know how much energy power showers use ‒ they’re one of the biggest energy drains in the entire house. Not environmentally friendly!
Have you ever considered, however, that a lot of that heat energy is simply disappearing down the drain? In fact, in a power shower heated to 40 degrees Celsius, the water going down the drain is still around 38 degrees.
To help bring your bathroom up to the eco-friendly standards you want to achieve Zypho has created an innovative recovery/recapture system that can be retrofitted into existing showers to recapture that heat. All that 38-degree water is used to pre-heat the fresh mains water going up to the shower, helping to save up to 67% of the energy cost of heating a shower. It’s a very simple yet effective way to recapture energy!
Recycle your bathroom
Your bathroom contains some of the largest items in your entire house and even amongst high quality brands most are non-recyclable.
Take bathtubs, for example. Most are made of fibreglass or acrylic ‒ two materials that are difficult to recycle. A main reason for this is their durability and longevity, which is a good eco-credential to have.
However, a German company called Kaldewei has created bathtubs made from steel enamel, which are beautifully designed and will add elegance to your bathroom. Every tub comes with 30-year guarantee, giving it the same longevity as traditional bathtub materials. However, instead of ending up in a landfill at the end of their lifespan, these steel bathtubs can be completely recycled, along with all of its steel fittings.
Another material to consider is the wall covering your pick for your bathroom to give it a unique as well as a luxurious appearance. There are some spectacular new tiles for you to consider – practical, attractive and eco-friendly.
Most tiles, however, are created from virgin materials, using vast amounts of natural resources. Bedrock Industries (no connection to the Flintstones), creates bathroom tiles from recycled content. Not only does this save other materials from going to landfill but they can also be made into almost any style you can imagine. That means you can create a unique high-end look for your bathrooms.
Buy better cleaning products
The bathroom is an area of the house most people want to be exceptionally clean. And most people opt for strong, intensive cleaning products.
Ammonia or bleach-based products are a favourite. They have great antibacterial and antifungal properties, yet are particularly bad for the environment and can be toxic.
A simple alternative may be to make your own cleaners from natural products such as white vinegar and lemon. Not only does this combo cut through grease and oil very well, but it is also very gentle to the environment.
If you feel that the smell of vinegar does not quite fit the luxury style or you don’t have the time or inclination to mix cleaning products, you could opt for an environmentally-friendly cleaning brand.
Seventh Generation offers eco-friendly cleaning products for the entire house, from washing up liquid to floor cleaner to bathroom sprays. All of their products are made from natural, non-toxic ingredients with uplifting and delicate fragrances from essential oils.
ECover is of course another option. The company is B-Corp certified, demonstrating that they have a commitment to social and environmental good. Their bathroom cleaner is particularly good for those living in hard water areas – so it will help keep your bathroom looking it’s very best.
Creating truly luxurious, high-end bathrooms with genuinely eco-friendly credentials has never been easier. I hope the ideas we’ve shared will help you when you next have a new bathroom installed.
André Fonseca is the CEO of Zypho, a company developing internationally-patented shower-drain heat recovery solutions for domestic and commercial showers.